Bonduel girls basketball team falls to St. Mary Catholic in opener

Bears struggle with pressure
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Bonduel High School girls basketball team started strong but struggled to adjust to full-court pressure and eventually fell 55-41 to St. Mary Catholic in a nonconference battle on Nov. 15 in Bonduel.

The rematch of a Division 4 sectional semifinal last winter was a back-and-forth battle in the early going before the Bears created some separation. That’s when St. Mary turned to a full-court press, and Bonduel was never truly able to get in a rhythm again.

The Bears scored 21 points in about nine minutes of game time before tallying just 20 points in the final 27 minutes.

“We have a lot of young blood, a lot of people that were on JV last year, so the pressure kind of got to us,” said Ella Hischke, who led the Bears with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. “First game, so we were a little out of shape too. But I think the next part of the season we’ll be better under pressure.”

“I mean, we weren’t really used to the pressure, so we need to work on that in practice,” said Kendra Troxel, who was second on the team with 11 points. “Just put more pressure on everyone so they understand what’s going to be coming since our team is so young.”

St. Mary scored first in the contest, but a 3-pointer from Audrey Weier on the next possession gave Bonduel the early advantage. Weier knocked down a couple free throws after a steal a couple minutes later to put Bonduel up 5-4, and then Troxel hit a shot to make it 7-4.

The Zephyrs tallied the next five points before free throws from Bonduel’s Hailee Thompson tied it. Macy Niles converted a shot for Bonduel’s 10th and 11th points, but St. Mary took a 13-11 advantage soon after.

Hischke knocked down two 3-pointers and then converted another shot for a personal 8-0 run that made it a 19-13 lead with just under 10 minutes to play in the half. Troxel then hit a shot, making it 21-16, before St. Mary turned up the pressure.

Bonduel’s next points came on a Hischke bucket with 3:03 left in the half, but thanks to strong defense of their own, the Bears still led 23-19. Troxel hit a couple shots and Hailey Zernicke hit a layup in the final seconds of the half to give the hosts a 29-24 halftime advantage, making it appear as if Bonduel had weathered the storm and settled in against the pressure.

Hischke drilled a triple to start the second half and put Bonduel up 32-24, but St. Mary caught fire from deep, and after making three 3s and another bucket, led 35-32.

Trailing for the first time since early in the game, coach Jerry Reinke thought his team started settling for long jumpshots instead of attacking the rim like it had most of the first half.

Troxel made a shot to stop the 11-0 St. Mary run, but the next time the Bears scored was over five minutes later, and by then, the Zephyrs led by double digits.

“I think they made it a point to make sure that they were reversing the ball several times, and they got some pretty good open looks against our 2-3 (zone),” said Reinke of St. Mary. “I think we maybe ran out of gas a little bit, but I probably waited a little too long, we probably should have went to man-to-man a little sooner — we actually played some pretty good man-to-man defense tonight.”

It was Troxel again that stopped the St. Mary scoring run, this time with a free throw. A bucket from Zernicke made it a 10-point game, 47-37, with still over eight minutes to play.

The next several minutes saw more strong defense from each team and not a lot of great looks. St. Mary scored the next points with 6:30 remaining in the contest, and Bonduel was next to score with under four to play.

Hischke scored for the Bears, and then two Thompson free throws got the Bears within eight with 3:28 to play, but those were the final points for the hosts. St. Mary sealed the win by knocking down six free throws.

St. Mary 24 31 — 55

Bonduel 29 12 — 41

St. Mary (55): Chloe Vogel 5-8 15, Emily Vogel 4-9 12, Audrey Norville 0-1 15, Nolie Anderson 2-5 6, Sienna Anderson 2-2 7.

Bonduel (41): Macy Niles 0-0 2, Kendra Troxel 1-2 11, Ella Hischke 0-2 15, Audrey Weier 2-2 5, Hailee Thompson 4-4 4, Hailey Zernicke 0-1 4.