Southwest drops home opener to state-ranked Hortonville
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Southwest girls’ basketball team challenged itself right out of the gate in taking on Hortonville, members of the Fox Valley Association Conference.
The Polar Bears, who are one of the top teams in the state, defeated the Trojans 79-42 in a non-conference game Nov. 16 at Southwest.
Hortonville was paced by freshman Rainey Welson’s 24 points.
Lyric Johnson chipped in 17, and Kamy Peppler added 16.
Marji Stevens and Addie Pytleski led Southwest with 12 points apiece.
“It’s an impossible scouting report,” Southwest Head Coach Berri West said. “(Hortonville) has an endless stream of talent. Our main goal tonight was to compete and find their shooters.”
With the score tied at five apiece, the Polar Bears went on a 16-0 run, fueled by their full-court pressure and size advantage in the lane.
With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, the Trojans trailed 32-10.
Southwest went on a 9-2 run to close the half.
Taliah Degroot and Taylor Deines connected on free throws, and Pytleski and Stevens hit some tough shots in the lane to tighten Hortonville’s lead to 34-19 at the break.
“Many kids could have quit near the end of the half,” West said. “We kept playing and fighting. (Marji Stevens) is phenomenal. She’s made two practices because of missed time. We’ve put in some additional plays this season, so we brought her off the bench to open the season. When she’s in, she has a good handle and controls the tempo. She’s going to be a big part of our chemistry moving forward.”
However, Southwest failed to seize the second-half momentum, as Hortonville proved to be tough from both inside and out offensively.
The Polar Bears continually forced the Trojans into turnovers and converted those misfortunes into layups to push their lead to 48-25 with 13:27 left.
Hortonville pushed the lead to 40 points with 4:26 remaining, initiating a running clock for the remainder of the contest.
Southwest’s Eajah Danforth converted on a three-point play late in the game, but it was too little too late as the visitors pulled away for the victory.
“Eajah (Danforth) is coming into her own with her confidence,” West said. “She’s 5-foot nothing going up against multiple 6-footers. She stuck her nose in every play. She had to battle every time to get a look on the perimeter. Defensively, she was pesky and made their shooters earn it.”
Southwest is back in action Nov. 18 when it travels to West De Pere for another non-conference game.