The Kimball Cubs would face their toughest challenge of the year with two games against what looks to be the top two teams in the conference this week. They began with last year's state runner-up in class 2A, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. The Cubs were excited for the chance to play against the Lakers who hosted the contest and were undefeated in conference play. Kimball jumped out in front 9-7 early in the game, while the Lakers found their groove later in the first half. The Lakers made a run to take a three-point (20-17) lead and extended it to 34-21 at the end of the first half. Kimball played well. Determined to claw their way back into the game, they cut the Laker lead to eight points with five minutes to play. But the Lakers prevailed with another late run of their own, closing out a 60-45 victory. The Lakers connected on nine three-point field goals on the night, showing why they remain alone at the top of the conference standings.
Kimball had many bright spots in defeat, led by Megan Garding's 15 points and eight rebounds, followed by Tesslynn Callander with 13 points. Mandy Wittenberg and Natalie Stein both had 6 points, Kelsey Vigoren 3 points, Shannon Donnay 2 points, and Brooke Merten was 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to round out the scoring. The competition remained tough as Rockford traveled to Kimball Friday, Jan. 15, when the Rockets brought a talented squad that forced opponents into an up-tempo, physical style of basketball. Kimball hoped to keep the Rockets' weapons in check and take them out of their game plan. Leading 20-17 well into the first half, Kimball would succumb to the style of play that Rockford kept pursuing late in the half, as Rockford made an impressive run to lead at the half 44-35.
The Rockets picked up in the second half, right where they left off, finishing with a 75-50 win.
Kimball was led by Callander's 14 points and three steals, with Garding grabbing a season-high 17 rebounds while scoring 13 points of her own. Stein shot well from the floor with 10 points, followed by Wittenberg with 5 points, Sarah Messer, Donnay, Vigoren, and Merten each added 2 points, and Vigoren also added four assists.
The Lady Cubs have reached the half-way point in their season now with an 8-4 overall record, 2-3 in conference play. This week the girls look to get back to their winning ways with three games this week, first at St. John's Prep Tuesday, Jan. 19, then at Pierz Thursday Jan. 21, followed by a girls/boys double-header this Saturday, Jan. 23, at home versus Norwood-Young America. Go Big Blue!