Chargers dominate PHS in ECC showdown

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


HANA GOESER of Plymouth shoots over an unidentified Kettle Moraine Lutheran player in Thursday’s ECC basketball game. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke HANA GOESER of Plymouth shoots over an unidentified Kettle Moraine Lutheran player in Thursday’s ECC basketball game. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke PLYMOUTH – A swarming defense and a balanced attack ignited the Kettle Moraine Lutheran (Jackson) Chargers’ 69-43 rout over the Plymouth Panthers here Friday night in a showdown for the sole lead in the East Central Conference girls basketball race.

The Chargers, who lost to PHS, 54-52, on Dec. 19, upped their ECC record to 9-1 (15-2 overall). KML was ranked No. 5 in last week’s Associated Press Division 3 poll.

PHS, which had a six-game winning streak snapped, slipped into second place in the ECC at 8-2 (14-4 overall).

KML, which played mostly a man-to-man defense, stymied the Panthers’ low-post attack which was crucial in Plymouth’s earlier season win over the Chargers. Plymouth’s senior post players Jessica Leider and Lexi Lautenschlaeger scored 19 and 13 points, respectfully, in the first meeting. In the rematch Leider scored 11, which led PHS, and Lautenschlaeger was held to one.

LEXI LAUTENSCHLAEGER, Plymouth forward, drives to the hoop past Kettle Moraine Lutheran’s Amanda Porth (20) and an unidentified teammate in Thursday’s ECC basketball game. – Photo by Tyler LuedtkeLEXI LAUTENSCHLAEGER, Plymouth forward, drives to the hoop past Kettle Moraine Lutheran’s Amanda Porth (20) and an unidentified teammate in Thursday’s ECC basketball game. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke“We did a real good job of defending the post. We gave them [Leider and Lautenschlaeger] a lot of attention with a lot of numbers,” said Charger head coach Jason Walz.

“Crowding their posts and not giving them room to operate was the key to the game.”

KML, which scored several baskets on open shots due to good, quick ball movement, had three players who scored in double figures, led by junior forward Ari Miller’s 16. Miller exploded for a team-high 12 points in the second half.

“We moved the ball well which helps move the defense and creates openings for some of our girls,” said Walz. “In the second half Plymouth had to come out and scramble and trap a little bit, and we did a nice job of finding the open girl, especially under the basket.

“This is a big win in the conference race. I’m proud of the girls. Overall, I’m very pleased,” said Walz.

Turnovers and foul trouble hurt the Panthers. PHS committed a season-high 33 turnovers, many of which weren’t caused by the KML defense. Leider and point guard Emma Jewell missed several minutes in the first half because of foul problems.

“We played terrible and I’m not sure why. It was disappointing,” said PHS head coach Brad Shutter.

“We may have been too excited to start with. We got down and then tried to do too much, too quickly.

“I give KML a lot of credit. They played very well. They took away Lexi and Jess. I give them a lot of credit, defensively. They hit [four] three-pointers and that was a big difference in the first half,” said Shutter.

Amelia Bock and Cassidy Leikam hit two treys each for KML in the opening half. Leikam’s eight points led the Chargers in the first half.

PHS pulled to within 21-16 at the 7:40 mark in the first half after Carly Lilek buried a triple.

The Chargers answered with a 13-5 run to close out the half and build a 34-21 halftime lead. PHS had eight turnovers during the stretch. Miller’s three-point play and Bock’s three-point goal keyed the spurt.

Leider scored the first three points of the second half to shave KML’s lead to 34-24.

The Chargers responded with a 12-3 tear which pushed their lead to 46-27 with 15:25 left. Miller and Jayme Soderbeck scored six points each for KML during the run. The Chargers were in command the rest of the way.

“I was disappointed in our defense – on [a lack of] close-outs [of shooters], not being in your gap help and not seeing the ball,” said Shutter.

Lautenschlaeger led PHS in rebounds with nine and assists, three. Jewell led in steals with three.

JV-1 GAMES

PHS lost to KML in the junior varsity-1 game, 46-42. Addie Plate led PHS scorers with 18 and Courtney Casper had 11. Plate also had a team-best 13 boards.

Panther coach Scott Milslagle was very pleased with his defense which held KML to only 28-percent shooting from the field.. KML scored 73 in a win over PHS earlier this season.

On Jan. 23, the Panthers edged host Berlin, 29-28. Mariah Fox paced PHS in scoring with 13. Plate had a team-high six steals.


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