By Dan Truttschel


The stage is set for the much-improved Big Foot girls basketball team.

And now the Chiefs know who they will open WIAA Division 3 regional play against.

Big Foot, which drew the two seed and had Tuesday night off, will host sixth-seeded Evansville Friday night at 7 p.m.

Evansville (10-13 overall) upset third-seeded Clinton 40-30 in the first round Tuesday. Big Foot (15-7 overall) beat Evansville 44-41 Jan. 13.

There won’t be many surprises in the rematch, Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck said via e-mail Wednesday morning.

“We saw much of the same thing (against Clinton) as we saw against us,” he said. “They play seven seniors and one junior and are a mature, veteran team who has experience.

“They only had three offensive rebounds because they emphasized getting back to stop Clinton’s fast-break, transition offense. They did not hit any shots outside the paint and (senior Brielle) Greenleaf is half the team’s production.”

Stopping Greenleaf, a 5-10 player who averages 16.9 points per game, will be the focus Friday night, Schoenbeck said.

Greenleaf had 19 of her team’s 41 points in the first meeting.

“I am all about ball pressure and sound defensive play,” Schoenbeck said. “We practice defense all the time. Other keys are to stop Greenleaf and make someone else beat us if they can, protect the ball and avoid turnovers, get to the foul line and make open shots.”

Schoenbeck said he’s also focused on making the game as “normal” for his young group as possible, even though it’s the playoffs.

“Being so young and inexperienced at this level in high school, playing relaxed may be the most important issue,” he said. “We may feel pressure to win being the higher seed.

“It is my job as a coach to do what it takes to have the team ready to play and give them the best situation to use their skills on the court.”

A win Friday would send the Chiefs to the regional final Saturday against either top-seeded Brodhead or fifth-seeded Edgerton Saturday night at a site yet to be determined.

Regardless of the outcome this weekend, Schoenbeck knows the program is headed on the right track.

And this is just another step.

“This is what we have worked so hard for, not only this year, but last year and the four years before that in the youth program,” he said. “Year two was planned as a rebuilding year, but we have had some success with a very young team.

“This is a great group of young ladies who want to win and work hard every day. The experience and hopeful success can pay dividends for years to come. We feel we have built a winning program that will put Big Foot girls basketball on the map as one of the successful programs in the area.”

Chiefs roll in finale

Big Foot closed its regular season Feb. 19 with a 43-23 Rock Valley Conference win over visiting Palmyra-Eagle. The Chiefs finished second in the South Division at 11-5.

A 29-10 lead in the first half was more than enough to put the game out of reach early.

“Defense always drives our offense,” Schoenbeck said. “We held Palmyra to 14 points in three quarters, and that is what I like from this team. We made open shots and played really well as team.”

Kathryn Colby led the way with 13 points, followed by Courtney Schoenbeck with eight, Morgan Courier with five rebounds and four assists and Olivia Briggs with five rebounds and five steals. Carly Snudden, Brooke Berryman and Payton Courier each added five rebounds.



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