On a night when the shots wouldn’t fall, the Tomah Timberwolves relied on their best asset to break open a tight contest.
The Timberwolves leaned on their pressure defense to produce a 23-0 run that was decisive in its 49-29 victory over Stratford Tuesday in a nonconference contest at Tomah High School.
“The girls are intense getting after the ball,” Tomah coach Mark Von Haden said. “The girls really want the ball when it’s on the floor.”
Their intensity turned a nail-biter into a rout in a hurry.
Stratford had a chance to take the lead with the score tied 24-24, when Madison Lindauer made a pick-pocket steal and converted a layup to put the Timberwolves back on top.
On Stratford’s next possession, Reis Derousseau stole a pass and fed Lindauer for a breakaway layup and foul that pushed Tomah’s lead to 29-24.
Derousseau followed with a 3-point play and two more foul shots, and Lindauer drilled a spot-up 3-pointer that gave Tomah a comfortable 37-24 cushion with 8:17 left. Tomah would push the advantage to 47-24 before Stratford’s Mariah Zawislan made a foul shot with 3:45 left.
The Timberwolves struggled through a seven-minute scoring drought in the first half, when Stratford turned a 16-10 deficit into a 17-16 lead, but Von Haden said his girls stayed the course.
“They kept their composure,” Von Haden said. “In the first half, if we make some bunnies, it would have been like the second half.”
Derousseau led the Timberwolves with 18 points. She drilled a pair of 3-pointers and made all four of her foul shots.
“When we were struggling, Reis made some plays for us by doing the things she does well,” Von Haden said.
Lindauer scored 12 points despite dealing with foul trouble. She picked up her third foul with two minutes left in the first half and fouled out with three minutes left in the game.
Tomah executed its swarming defense without sending Stratford to the foul line. The Tigers attempted just five foul shots.
The Timberwolves improved their record to 4-0, while Stratford fell to 0-2.
The Timberwolves return to action Tuesday with a trip to Wisconsin Rapids. After the Mississippi Valley Conference opener Dec. 8 at La Crosse Aquinas, they return home to face La Crosse Central Dec. 12 in a 7:15 p.m. tipoff.
TOMAH 49 STRATFORD 29
Stratford—Lehman 2, Nett 2, Schilllinger 3, Zawislan 3, Gliniecki 12, Hollatz 3, Ackely 4.
Tomah—Conway 4, Lindauer 12, Brey 8, Derousseau 18, Pierce 3, Liek 4.
Three-point goals—Hollatz, Lindauer, Brey 2, Derousseau 2.