It was a week that the Viroqua girls basketball team has been waiting for all season and likely will not soon forget, as the Blackhawks, led by senior point/forward Claire Anderson, picked up their first and second wins of the year.
Viroqua vs. Cashton, Jan. 23
Anderson exploded for a career-high 30 points to lead the Viroqua girls basketball team to their first victory of the season a 53-41 triumph over Cashton. The non-conference game was played at the VHS gymnasium.
Anderson scored the 30 points on 29 shots from the field connecting on 8-of-22 two-point attempts, 3-of-7 from beyond the three-point arc and cashed in on 11-of-15 from the free-throw line. The senior point forward also pulled down four offensive rebounds in the all-around outstanding performance.
Senior Natalie Waldenberger chipped in with 12 points, hitting on 6-of-9 two-point field goal tries, and also snared a team-high 10 rebounds. Rebecca Schipper connected on both of her two-point field goal attempts, scoring four points, Lauren Brendel, Autumn Goodwin and Kendra Jerdee each added 2 points and Brooke Knutson one point in the winning effort.
The winning margin came at the free-throw stripe, where the Blackhawks, led by Anderson, converted on 12 of 18 charity tosses, while the Eagles struggled, connecting on just 5-of-17 free-throw tries. The Blackhawks also held a decided rebounding advantage, securing 34 rebounds (24 offensive) to the Eagles 21 boards (9 offensive).
Hailey Huntzicker led the visiting Eagles (5-9) in scoring with 18 points.
“It took a really good team effort to beat Cashton tonight,” coach Joe Willis said. “Cashton plays physical and plays tough man-to-man defense. We were able to fast-break against them in the first half and got high percentage shots.”
“Claire Anderson played a great game and we got really solid defensive rebounding from our posts, particularly Natalie and Autumn. We also limited our turnovers, which has plagued us at time this year,” Willis said. “I’m proud of the girls for playing as a team tonight.”
Viroqua vs. BRF, Jan. 27
The Blackhawks made it back-to-back wins later in the week with a convincing 46-35 victory over Black River Falls in the final game of the 19th annual Coulee Classic at the La Crosse Center.
Once again it was Claire Anderson carrying the load offensively erupting for 23 points to lead all scorers. The Hawks jumped out to an 8-0 lead with Anderson scoring the first five points and Goodwin adding an old-fashioned three-point play, before the Tigers responded with eight straight to tie the game at 8-8.
The tie was short-lived, however, as Madelyn Anderson gave Viroqua the lead for good at 10-8 with an offensive rebound put-back basket with 6:49 left in the first half. The Blackhawks built an 18-13 halftime lead, but the Tigers cut the lead to 18-16 early in the second half, before VHS reeled off eight straight points on a pair of three-pointers from Claire Anderson sandwiched around a basket by cousin Madelyn.
The two teams traded baskets the rest of the way before the Blackhawks put the game away converting on 8-of-12 free throw attempts in the final 3:35 of the game. It was the first Coulee Conference win of the season for Viroqua, while BRF is still searching for their first win.
Madelyn Anderson finished with a double-double with 10 points and a dozen rebounds, Schipper chipped in with six points and the same number of rebounds, Goodwin added six points and Brendel two points and seven boards. For the second straight outing the Hawks protected the ball with just five turnovers, while forcing 23 BRF miscues in the winning effort.
Coach Willis commented on the on the contributions of the Anderson cousins and the entire team to the winning combination. “I thought the turning point in the game was when Claire drew two charging calls when the game had gotten tight…she also found her shot in the second half, but just as important we had a post player (Madelyn) rise to the challenge and compliment Claire’s scoring. We got contributions from everyone…we need that to be competitive and to give our chance to win.”