Hornets’ lock-down defense lifts them over Redbirds
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Preble girls’ basketball team put the clamps on De Pere’s run-and-gun offense in route to a 39-33 Fox River Classic Conference victory Jan. 28 at Preble High School.
Ella Bialkowski led the Hornets with 16 points, while Junior Taylor Sleger chipped in nine points.
Preble’s Kendall Renard scored only six points, but her production was most felt on the defensive end where she had seven blocks and altered many more De Pere shots.
The Hornets have won 11 of their past 12 games after starting the season 1-3.
“The kids had a great night defensively,” said Preble head coach Jim Doell. “The coaching staff, including myself, notice and take pride in having great communication among our players. We played with heart and passion against a good basketball team in De Pere.”
Points were at a premium in each of the two halves.
The Hornets (12-4 overall, 9-3 FRCC) jumped out in front 6-4 after Dominique King scored on a layup.
While Renard and Carley Duffney were held in check offensively due to double and triple teams, Bialkowski and Sleger were the beneficiaries.
Sleger connected on a triple with 2:47 remaining in the first half to give Preble its biggest lead of the first half at 18-10.
De Pere (8-7, 5-6) slowly chipped away and closed on a 9-2 run to trail 20-19 at the break.
Bialkowski caught fire in the second half, connecting on her first and second triple of the second half to give the Hornets a nine-point lead.
Her last three-point field goal came with 6:15 remaining, giving the Hornets a 37-25 advantage.
“When other teams take away our top options, it’s one of my jobs to bring up the scoring load,” said Bialkowski. “It’s been a fun stretch the past month and a half. We need to keep working hard and see how far we can go.”
Jordan Meulemans scored 10 second-half points for De Pere, but it wasn’t enough down the stretch as the Hornets played keep away with the ball and held on for the victory.
“We are a grind-it-out team which is starting to play a bit bigger,” added Doell. “Our focus will be to get stops on the defensive end and to be patient offensively in the half-court to get the best shots possible. We are not afraid to run when given the opportunity with Carley, Ella and Taylor at the guard positions.”
De Pere: 19, 14—33
Green Bay Preble: 20, 19—39
Redbirds: Meulemans 14, Schneider 8, McCarty 6 Bierowski 3, Hubbard 2
Hornets: Bialkowski 16, Sleger 9, Renard 6, Duffney 4, King 4