Madison Lindauer put an entire high school girls basketball team on her back Friday.
Lindauer scored a school-record 39 points, including 26 in the second half, to carry the Tomah Timberwolves to a 56-44 victory over Sparta in a Mississippi Valley Conference contest at Tomah High School.
In addition to breaking Allycia Gerwing’s single-game scoring record set in 1995 against Wisconsin Dells, Lindauer broke the school record for most 3-pointers (six) in one game and closed in on Rice’s total points record.
“It was fun to watch, wasn’t it?” Tomah coach Mark Von Haden said. “It was a great effort. I’m very proud of her.”
The Timberwolves desperately needed Lindauer to take over. The Timberwolves, except for Lindauer, were ice-cold from the field, and Sparta took advantage of the shooting slump to open the second half with a 12-2 run to take a 30-27 lead.
Tomah regained the lead at 36-34 on a 3-pointer by Ella Plueger, and after that, Lindauer scored Tomah’s next 18 points with a combination of driving layups and step-back 3-pointers. Eight of those points came during a two-minute span that stretched a tenuous 41-39 lead into a comfortable 49-39 cushion with 1:40 left.
Von Haden said Lindauer’s decision-making was superb.
“It wasn’t like she forced anything,” Von Haden said. “She let everything come to her. They were all good shots.”
Sparta took an early 5-0 lead before Tomah rallied behind a pressing defense. A 3-pointer by Lindauer gave Tomah an 18-9 lead with 6:44 left in the first half, but she picked up her second foul less than a minute later. With Tomah forced to back off on the defensive end, Sparta drew to within 20-18 before Lindauer scored the final five points of the half.
After Sparta took the lead in the second half, Tomah ratcheted up the defensive intensity again. After the Spartans scored 12 points in the first five minutes of the second half, they scored just 14 the rest of the game.
“The defense played awesome in the second half,” Von Haden said. “We were forcing turnovers, and that’s what the girls have to do. We can’t just wait for our halfcourt offense. We have to find other ways to score.”
The contest was a rematch of a contest Tomah won 57-37 at Sparta after hitting nine 3-pointers in the first half.
“We knew that wasn’t going to happen again, especially after having just one practice this week,” Von Haden said. “It was a pretty good game for neither team having any practices.”
Lindauer’s performance overshadowed a strong game by Sparta’s Callahan Ziebell, who was a scoring and offensive rebounding force. The sophomore post player led the Spartans with 20 points.
Alyssa Whaley came off the bench to score eight for the Timberwolves.
It was the final regular-season home game for Tomah seniors Lindauer, Abby Wagenson, Emma Liek and Ruth Schwitchtenberg. A fifth senior, three-year letterwinner Madisyn Brey, played just two games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
Tomah’s nonconference home contest against Adams-Friendship was postponed due to the severe cold, and it’s uncertain whether the contest can be rescheduled. The teams have less than three weeks to find a common open date before WIAA tournament play begins with Regional quarterfinals Feb. 19.
The Timberwolves’ final three contests are on the road, beginning with a Tuesday, Feb. 5 date at Holmen.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOMAH 56 SPARTA 44
Sparta—Ziebell 20, Winterton 2, Russ 1, Smith 5, Laufenberg 7, Pokorny 2, Schell 7.
Tomah—Spiers 1, Wagenson 3, Plueger 3, Whaley 8, Lindauer 39, Liek 2.
Three-point goals—Smith, Laufenberg, Schell, Plueger, Wagenson, Lindauer 6.