By Brady Ambrose
Much like the Caledonia boys, the Warrior girls basketball team has hit a bump in the road midway through the season.
After starting with 11 straight wins Caledonia has now lost four of their last six games after the Warriors lost to La Crosse Logan 75-62 Friday night at Logan and dropped a 61-58 decision at home to P-E-M Tuesday night. On Jan. 14 the Warriors beat Rushford-Peterson 66-45 on the road to finish the week 1-2 as their record now stands at 13-4, 9-4 in conference play.
In the win at R-P Taylor Winjum poured in a game-high 30 points when the Warriors opened up a 32-18 lead at the break and rolled to the easy win. Maria Fruechte and Maddy Mullins added 10 points each in the win.
The next night Caledonia hosted P-E-M and the Bulldogs got a little revenge when they edged the Warriors by three points, 61-58, the same margin of victory the Warriors had in their first meeting at P-E-M in the second game of the season Nov. 30.
“We’ve been talking about competing – our kids compete, but I feel like if you watch the last two minutes of the game, if we just play that way the whole game we’d be okay,” said coach Jimmy Westland.
In a wild offensive effort the two teams combined to take 138 shots in the game and 45 free throw attempts as well. The Bulldogs led 34-29 at the break. Maddy Mullins poured in 20 points in the first 16 minutes of the game for the Warriors. Mullins scored the first 12 points of the game for Caledonia, who led 4-0 early in the game. With the score tied at 12-12 the teams traded baskets until the Bulldogs took a 20-16 lead. Lauren Rusert hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 20-19, but the Bulldogs went on a 14-7 run and opened up a 34-26 lead before Mullins hit a three-pointer with 6.9 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to five points at the break.
The Warriors got within a basket at 34-32 to open the second half, but a trey from the Bulldogs Hayley Rau pushed the lead back to five at 37-32. The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 43-35 before Fruechte scored at the 10:38 mark, her first points of the game.
“I talked to them before the game, I said when we play a bad team we let them hang around a little in the first half and then we end up pulling away. When we play a good team we get in a hole and then we have to fight back, so I asked them what we have to do to get ready to go right away. Obviously there’s something we have to do,” Westland said. “Again, if we play the way we did in the last two minutes we’re going to go far. Our goals for the tournament are still there – somehow we have to get the last two minutes converted to the whole game.”
Karlie Gilbeck’s basket gave P-E-M a 47-39 lead and another deuce from Gilbeck extended the lead to double digits at 49-39 with 7:23 to play. Fruechte then hit a basket and a free throw to get Caledonia closer at 49-42 with 6:38 to play, but the Bulldogs pushed the lead back to 10 at 52-42 with four minutes to play.
The Warriors then mounted a furious comeback. Taylor Winjum, who was held scoreless in the first half, hit two free throws, stole the inbound pass and scored to cut the lead to 52-47. Mullins scored again to trim the lead to 54-49 with 2:36 left. Winjum was fouled and sank two more free throws to cap a 12-5 run that got the Warriors within three points at 54-51.
With 77 seconds to play Rusert scored to keep Caledonia within three points at 56-53, but freshmen Sarah Hart sank two free throws with 1:01 to play for a 58-53 Bulldog lead. Fruechte grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 49 seconds to go. Thirty seconds later the 5’10” senior repeated the process again to get Caledonia within a point at 58-57 with 19.2 seconds to play.
After a Warrior timeout Winjum fouled Hart, who made the free throw but missed the second for a 59-57 lead. With 11.2 seconds to play Fruechte was fouled by Gilbeck. Fruechte made the first free throw but missed the second, and Hart grabbed the rebound for P-E-M and was fouled. The freshman calmly sank two more free throws for the 61-58 final. Maddy Mullins led all scorers with 22 points, and Fruechte and Rusert added 10 each in the loss.
“I feel that a lot of times because we spend so much time in the weight room and other teams don’t, if we get bumped and fall down they don’t call it. The same bump that we do they go flying and they call the foul, so we sometimes don’t get calls we should.”
On Friday night the girls lost at Logan 75-62. The Rangers erased a 10-point deficit in the first half with six three-pointers and used a 17-2 run to end the half with a 42-32 lead. Taylor Winjum led all scorers with 35 points, including seven 3-pointers. Grace Onsrud led Logan with 18 points, and Adaysha Williams had 15 for the Rangers who had five different players score in double figures.
The Warriors played at Kingsland Tuesday and will be at Chatfield Thursday before hosting Waukon, Iowa In a non-conference game Saturday at 5 p.m. “We just gotta keep playing games and keep getting better,” Westland said. “I feel like we competed at the end but we just waited too long.”
CALEDONIA – DeMorett 2, Fruechte 8, Mullins 12, Rusert 3, Russert 6, Doering 5, Winjum 30.
R-P – Mcnamer 14, Crawford 9, Manfull 8, Doerr 2, Morrison 2, Brand 4, Mueller 4, Todd 2.
CAL 32 34 – 66
R-P 21 24 – 45
PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE 61, CALEDONIA 58
P-E-M 34 27 — 61
Caledonia 29 29 — 58
PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE: Cordora 7, Schad 2, Rou 13, Gilbeck 19, Gudmuneson 2, Root 3, Hart 15.
CALEDONIA: Doering 5, Fruechte 10, Mullins 22, Rusert 10, Russert 2, Winjum 9.
CALEDONIA – Fruechte 8, Mullins 14, Rusert 2, Russert 2, Frank 1, Winjum 35.
LOGAN – Rank 14, Williams 15, Hembd 11, Stika 4, Onsrud 18, Hansen 11, Modjeski 2.
Caledonia 15 17 17 13 — 62
Logan 17 25 16 17 — 75