SPARTA—During the first 15 ½ minutes of the first half, the Tomah High School girls basketball team had yet to make a foul shot or two-point field goal.
Tomah fans didn’t mind.
The Timberwolves got to 27 points on nine 3-pointers, and they were the signature shots in Tomah’s 57-37 Mississippi Valley Conference victory at Sparta Friday.
Three different players drilled threes as Tomah opened a 12-0 lead, and the advantage stretched to 27-10 after Madison indauer hit three more from long range during a 2 ½ minute span.
The accuracy − the Timberwolves made nine of their first 11 − was a welcome sight for Tomah coach Mark Von Haden, who watched his team make just four of 34 during a painful 29-25 setback against Westby three nights earlier.
“It makes a big difference,” Von Haden said. “It takes a lot of pressure off and allows us to run our other stuff.”
Like Westby, Sparta came out in a two-three zone designed at all costs to keep Lindauer from the driving lane. Von Haden said the Timberwolves didn’t change the offense after the Westby game but said his team was more patient against the Spartans.
“Our approach on offense was our adjustment,” Von Haden said. “Against Westby, we were just making one pass and then a shot — that just doesn’t cut it against a zone. Tonight, we worked the ball and got three or four or even 10 passes before we took a shot, and that gave us a lot better looks at threes. “
Tomah’s first points that weren’t scored outside the arc came from Emma Liek, who made two foul shots with 2:36 remaining in the first half. Thirty seconds later, Lindauer converted a steal for a breakaway layup that was Tomah’s first two-pointer, and that was followed by an inside bucket from Alyssa Whaley that put the Timberwolves ahead 33-10 at halftime.
The Timberwolves made just one 3-pointer after halftime, but that was due to Sparta ditching its zone for a man-to-man. That opened driving lanes for Lindauer, who went back to her drive-and-dish game. It sparked a 17-10 run that gave the Timberwolves their largest lead at 52-20 before the Spartans finally hit some three of their own down the stretch.
Tomah improved its MVC record to 3-0 and overall mark to 9-2. Von Haden said his team responded well to the loss against Westby.
“It was a weird game − a game in which our offense was horrible, but our defense was pretty much unbelievable,” Von Haden said. “I told them to build off the defensive end. It was a good effort by the girls on both ends of the court.”
Lindauer finished with five 3-pointers and led all players with 24 points.
The Timberwolves will spend part of the holiday break in West Salem for the two-day West Salem Invitational. Tomah plays La Crescent at 1:45 p.m. Thursday and returns Friday for a 7 p.m. tipoff against West Salem.
The next home game is Friday, Jan. 4 against Holmen at 6 p.m. It’s the first half of a varsity girls/boys “pack the gym” doubleheader at Tomah High School.
TOMAH 57, SPARTA 37
Tomah—Schwitchtenberg 2, Spiers 6, Plueger 6, Lindauer 24, Whaley 5, Tiber 5, Liek 9.
Sparta—Savor 2, Ziebell 10, Winterton 2, Russ 1, Humphrey 3, Smith 2, Porkorny 2, Schell 8, Muller 7.
Three-point goals—Spiers 2, Plueger 2, Lindauer 5, Plueger 2, Liek, Humphrey, Schell 2.
Tomah 33 24−57
Sparta 10 27−37