PLATTEVILLE - At 5-foot-10, with ample athletic ability and a consistent jump shot from 15 feet in, Platteville junior Elisa Bilderback has all the tools to present a serious match-up problem for most opponents.
In the second half of last Thursday’s non-conference affair against Mineral Point Bilderback and senior forward Megan Moss formed an unstoppable 1-2 punch leading the Lady Hillmen to a 43-29 victory at Platteville High School and a 4-1 start to the season.
Bilderback and Moss combined to score 22 points in the second half as Platteville turned a three-point halftime lead into a 14-point victory.
“We settled down and worked the ball around a little more in the second half,” said Platteville head coach Wayne Jentz. “I thought we were rushing things in the first half and that caused us to force a few shots. After halftime we were more patient and we were able to get the ball inside more.”
Senior Tess Stecklein banked in a jumper with 15 seconds left in the first quarter to give Platteville an 8-6 lead and in the process jump started a 9-2 Hillmen run.
Bilderback scored back-to-back baskets to start the second quarter on a free-throw line jumper and a layup set up by a nice feed from senior guard Tisia Muzinga.
Muzinga then buried a three from the right corner to make it 15-6, and it appeared Platteville was poised to blowout out the visiting Pointers. But the Hillmen managed just one basket, a long two by senior Sam Hamer, over the final 6:25 of the half.
Platteville (4-1) missed a number of open jumpers and an easy breakaway layup in the final six minutes of the half, but still led 17-14.
In the second half Platteville looked like a different, more focused team.
The Hillmen slowed the pace, working the ball inside on offense and it paid immediate dividends.
Moss scored six of her eight points in the second half and finished the game with five assists, most of those setting up Bilderback.
The lanky Bilderback was the beneficiary of Moss’ nifty passing, but she also hit the offensive glass to earn scoring opportunities. Bilderback grabbed five offensive rebounds in the game and scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the second half. She made 9-of-16 shots from the field and snared 11 of her team’s 32 total boards.
Platteville (4-1) outscored Point 11-6 in the third quarter and closed the game on a 15-9 run despite making just 2-of-7 free throws in the game.
Junior point guard Stephanie Phillips finished the game with two points, a team-high six assists and five rebounds.
“I like where we are at right now,” said Jentz talking about his team’s 4-1 start. “We are moving the ball and we are getting the shots we want. We just have to maintain our shooting percentage.”
Platteville traveled to Barneveld on Tuesday and will conclud the two-day Barneveld Invitational Wednesday night. The Hillmen will then host Southwestern next Tuesday.
Platteville 43, Mineral Point 29
(from Thursday, Dec. 22 @ Platteville)
Mineral Point 6 8 6 9 - 29
Platteville 8 9 11 15 - 43
Mineral Point (1-6) - Dolphin 2, Mitchell 6, Wainwright 4, Lawinger 5, Ottoway 2, Goninen 10. Totals - 10 9-22 29.
Platteville (4-1) - Stephanie Philipps 2, Taylor Triphan 2, Megan Moss 8, Tess Stecklein 2, Elisa Bilderback 20, Samantha Hamer 2, Tisia Muzinga 5, Julia Lawinger 2. Totals - 20 2-7 43.
3-point goals - MP: 0; P: 1 (Muzinga 1). Team fouls - MP: 11, P: 18. Fouled Out - none.