The Richland Center Hornets used 17 unanswered points to overcome the Platteville Hillmen, 62-45, in SWC girls basketball action here at the RCHS fieldhouse Friday night.
Kelsey Collins scored a game high 25 points as the Hornets notched their eighth straight win.
The Hornets improved to 6-0 in the SWC standings and found themselves ahead by two full games as Dodgeville upset Prairie du Chien. Coach Steve Board’s Hornets also remained undefeated in the RCHS fieldhouse this season as they improved to 12-3.
The Hornets’ win didn’t come easily. Platteville took advantage of the Hornets’ press and foul woes to keep the game close. In addition, the Hornets suffered from poor shooting. They shot more but struggled to find the range.
The Hornets sealed the win by hitting six of nine free throws in the final minutes.
“We tried to explain that we press to speed up the game not necessarily to get steals,” said coach Board. “Platteville was inclined to speed up the game, so we didn’t have to gamble. We needed to do a better job of picking our spots to double team. As a result, we gave too many easy baskets in the first half.”
Elisa Bilderback, a 5-11 junior, took advantage and scored a team high 22 points including 12 in the first half.
Board said his team did a better job of keeping the Hillmen off the free throw line in the second half. Hornet fouls mounted up including two apiece on the senior backcourt of Collins and Emily Anderson. As a result, they sat much of the second quarter.
The Hornets jumped out to a 7-2 lead before Platteville went on a 12-1 run as the Hornets misfired on nine straight field goal attempts before Kelsey Deets came off the bench to break the ice.
Turnovers haunted the Hillmen, and a flurry of them gave the Hornets renewed life. Trailing, 15-10, late in the first quarter, Platteville committed seven turnovers on eight possessions. The Hornets took advantage and ran off nine unanswered points for a 19-15 lead. Collins and Kylea Schultz converted steals and Collins also added a three.
The Hillmen also mishandled the ball three times to start the second quarter, and the Hornets added eight more points for a 27-15 edge. The double digit cushion hardly proved a knockout as Platteville clawed its way back into contention. Three-point plays by Julia Lawinger and Katie Lucas helped the Hillmen, who were five of six from the foul line in the quarter, draw within 33-30 at the half
Collins converted a steal and added a trey to start the second half, but it wasn’t until she scored again and Mckenzie Wilson added a three to give the Horents a 47-38 lead after three quarters.
The Hornets’ lead grew to 56-42 when Deets scored again but after Collins was whistled for another foul and Tess Stecklein scored on a three-point play, Board sealed the win with his delay game.
Deets and Schultz each scored six points. Wilson, Anderson and Kelley Lynch each had five. Emily Schauf and Abbey Beranek each had four and Brooklyn Ewing two.
Lucas scored seven points for Platteville. Lawinger and Stecklein each had six, and Tisia Muzinger and Taylor Triphan each had two.
The Hornets shot 33 percent (20 of 61) from the field. They made five of 17 threes and 17 of 23 free throws while committing 10 turnovers.
Platteville shot 45 percent (18 of 40) from the field. The Hillmen were zero of seven from three-point land and nine of 13 from the foul line – just one of one in the second half.
The Hornets moved two games ahead with four league games left as Dodgeville surprised Prairie du Chien, 47-42. Lancaster thumped River Valley, 48-25.
The Hornets will host River Valley Thursday night. They will also play two non-conference games during the upcoming week. They will go to West Salem Saturday and will host Sauk Prairie on Tuesday.