The Tomah Timberwolves picked a good night to make foul shots.
La Crosse Central confronted the Timberwolves with a sticky man-to-man defense, but Tomah responded at the foul line to secure a 55-42 victory over the Red Raiders in a Mississippi Valley Conference girls basketball game at Tomah High School.
Tomah improved to 1-1 in the MVC and 6-1 overall and bounced back nicely from its first loss of the season Friday at La Crosse Aquinas.
“The girls played well,” Tomah coach Mark Von Haden said. “We got to the foul line in the first half and got a 12-, 14-point lead and managed to keep it there.”
Most, but not all, of the foul shooting prowess belonged to junior point guard Madison Lindauer, who made 11 of her first 12 foul shots before missing her last two late in the game. The rest of the team was six of eight from the line.
Lindauer has made 39 of 43 foul shots in seven games, and Von Haden said it’s critical to have a point guard who’s nearly automatic at the stripe. Her free throws were a handy weapon against a collapsing Central defense that challenged every foray into the paint.
“It’s (Lindauer’s) strength taking the ball to the basket, so she’s going to get fouled,” Von Haden said.
Von Haden gave credit to Central’s defense, which held to Tomah 33 percent shooting, including just two of 17 from 3-point range.
“They made us work for every basket,” Von Haden said.
The Timberwolves never trailed. They held a modest 17-12 lead with seven minutes left in the first half before launching a 10-0 run that set the tone for the rest of the contest. Tomah never led by less than double digits after that and stretched the advantage to 53-34 before Central ended the game with an 8-2 run.
Lindauer finished with 23 points and seven rebounds.
The Timberwolves also got solid play from their post players. Mallory Pierce had nine points on four-of-eight shooting before fouling out, while Emma Liek came off the bench to score eight points.
Von Haden was happy with a defense that held Central to 13-of-53 shooting.
“We defended everything inside and contested every shot,” Von Haden said. “We need to work on our rebounding a little bit.”
Tomah out-rebounded Central 46-39, although Central closed the gap late in the game. Reis Derousseau and Madisyn Brey collected seven rebounds each for the Timberwolves.
Sophie Leinfelder led the Red Raiders with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Tomah returns to MVC action Friday with a 5:45 p.m. contest at La Crosse Logan. It’s the first half of a girls-boys varsity doubleheader.
The next home contest is Tuesday, Dec. 19 against Mauston in a 7:15 p.m. nonconference tipoff at Tomah High School.
TOMAH 55 LA CROSSE CENTRAL 42
La Crosse Central—Trussoni 8, Leinfelder 10, Opitz 7, Peterson 9, Miller 4, Meyers 3, Williams 1.
Tomah—Conway 4, Lindauer 23, Brey 5, Derousseau 6, Pierce 9, Liek 8.
Three-point goals—Leinfelder, Conway, Brey.
Central 20 22−42
Tomah 32 23−55
MVC GIRLS BASKETBALL
Results of Dec. 12
Tomah 55 Central 42
Holmen 57 Sparta 40
Aquinas 81 Logan 25