Tricounty News

Varsity girls' basketball goes 20-1 in CMC

By Jeremy Kuechle, head coach

Tuesday, Jan. 17, Kimball traveled to the college campus of Collegeville to play the St. John's Prep Johnnies in historic Guild Hall. The Lady Cubs were licking their wounds from a tough game against conference leader HL-W-W and were anxious to get back on the winning way.

The first half tipped with Kimball jumping out to a 4-0 lead, on baskets by seniors Erin Dingmann and Mandy Wittenberg. Dingmann scored again, and junior Allie Seth's shot kept our lead at 8-4 with 11:33 to go in the first. Wittenberg scored one from the charity stripe, hit another shot, and senior Brooke Merten's jumper bumped our lead to five with 8:33 to play in the half. Junior Breane Meierhofer went on a scoring tear with a two-point shot, burying a three and hitting another two, to push our lead to 10. Dingmann and senior Samantha Stuve each made a foul shot to end the scoring in a very scrappy first half, 24-14.

In the second, the Johnnies got some shots to fall, and the Lady Cubs went into an offensive dry spell that lasted for almost eight minutes. Wittenberg was the only Kimball player to make a basket in this half, as she made three. It was a defensive struggle as neither team could find the bottom of the net very effectively. The Lady Cubs finished their scoring from the foul line with Wittenberg making one, Meierhofer two and Merten two, as Kimball hung on for the 35-31 victory. Our team leaders for this game were Mandy Wittenberg with nine boards, Breane Meierhofer dished out four assists and Wittenberg had three steals.

Kimball didn't have a great deal of time to think about the struggle against St. John's because the Rockford Rockets came to town Thursday, Jan. 19. We were happy to return home to play another conference opponent we have not played yet this season. The Lady Cubs played very well defensively, not allowing a three-point basket to the Rockets and scored 21 baskets on 17 assists as a team on the night.

The game started with both teams climbing on the seesaw, each team going back and forth from the offensive end as the largest lead was six for either team in the half. Breane Meierhofer got us on the board with a basket, Samantha Stuve made a free throw and Meierhofer scored again, but we still trailed by two, 5-7 with 12:26 in the half. Mandy Wittenberg sandwiched two baskets around senior Emily Donnay's strong, post-move score to tie the game at 15-15. Erin Dingmann splashed in a three-point bomb, and hit a two-point dagger, while a final Wittenberg goal ended the Lady Cub scoring with a 22-18 halftime advantage.

As the second tipped, the seesaw ride for both teams continued until the 5:42 mark left in the game. Wittenberg and Meierhofer combined to score our first 14 points of this half, and Brooke Merten drained a huge, pressured three-pointer to put us up four, 37-33. Wittenberg hit two more shots, Meierhofer scored, Allie Seth had a rebound basket and Dingmann made the last shot for Kimball from the floor with 1:30 left, up 47-38. Wittenberg and Merten sealed the victory from the foul line with five makes between them, as the Lady Cubs turned out the lights on Rockford, 53-42. Our team leaders for the game were Mandy Wittenberg collecting eight rebounds, Breane Meierhofer who had five assists and two steals.

Our WNBA-type schedule continued on Saturday, Jan. 21, as the Lady Cubs traveled to Eden Valley in a tough conference game to take on EV-W. The Eagles have the ability to play inside-out on offense and we were able to quell their pressure defense, which helped to execute our game plan.

The game tipped and Kimball would not scratch the scoreboard until the 11:19 mark of the first half on a Mandy Wittenberg, old fashioned three-point play. This proved to be the hole that we would spend the rest of the evening trying to dig out of. Samantha Stuve made a basket, Wittenberg hit two from the charity stripe, junior Casie Mackereth drained a triple and Brooke Merten's three-pointer completed the scoring for the first half as Kimball trailed, 13-25.

The second period proved to be a more impressive offensive half for the Lady Cubs scored 31 points and played exceptional defense to hold down the Lady Eagles. Merten started the half like she ended the first, swishing a triple from the left of the key. Meierhofer and Wittenberg each made two from the free-throw line and Mandy added a jump shot to cut the lead to 13, 23-39 with 9:40 to play. Merten added a couple of foul shots, Meierhofer drained two three's and Casie Mackereth also "made it rain" from the three-point arc, to cut the Eagles lead to nine with 3:47 left in the game. Erin Dingmann continued our three-point rainstorm from three-point land and after two Wittenberg free throw makes, we trailed only by six, 39-45. This would be the closest we could get, as both teams finished their game scoring from the foul line. This was an excellent effort by the Lady Cubs who did not show any quit, as they pressed the fortunate Eagles to their limit, in a 44-52 final. Our team leaders for this game were Mandy Wittenberg who grabbed eight boards, Breane Meierhofer dished out four assists and three players each had a steal. This moves our overall season record to 9-5 and 4-3 in the CMC.

Kimball will continue out on the road for two more conference match ups during this upcoming week. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Pierz to take on the Pioneers will be the destination for a 7:30 p.m. tip, and Friday, Jan. 27, at the Belgrade Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars also at

7:30 p.m. Thank you for supporting Kimball girls' basketball.