If you had to point to one factor as to why the Viroqua girl’s basketball team is still in search of their first win this season it would be a failure to convert on scoring opportunities, in other words, low shooting percentage.
That was the case in a 59-31 loss on the road at Onalaska Luther, Tuesday, Jan. 9, when the Blackhawks connected on just 9-of-44 two-point attempts (20.5 percent), were 2-of-11 from three-point land (18.2 percent) and also struggled from the free-throw line converting on only 7-of-17 from the charity-stripe (41.2 percent). The Knights doubled up the Blackhawks with a 28-14 halftime lead.
“We felt like we matched up well against Luther and that we would be able to stay in the game…but it turned out to be another game where we struggled to make shots,” said coach Joel Willis. “We got into our offense well and had plenty of open looks in the first half, but couldn’t convert the opportunities. We did a good job of attacking from the inside and our guards and posts got plenty of touches in good scoring positions.”
The Knights (4-6 and 2-3 Coulee) had struggles of their own shooting the ball, making a respectable 44 percent of their two-point tries (25 of 56) but failed to connect on any of their 16 three-point attempts and converted only 9 of 18 free-throws.
Natalie Waldenberger and Claire Anderson shared scoring honors with 10 points each, followed by Autumn Goodwin with five, Lauren Brendel three, Kendra Jerdee with two and Brooke Knutson one. Luther was led by Kaitlyn Kennedy’s 21 points.
Viroqua vs. West Salem
The Blackhawks improved their shooting percentage dramatically, especially from two-point range, in their next Coulee Conference home game versus West Salem, but still came up short in a 67-42 home court loss to the Panthers, Friday, Jan. 12.
The problem was just not enough shot attempts. Viroqua created a combined total of 31 field goal attempts, 16 from two-point range and 15 three-pointers, while the visitors had 63 scoring chances, 42 from two-point range and 21 from beyond the three-point line.
The Blackhawks converted on eight of those 16 two-point attempts for 50 percent, but continued to struggle from long range hitting on only three of the 15 tries from beyond the arc. In fact, the home team scored more points at the free-throw line than from the two-point field goal range, converting a season high 17 charity tosses in 32 attempts.
The Hawks played a solid first half and were within striking distance of the Panthers, currently in send place in the Coulee Conference at 6-1 and 9-4 overall, trailing just 26-21 at the halftime break. Too much second half defensive pressure wore down the VHS squad, and left Viroqua still seeking their first win of the season.
Claire Anderson, as she has done all season, led the team in scoring with 17 points, while Lauren Brendel and Natalie Waldenberger added 6 each. Brendel snared a team high 7 rebounds, including 5 off the defensive glass, Waldneberger and Anderson each grabbed 5 boards.
“This was a fun game to be a part of, from start to finish,” Willis said. “I was proud of the girl’s effort tonight…everyone played hard and together. Individually Brooke Knutson played with a lot of guts on defense…Madelyn Anderson blocked shots and played well…Claire had her best floor game of the year…she handled pressure and made good decisions with the ball through the press. We ended the game with some confidence.”