Neither the Shullsburg or Benton girls’ basketball teams had much success against River Ridge for more than a decade in the Six Rivers West.
And, in their first game against the Timberwolves as part of a co-op, not much changed as host River Ridge opened conference play by rolling over the Zephyr-Miners, 55-32, at RRHS on Thursday, Dec. 8.
Sophomore guard Meagan Herrick poured in a game-high 20 points and senior forward Traci Kirschbaum added 17 points to outscore the Zephyr-Miners all by themselves.
The T’Wolves (1-3 overall, 1-0 in SRW) did most of their damage close to the basket, converting 27 two-point field goals to bury the co-op.
Benton/Shullsburg (2-2, 0-1) held a 9-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the ‘Wolves outscored them 41-12 over the next two stanzas to put the game out of reach.
A team from Shullsburg has not beaten Caron Townsend’s Timberwolves since the 1999-2000 season (dating 25 games), and a team from Benton has not defeated River Ridge in at least that long.
Sarah Redfearn, Molly Blackbourn and Haley Morrissey each tallied six points to lead the Zephyr-Miners, while the team’s leading scorer, Blaire Lutes, was limited to just five points on the night.
At Shullsburg, on Saturday, Dec. 10, struggles at the foul line and on the defensive glass spelled trouble for the Benton/Shullsburg co-op in a 51-47 non-conference loss to visiting Monticello.
The Ponies (3-2) scored 12 second-chance points in the game to sink the Zephyr-Miners, while the hosts hurt their own cause by converting just 5-of-14 free throw attempts in the loss.
The teams were neck-and-neck with one another for much of the game with neither squad leading by more than seven points the entire day.
B/S sliced a six-point first quarter deficit in half by the intermission to 23-20, and they opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run to grab a brief 27-25 advantage.
The hosts still led 28-27 after Sarah Redfearn converted one of two free throws with 4:30 remaining in the third period, but the Ponies charged back with nine of the next 10 points to regain the lead at 36-29.
The Zephyr-Miners pulled back within two twice in the fourth, however Monticello converted enough free throws (3-for-7) down the stretch to hold on for the win.
Junior guard Blaire Lutes scored a game-high 17 points to go along with a team-high seven steals and five assists for the Zephyr-Miners.
Sarah Redfearn netted 10 points and pulled down four rebounds for the hosts, while Haley Morrissey chipped in with eight points.
Emma Neis added four rebounds, two assists and two steals to compliment five points, and Alyssa Leeser grabbed a team-high five boards for the hosts.
Katie Gierhart led Monticello with 13 points. Alyssah Kubly and Amy Silver each added eight points for the guests.
Benton/Shullsburg will participate in the East Dubuque Tournament on Friday, Dec. 16 and Monday, Dec. 19.
Bent/Shulls… 9 8 4 11 - 32
River Ridge… 8 21 20 6 - 55
Leading Scorers: Sarah Redfearn 6, Molly Blackbourn 6, Haley Morrissey 6, Blaire Lutes 5, Jenna Droessler 4, Stephanie Roberts 3, Emma Neis 2.
Monticello….. 15 8 13 15 - 51
Bent/Shulls… 9 11 12 15 - 47
Leading Scorers: Blaire Lutes 17, Sarah Redfearn 10, Haley Morrissey 8, Emma Neis 5, Molly Blackbourn 4, Stephanie Roberts 2, Alyssa Lesser 1.