SHULLSBURG – The inside-outside scoring of junior center Brianna Leahy and senior guard Hattie Rennert and a strong team effort on the defensive end of the floor was the perfect combination to carry #4-ranked Shullsburg over the visiting Benton Zephyrs, 60-39, in a make-up Six Rivers West girls’ basketball game at SHS on Saturday, Jan. 21.
The Lady Miners improved to 10-3 overall on the season and remained unbeaten in league play at 6-0, while the Zephyrs dropped to 8-4 overall and remain in second-place in the SRW at 5-2.
“Our kids competed and did exactly what we asked them to do. We’re sitting nice right now but nothing is guaranteed in this conference. We have a lot of good teams left on our schedule. We want to finish this deal and be peaking at the right time come tournament time,” said Shullsburg head coach Nathan Russell.
The Zephyrs led by as many as six points early in the first half until the Miners rallied thanks to a 9-2 run that pushed them into the lead for good. A 3-pointer by senior Hattie Rennert with 7:39 to play in the first half gave the hosts a 21-20 lead, and the Miners closed the half on an 11-6 run to build up a 32-26 advantage at the break.
Junior Emma Lawrence got Benton as close as 35-30 early in the second half after sinking a pair of free throws and adding a basket, but the Miners buried three straight 3-pointers– two by Rennert and one by senior McKailah Strang– to open up a 14-point cushion and the Zephyrs were never able to get back within single digits the rest of the game.
“When you have the shooters we’re blessed to have right now and they’re hitting, we’re a tough team to stop. Brianna also did a nice job finishing her shots when we got her the ball, and she was ridiculous from the foul line,” noted Russell.
Leahy dropped in a game-high 24 points, including a 12-of-13 effort from the free throw stripe, and she broke the school’s rebounding record she shared with her older sister, Maureen, after pulling down 19 boards. She also tallied three blocked shots, three assists and two steals on the night.
Rennert finished with 18 points on six 3-pointers and Strang added six points on two treys for the Miners, who hit as many 3-pointers (nine) and 2-pointers (nine) in the game. Rennert grabbed 13 rebounds to join Leahy with a double-double and she recorded three assists, two steals and two blocks. Strang added three steals and two assists, while junior Nicole Teutschmann chipped in with seven points.
With the final outcome well in Shullsburg’s hands, Lawrence netted her 1,000th career point when she hit a tough basket in the lane with 48 seconds to play while surrounded by several of her former teammates.
Lawrence, who scored 308 of her points as a member of the Benton/Shullsburg co-op her freshman season, finished with a team-high 19 points and added 12 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Senior guard Kayla Dougherty scored eight points and senior forward Lily Carver netted seven for the Zephyrs.
At Galena, on Thursday, Jan. 19, the Lady Miners’ four-game winning streak came to a halt when they suffered a 41-36 non-conference loss to the host Pirates (16-1) in a make-up game from December’s cancelled Wendy’s/American Trust Classic.
Shullsburg held a 23-22 lead at the half, but were limited to just 13 points in the second-half by the Pirates.
Hattie Rennert led the Miners with 15 points, while Brianna Leahy chipped in with 11 points.
“We started off really slow. We tried to do some things that were out of character for us and that’s on me,” said Coach Russell. “We dug ourselves an early hole, and I credit the kids for bouncing back.”
The Miners shot just 26 percent from the field in the game, including a dismal 15 percent in the second half.
Shullsburg will host Highland on Friday, Jan. 27, in a SRW contest, and River Ridge/Scales Mound in a non-conference game at Galena on Monday, Jan. 30.
Benton…………… 26 13 – 39
Shullsburg………. 32 28 – 60
Benton – Brianna Mellenberger 2, Emma Lawrence 19, Jordan Busch 3, Lily Carver 7, Kayla Dougherty 8. Totals – 15 7-15 39.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 2, McKailah Strang 6, Hattie Rennert 18, Nicole Teutschmann 7, Brianna Leahy 24, Cora Holland 3. Totals – 18 15-16 60.
3-point goals– B 2 (Busch 1, Carver 1), S 9 (Strang 2, Rennert 6, Holland 1). Total fouls– B 13, S 12. Fouled out– None.
Shullsburg………. 23 13 – 36
Galena…………… 22 19 – 41
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 2, Kindle Cook 1, McKailah Strang 4, Hattie Rennert 18, Brianna Leahy 11, Cora Holland 3. Totals – 12 6-8 36.
3-point goals– S 6 (Strang 1, Rennert 3, Leahy 1, Holland 1), G na. Total fouls– S 0, G na. Fouled out– none.