(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil)
Above, Kingsley-Pierson’s Avery Schroeder puts up a shot over a West Monona defender. She led the Panthers with 18 points.
KINGSLEY — In a game of long runs back and forth, West Monona ended up with a few more than Kingsley-Pierson in a Western Valley Conference contest Friday. The Spartans came away with a 67-50 win in the game.
The final score was more lopsided than what most of the game was as the Spartans stretched a seven point lead with two minutes left out to a 17 point win at the end thanks to free throws and a last-second 3-pointer.
K-P Head Coach Nicole Goodwin was pleased with the team’s effort in the game.
“They gave all they got. That’s a win in my book,” Goodwin said. “They showed tons of heart. Anything I asked, they did.”
West Monona used a 13-0 run to start the second half to pull away from the Panthers after holding just a one point lead at the intermission. Miella Struble hit a 3-pointer and Kacy Miller added two more treys within the run while Jalyn Struble got a bucket and pair of free throws as the 13-0 run lasted over four minutes in to the third quarter.
K-P finally got on the board with a 3-pointer from Allison Reinking, but added just four more points the rest of the quarter with a basket from Karah Hill and two free throws from Gabby Boustead.
The Spartans got their lead out to 16 points with five minutes left in the game and the Panthers could have packed it in at the end of their third game in a four day span with a limited and dinged up roster, but the Panthers came back with one final push to cut the deficit down to seven points.
McKenzie Goodwin, who took a hard fall the night before at MMCRU and played with an elbow pad while also returning to the game after getting knocked in the nose on Friday, got the rally started with a layup and then a 3-pointer as part of her 14 points in the game. Avery Schroeder added a 3-pointer and then Goodwin sank her third triple of the game to force a timeout with the score 54-47 with 2:54 left.
“They just keep battling night after night,” Goodwin said. “They dig deep. I talked to them a long time in there just about how much they lift each other up, especially when things are going tough and we’re down by 14 or whatever and all of a sudden we chip away to 10, chip away to seven.”
The Spartans extended the lead back out to 12 after the timeout before Boustead knocked down a 3-pointer to get it back to single digits with under a minute to go, but West Monona closed with the final eight points of the game.
K-P got out to a good start, using a 10-0 run in the first quarter to hold the advantage. Schroeder carried the team in the first quarter with 13 of the team’s 16 points. She knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to start the game and then added another a few minutes later before scoring a pair of layups. She ended the game with 18 points to lead the team.
“She was on, thank goodness, because they were double, tripling down everything to stop us inside, so she did a great job,” Goodwin said. “We also had great passes to find her on the open side.”
After leading 16-8 with 1:40 left in the first quarter, K-P saw their lead dwindle to two at 16-14 by the end of the first quarter as Miella Struble hit back-to-back 3-pointers. It was part of 10 total threes in the game for the Spartans, six of which came from the senior Struble who ended with 25 points.
Goodwin said the Spartans just had a hot-shooting night.
“They’re great shooters and they got hot,” Goodwin said. “We were doing some switch up stuff and then when they started hitting those threes we went in man and we had somebody in their face, a hand in their face, and they were still knocking them down.”
K-P had a 10-0 run to start the second quarter as Goodwin banked in a 3-pointer after making a free throw moments before. Makenna Bowman added a layup, Schroeder knocked down a mid-range shot and Boustead had two free throws to finish off the run. Again, West Monona answered from the perimeter as their next three made shots all came from 3-point range as they closed the half on a 14-1 run to take the lead into the intermission.
West Monona won the meeting between the two teams by a 44-35 score back in December which gives them consecutive wins in the series for the first time since winning in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. The Spartans improved to 13-3 with the win and 6-2 in WVC games.
K-P dropped to 9-8 overall and finish their WVC regular season with a 6-3 record.
With their next game not until Thursday with the start of the WVC tournament, Goodwin said it will be a good time to rest up and recuperate before making one final push at the end of the season.
“We definitely need a few days off,” Goodwin said. “We get a little bit of rest now, which our bodies desperately need, and then we’ll start conference tournament on Thursday.”