BY MURRAY GLEFFE
ASHWAUBENON—The West De Pere Phantoms girls basketball team used their stifling defense to defeat the Ashwaubenon Jaguars by a final of 40-37 in a non-conference game. (Nov. 26)
Alexa Thomson led all scorers with 13 points and point guard Sydney Appleton added 11.
Anna Wendorf was the only Jaguars player to reach double figures finishing with 10 points.
Ashwaubenon and West De Pere went the first couple of minutes without scoring due to the tenacious in-your-face defense that each team played.
Finally, the lid came off when Phantoms forward Casey Jepson canned two free throws.
It took the Jaguars over six minutes to put their first points on the board, and it wasn’t easy.
Jaguars guard Kally VanLaanen drove into the lane, took a bump and made the lay-up in traffic.
A little later on, West De Pere increased their lead to five at 11-6 after Thomson made a beautiful spin move in the paint and finished with a bank off the glass.
The Jaguars didn’t go away despite not getting the lead at any one point in the first half and cut the margin to a single point at intermission (20-19) after Wendorf and Schaible scored back to back.
“We doubled their posts in the first half and wanted to make it difficult for them to get touches,” said Chris Abaray, West De Pere basketball coach. “I thought we did a great job of that and holding them to under 20 points was a bonus.”
The Jaguars came out of the second half and Rylie Severson hit back to back treys to give Ashwaubenon their first lead of the game at 25-23 with 10:25 remaining.
That was followed by an old fashioned three-point play by Elyse Ark who made an aggressive move to the basket and was fouled in the act of shooting.
“Rylie, Elyse, and Madi gave us some really good dribble, drive penetration tonight,” said Nicky VanLaanen, Jaguars basketball coach. “We started the second half on a 9-3 run with some good looks from the perimeter.”
West De Pere, however, responded with eight straight points during a five-minute span in which the Jaguars went ice cold from the field.
With the Phantoms holding a 35-33 lead with just over two minutes remaining, Appleton hit a three pointer from the corner to extend their lead.
The Jaguars kept fighting and with just 28 seconds left in the game (down one point) they came up with a steal and time out to set up a play.
That final play never came, as Alivia McNabb stepped in front and made a steal on the inbounds play. She responded by making two clinching free throws and a late desperation heave by the Jaguars fell awry.
“It’s always nice to get a big win like this on the road,” said Abaray. “We battled all night despite not having great success on the offensive end. Syd and Lex hit big shots when we needed them, and it proved to be just enough.”
The Phantoms improve to 2-1 on the season and the Jaguars fall to 1-2.
Ashwaubenon: 19, 18 37
West De Pere: 20, 20 40
Jaguars: Wendorf 10, Severson 6, Ark 5, Hansford 5, VanLaanen 4, Schaible 3, Appleton 2, Kunesh 2
Phantoms: Thomson 13, Appleton 11, Jepson 5, Baeten 4, McNabb 4, Ninham 2, Eggart 1