In Big Foot’s close, 54-52 win over conference foe Whitewater, Yesenia Gonzalez puts up a shot under the hoop. (Peter Mischka photo)

By Dan Truttschel

Sports correspondent

The Big Foot girls basketball team faced a nearly identical end-of-game situation in two recent outings.

And the Chiefs were just seconds away from a sweep.

Coming on the heels of a 54-52 Rock Valley Conference victory at Whitewater on Dec. 21, the Chiefs traveled to the JustAGame Field House in Wisconsin Dells and returned with a tough, 56-55 nonconference setback to Division 1 foe Janesville Parker.

The split leaves the Chiefs at 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the RVC.

Parker had the final possession, and with the seconds winding down in a 55-55 tie, turned to 6-foot-2 post player Julia Hartwig to lead the way.

Hartwig, who led all scorers with 20 points, missed a shot in the post, but was fouled on the rebound and knocked one of two free throws with 4.2 seconds left to seal the victory.

“It almost mirrored the Whitewater game to a tee,” Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck said. “It was a good game, entertaining. Two good teams played well. There was a lot of good play.”

Big Foot got off to a slow start, as Parker held a 9-2 lead and took a 34-28 advantage into halftime. The Chiefs outscored the Vikings, 27-22 in the second half.

“We looked tight to start the game,” Schoenbeck said. “That set us back. That probably was the difference in the game.”

Parker knocked down eight 3-pointers in the game to three for the Chiefs, which was a bit of a surprise, Schoenbeck said.

“That was better than the scouting report said they would,” he said. “We were doubling down on (Hartwig) inside, and we might have left them more open than we should have.”

Courtney Schoenbeck led Big Foot with 17 points, including two 3-pointers, followed by Reagan Courier with 16 points and Payton Courier with 10. Jena Forrestal added 16 for Parker.

Big Foot made 20-of-24 free-throw attempts in the game.

Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives to be gained for the rest of the season, Schoenbeck said.

“We wanted to win, don’t get me wrong, but that game, on the road in a big environment should help us down the line,” he said. “I was happy with our play overall. The girls worked their butts off, executed together, scored 55 points, which is enough to win the game.”

Big Foot is back in action tonight, Jan. 5, when it hosts Evansville at 7:15 p.m.


Clutch against Whippets

Free throws again took center stage in the Whitewater game, as Courtney Schoenbeck made two with just 1.8 seconds left to break at 52-52 tie and propel the Chiefs to a key RVC victory.

Big Foot made 16-of-18 attempts from the charity stripe in the second half and were 18-for-22 overall.

Whitewater attempted to play for the last shot, but a blocked shot by Schoenbeck went to Big Foot’s Sophie Foster, who passed ahead to Reagan Courier.

After a timeout to set up an inbounds play, the Whippets fouled Schoenbeck, who knocked down the game winners.

“Courtney had an option (before the foul),” Schoenbeck said. “She could have went to Reagan. Probably one more dribble and then she would have decided to go to the hoop or pass it off. It just depended on the defender. We had it set up really nice.”

Reagan Courier led the way with 18 points, followed by Schoenbeck with 11, Payton Courier with 10 and Foster with nine.

With the win, the Chiefs pulled into a second-place tie with Whitewater at 6-2 in the RVC. Both teams trail 8-0 Jefferson.

“This team is getting better,” Schoenbeck said. “We’re maturing. My sophomores are coming in, having their role and being productive. We’re getting deeper as the season goes on.”


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