CUBA CITY – Cuba City started off its SWAL title defense by flexing their muscles on defense in a 40-29 victory over Darlington in their conference opener at Cuba City High School on Friday, Nov. 30.
The Lady Cubans (2-0 overall, 1-0 in SWAL) got off fast, scoring 10 unanswered points to grab an early 11-1 lead. The hosts needed all the depth they have on their bench after three starters were whistled for two fouls in the opening quarter.
Darlington (2-1, 0-1) broke their scoring drought with a basket by senior guard Cassidy Chambers with 1:52 to play in the first quarter, and the Redbirds added a basket by senior Cassidy Cox at the buzzer to close the gap to 11-6.
The ‘Birds got as close as 15-11 early in the second quarter, but the Cubans closed the first half on a 9-4 run to increase their lead to 24-15 at the intermission.
Defense continued to be the name of the game in the second half with both teams made the other work hard for every point they put on the scoreboard.
The Cubans managed just six points in the third quarter, but were still able to add to their lead after holding the Redbirds to just four points in the frame.
CC maintained their double-digit lead throughout the final stanza, matching the ‘Birds point for point to hang on for a key early-season victory.
Senior guard Kayla Marti was the offensive spark for the Cubans on the night as she dropped in a pair of 3-pointers en route to a game-high 19-point performance.
Junior forward Hannah Loeffelholz added seven points for the Cubans, who used a 14-for-20 effort at the foul line to sink the Redbirds.
Chambers led Darlington with nine points, while Cox and Tatum Evenstad tallied six points apiece for the Redbirds, who finished just 4-for-8 at the charity stripe.
Darlington opened the week with another defensive gem as they throttled the visiting Belmont Braves, 45-16, in a non-conference contest at DHS on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
The Redbirds held the Braves (1-2 overall) without a made field goal for a nine-minute stretch in the first half, but they were only ahead 17-9 at the half.
The ‘Birds continued to pour on the defense at the start of the second half, holding their guests without a point for the first six minutes of the third frame and the final four minutes of the fourth quarter to run away with the game.
Darlington’s offense picked up the pace as well in the second half, ripping off 17 unanswered points of the third quarter to open up a 34-9 advantage. Belmont never got closer to 23 the rest of the night.
The Braves were held to just 11.4 percent from the field on 5-of-44 shooting, including 0-for-10 from 3-point range.
Cassidy Chambers connected on two 3-pointers and added a basket and a pair of free throws in the third quarter en route to a game-high 12 points. Senior forward Claire Scott chipped in with nine points and senior point guard Tatum Evenstad added eight points for the ‘Birds.
Sophomore Keegan Kamps paced the Braves with eight points, while sophomore Jannie deHaan and freshman Alie Klein tallied four points apiece.
Belmont wrapped up the week by earning their first victory of the season when sophomore guard Katleyn Schobert sank a free throw with 6.8 seconds remaining to lift Belmont to a thrilling 42-41 non-conference decision over the visiting Southwestern Wildcats at BHS on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The Lady Braves doubled up the Wildcats in the first quarter, 12-6, and they used a 14-8 third-quarter run to 32-23 advantage into the final stanza.
The Wildcats whittled the deficit away until they tied the score at 41 all with just 12 seconds to play, but Schobert went 1-for-2 at the line with 6.8 seconds left to seal the victory.
Keegan Kamps sank three 3-pointers and poured in a game-high 19 points and added 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead the Braves to victory.
Alie Klein tacked on eight points, while Kalyn Kamps and Jordyn Kamps netted six points apiece for Belmont. J. Kamps added a team-high 16 boards and four steals.
Zoe Vaassen scored 14 points and Morgan Kuhl contributed 13 points for the Wildcats.
Belmont will host Monticello in a non-conference game on Friday, Dec. 7.
(Jason Nihles of the Platteville Journal contributed to this story)
Darlington… 6 9 4 10 - 29
Cuba City…. 11 13 6 10 - 40
Scoring Leaders: Cassidy Chambers 9, Cassidy Cox 6, Tatum Evenstad 6, Claire Scott 5, Mallory Busch 2, Abi Merriam 1.
Belmont…….. 3 6 2 5 - 16
Black Hawk… 8 9 19 9 - 45
Scoring Leaders: Belmont- Keegan Kamps 8, Jannie deHaan 4, Alie Klein 4. Darlington- Cassidy Chambers 12, Claire Scott 9, Tatum Evenstad 8, Alexa Hardyman 5, Carly Reilly 3, Cassidy Cox 2, Abi Merriam 2, Meghan Vieth 2, Kaitlyn Wall 2.
Southwestern… 6 9 8 18 - 41
Belmont……….. 12 6 14 10 - 42
Scoring Leaders: Keegan Kamps 19, Alie Klein 8, Kalyn Kamps 6, Jordyn Kamps 6, Katelyn Schobert 3.