Another slow start, another frustrating home setback for the Tomah High School girls basketball team.
The Timberwolves outplayed La Crosse Central over the final 24 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to overcome an early 18-4 deficit, and the result was a 53-47 loss to the Red Raiders in a Mississippi Valley Conference matchup Friday.
Tomah’s record fell to 10-6 overall and 2-4 in the MVC. The Timberwolves are undefeated on the road but 4-6 at home, including five straight losses in the Tomah gym.
“I think we’re looking forward to a road trip on Tuesday,” said Tomah coach Mark Von Haden of his team’s next game at La Crosse Logan. “We’re ready to hit the road.”
As with their other five home losses, the Timberwolves were hobbled by a very slow start. They scored just two field goals in the first 10 ½ minutes, and despite finishing the first half on a 15-8 run, they still trailed 26-19 at halftime.
TheTimberwolves chipped away at the lead early in the second half and cut the gap to 31-27 when Abby Wagenson converted a layup off an inbounds pass from Madison Lindauer.
However, the Timberwolves would go the next 9 ½ minutes without a field goal. Von Haden said his team had open shots during that span that could have kept the contest within reach.
“We had a lot of good looks for us tonight again − nothing fell for us,” Von Haden said. “If a couple of shots fall, that’s a big difference. Just a couple of three balls, and it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Central rebuilt its lead to 41-32 before Emma Liek drained a 3-pointer with 4:03 left. Alyssa Whaley made two foul shots with 24 seconds left, and Liek added two more four seconds later to cut the gap to 49-47, but Central’s Rachel Peterson made four foul shots in the final 17 seconds to put the contest out of reach.
Von Haden said Tomah’s defense was solid. Central shot just 35 percent from the field, and the Timberwolves outrebounded Central 43-38.
“We played good (defense) again tonight,” Von Haden said. “A lot of points they scored at the end of the game were on free throws, so it’s hard to judge how many points you really gave up. Halfway through the second half we gave up only 31.”
Lindauer led the Tomah offense with 21 points. She was 10 of 14 from the foul line and had five rebounds.
Liek had 15 points, and Whaley came off the bench to score nine and grab five rebounds.
Wagenson was Tomah’s leading rebounder with eight.
Central got a big game from Ava Parcher, who made five of six 3-pointers en route to 21 points.
The Timberwolves travel to Logan Tuesday, Jan. 22 for a rematch of a Dec. 11 contest won by Tomah. The next home game is Tuesday, Jan. 29 nonconference date vs. Adams-Friendship.
LA CROSSE CENTRAL 53 TOMAH 47
La Crosse Central—Trussoni 6, Optiz 3, Peterson 12, Miller 6, Parcher 21, Williams 5.
Tomah—Lindauer 21, Wagenson 2, Whaley 9, Liek 15.
Three-point goals—Trussoni, Miller, Parcher 5, Lindauer, Liek 3.
Central 26 27 — 53
Tomah 19 28 — 47