FENNIMORE — In a string of impressive wins over the past four weeks, Fennimore may scored its best of the season Friday night at SWAL-leading Mineral Point.
Senior Brynlee Nelson scored a game-high 18 points on an ultra-efficient 8 of 12 shooting to lead the Golden Eagles to a 44–33 upset victory, handing the host and Division 4 #4-ranked Pointers (12–5, 11–1 SWAL) their first conference loss of the season.
“The girls played really well Friday night,” said Fennimore head coach Kevin Everson. “Defensively we did a really job recognizing what sets they were in and anticipating movement in their offense. Offensively, we were patient and did a good job of working for a good shot.”
Fennimore held the Pointers, who have already clinched a third-straight SWAL title, to just 11 first half points.
Everson’s Eagles held a slim 14–11 advantage at the break, but maintain a lead of between three and six points most of the second half.
With about eight minutes left in the game, Fennimore was able to stretch the lead to double digits and kept it there the rest of the way.
“We have been really locked in on defense during this great stretch of basketball,” said Everson. “We started the second fast, which we have really been emphasizing starting the game fast and coming out in the second half fast. Claire [Faulkner] and Drehya [Dresen] had a couple big shots during the run to stretch the lead. But we really had a total team effort all the way down the list.”
Nelson finished with 18 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Claire Faulkner and freshman guard Braycee Nelson finished with seven points, three rebounds and one assist each.
Senior Delanee Klaas (six rebounds, two steals), Dresen (three rebounds, three assists) and sophomore Sophie Faulkner (five rebounds, two steals) scored four points each and contributed in numerous other ways on both ends of the court.
Junior Mallory Lindsey scored a team-high 15 points to lead the Pointers in defeat.
“This was a great win for the girls against the conference champions and should give us a lot of confidence moving forward towards end of season and playoff push,” said Everson. “We need to keep improving and take it a game at a time.”
Fennimore kept the momentum rolling Monday night, recording a ninth-straight victory with a dominating 50–25 non-conference win over visiting River Valley.
Defense was again the driving force for Everson’s Eagles, who held the struggling Blackhawks (1–15) to just eight first half points.
Fennimore raced out to a 26–8 halftime lead and never looked back.
“The biggest factor in this win streak has been our defense,” said Everson. “We are doing all the little things on that end right now. We still have room to improve, especially on offensive end, but really like where we are at right now.”
Three Eagles scored in double figures during Monday’s win, lead by 15 points from senior guards Brynlee Nelson and Claire Faulkner.
Nelson added a team-high three steals and two rebounds, despite an off night shooting from the field (6 of 19). She did have the touch from beyond the 3-point line, making 3 of 8 from down town.
Faulkner, who erupted for a career-high 26 points in a 52–33 win at Southwestern Jan. 21, made 6 of 10 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and hit a pair of free throws to account for her 15 points Monday night. She also gabbed a team-high eight rebounds and passed out two assists.
Klaas scored a season-high 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Fennimore’s SWAL game with Riverdale (7–7, 4–6 SWAL) was cancelled last Tuesday night and will not be made up with the playoffs beginning next Tuesday.
Fennimore traveled to Iowa–Grant (2–17, 0–11 SWAL) Tuesday night and will now close out the regular season Thursday night at home against Darlington (10–10, 8–4).
REGIONAL PLAYOFF PAIRINGS
The WIAA announced its regional playoff pairings Sunday and Fennimore earned the top seed and a first-round bye in its five-team regional.
No. 4 Boscobel (5–12, 2–8 SWAL) will host No. 5 Iowa–Grant (2–17, 0–11 SWAL) in a regional quarterfinal Tuesday night.
Fennimore will host the winner in a regional semifinal game Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
No. 2 Riverdale (7–7, 4–6), which has been on a two-week quarantine since Jan. 22, will host No. 3 River Ridge (4–7, 1–6 SRW) in the other regional semifinal game Feb. 12.
The semifinal winners will meet for the regional championship Saturday, Feb. 13.
Fennimore 44, Mineral Point 33
(from Friday, Jan. 29 @ Mineral Point)
Fennimore 14 30 — 44
Mineral Point 11 22 — 33
Fennimore (10–7, 8–3) — Delanee Klaas 4, Drehya Dresen 4, Brynlee Nelson 18, Claire Faulkner 7, Braycee Nelson 7, Sophie Faulkner 4. Totals — 17 5-9 44.
Mineral Point (12–5, 11–1) — Delaney Ross 3, Jade Nodolf 2, Mallory Lindsey 15, Blair Watter 4, Kennedy Wenger 2, Katelyn Cox 7. Totals — 14-36 1-4 33.
3-point goals — F: 5 (Brynlee Nelson 2, C. Faulkner 1, Braycee Nelson 2), MP: 4-14 (Ross 1, Lindsey 3). Team fouls — F: 9, MP: 12. Fouled out — none.
Fennimore 50, River Valley 25
(from Monday, Feb. 1 @ Fennimore)
River Valley 8 17 — 25
Fennimore 26 24 — 50
River Valley (1–15) — individual scoring not available.
Fennimore (11–7) — Delanee Klaas 13, Brynlee Nelson 15, Kyleigh Dresen 2, Claire Faulkner 15, Claire Faulkner 3, Braycee Nelson 2. Totals — 19-56 7-10 50.
3-point goals — RV: n/a, F: 6-17 (Klaas 1, Brynlee Nelson 3, Kyleigh Dresen 1, Faulkner 1). Team fouls — RV: n/a, F: n/a. Fouled out — none.