By Dan Truttschel

Sports Correspondent

Last week’s home game with Union Grove should have been a stiff test for the Wilmot girls basketball team.

But once again, the Panthers’ defense made sure that didn’t happen.

Wilmot held the Broncos to just nine second-half points, including only two in the fourth quarter, and cruised to a 58-34 Southern Lakes Conference victory.

The win improved the Panthers, ranked 11th in Division 2, to 5-1 in the SLC and 11-1 overall. Wilmot traveled to Waterford Tuesday night. Results were unavailable by press time.

Wilmot coach Keiya Square was pleased with his team’s defensive effort, especially in second half.

“I think our defensive pressure was definitely the key,” he said. “We were able to kind of wear them out and put them in situations where they hadn’t been before.

“Our girls did a good job of having good possessions and building on our lead. In the second half, they just worked hard and were able to limit them to not very many points.”

Union Grove, which entered the game at 5-1 in the SLC, hit a pair of first-half 3-pointers, including one at the end of the second quarter to cut the deficit to just two points at the intermission.

Sarah Vozel led the Panthers with 15 points, followed by Kaytlyn Eidson and Kari Clements each with 13.

That balanced scoring was another key to the win, Square said.

“It definitely helps,” he said. “Sarah had 11 in the first half, and then (Eidson) scored throughout the game. Kari scored seven of her 13 in the fourth quarter, so we kind of spread it out.”

Wilmot opened its week with a 68-49 non-conference win Jan. 23 at Big Foot. The game was the first in nearly two weeks for the Panthers, and at times, that rust seemed to show, Square said.

“Our girls were a little hyped up and ready to go,” he said. “We practiced for two weeks without a game, so it was tough, but the girls came out and battled through it offensively.”

The Panthers led 32-23 at halftime, but outscored the Chiefs 36-26 in the second half to put the game out of reach.

Vozel had 23 points and nine rebounds for Wilmot, followed by Eidson with 21.

Following the Waterford game, the Panthers traveled to Badger in what could be a game to decide this year’s SLC champions.

Badger, which defeated Wilmot in the first meeting of the year, entered play this week at 6-1 in the SLC, a half-game ahead of Wilmot.

But Square also knew that Waterford, which has a win over Badger this season, would be a game his team couldn’t look past.

“Waterford is one of those wild card teams,” he said. “They can beat anybody on any given night. We can’t even think about overlooking them going into the Badger game.

“If we don’t take care of that one, then we put ourselves in a hole. On Wednesday, we can worry about Badger, suit it up and go get that one.”

 
 

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