It was a night for the Tomah High School girls basketball team to honor its most accomplished senior class in more than a decade.
It was also a night to ponder what might have been.
Tomah’s four seniors were honored with a spotlight recognition ceremony before the Timberwolves dropped a 49-29 Mississippi Valley Conference to Holmen at Tomah High school. The senior class of Brooke Brown, Lindsey Conway, Reis Derousseau and Mallory Pierce led the Timberwolves from a two-win season in 2014-15 to the program’s first winning season since 2005-06.
Unfortunately two members of that class, Brown and Pierce, were both in street clothes with season-ending knee injuries. Brown was injured during the volleyball season, and Pierce started eight games before her injury.
The lack of depth was evident as the Timberwolves struggled to score against one of the upper-echelon teams of the MVC, but Tomah coach Mark Von Haden took the long view after the game.
“I hope the freshmen take notice how hard (the seniors) work,” Von Haden said. “They jump-started our program.”
The Timberwolves struggled against a Holmen defense that allowed uncontested passes on the perimeter but kept the Timberwolves out of the paint and forced them to take difficult perimeter shots. The contest stayed close in the first half because Tomah’s 1-3-1 defense also kept Holmen from getting any easy shots, and the result was a 17-9 halftime lead for the Vikings.
Madison Lindauer scored the first bucket of the second half to cut the margin to 17-11, but the Vikings finally shook loose from the 3-point line. After getting nothing from beyond the arc in the first half, the Vikings drained three 3-pointers in a 2 ½-minute stretch to take a 30-15 lead, and the Timberwolves lacked the offensive firepower to overcome that kind of deficit. Holmen padded the final margin by making 10 straight foul shots in the final 2:22.
Lindauer led the Timberwolves with 11 points.
Tomah’s overall record fell to 13-8.
Von Haden acknowledged that Tomah’s depth problem became acute after Pierce left the lineup. That left Tomah with five starters logging major minutes and a bench that couldn’t provide much scoring punch.
Von Haden said Pierce left a void in the rebounding and defense.
“(Pierce) was playing some good ball for us,” Von Haden said. “We called her our enforcer ... she was a solid player. You could see we were a different team without her.”
Tomah wraps up the regular season Tuesday with a trip to Onalaska. The girls will play the first half of a varsity girls/boys doubleheader starting at 6:15 p.m.
HOLMEN 49 TOMAH 29
Holmen—Jahr 6, Paulson 10, Young 12, Jostad 4, Rasmussen 5, Valiska 2, Leia 10.
Tomah—Conway 5, Lindauer 11, Brey 7, Derousseau 2, Liek 4.
Three-point goals—Young 2, Rassmussen, Brey, Lindauer.
Holmen 17 32−49
Tomah 09 20−29