By Kelsie Hoitomt
The Lady Hilltoppers hit the road last Tuesday night to play in Spring Valley and then were at home Friday night to host the Mondovi Buffaloes.
Win on the road
With the 47-38 win against the Cardinals, the Toppers momentarily moved up in rankings in the Dunn-St.Croix Conference to third place where they were tied with Elk Mound who was also 7-3. Since the loss to Mondovi, the Toppers are now 7-4 and ranked fourth in the conference.
The Toppers started the game off with a bang as Kristie Knops and Jen Kopacz each drained three point shots early in the first quarter. This aided in their 15 points scored compared to the Cardinals six.
The Cardinals were able to gain some points in the second quarter as they played their best game and scored 15 points. However, the Toppers stepped up the momentum before the half and put up 19 points, eight of which were from Kelsie Knops who drained the team’s third triple.
With the score at 34-21 going into the third quarter, both teams seemed to be a bit sluggish after the break as they only scored six points each, but the Toppers still managed a lead of 40-27.
The Toppers allowed the Cardinals to score 11 points in the final quarter, which tightened the score gap as they only scored seven points, five of which were free throws.
The final score could have had a different ending due to the fact that there were 50 foul shots taken between the two teams. However, the Cardinals were only successful with six of their 20 free throw attempts and the Toppers were 12 out of 30.
Kristie Knops was the points leader for the team with ten scored from two deuces, one triple and three free throws. Close behind was Morgan Kadinger with nine points from four deuces and a free throw. Kelsie Knops had eight points, Janessa Ullom and Olivia Weidling each had six points and Renita McCluskey and Jen Kopacz each had four points.
Loss at home
The winning streak ended abruptly for the Toppers Friday night after they lost to the number two ranked Mondovi Buffaloes 64-32.
The Toppers were fairly matched up with the Buffaloes in the opening quarter as they only trailed four points with the score at 16-12. Ullom led the team under the net with six points scored right away in the first quarter.
The Toppers seemed to fade away towards the end of the second quarter though as they scored ten points and allowed the Buffaloes 19 points which to put the score at 35-22 going into the break.
Too many turnovers in the second half resulted in the Buffaloes winning the game as they scored a combined 29 points in the final two quarters and the Toppers only had ten.
Kopacz had the team’s only three pointer of the game in the third quarter and baskets by Mackenzie Wink and McCluskey along with a few free throws were the Toppers only points in the second half.
“Mondovi pressed us the whole game and really took away our ability to get into any kind of an offensive flow. They have great team quickness and we were not able to handle their aggressive full court trap. Even though it was a tough loss for us, we need to play against teams like that to expose the areas we need to work on. We will face an Elk Mound team this week which runs a similar type of pressing defense,” said coach Justin Kuehndorf.
The leading shooter for the Toppers was Ullom with eight points. Also scoring was Kadinger with seven points, Kopacz had five, Kelsie Knops had four, Kristie Knops had three, Wink and McCluskey had two and Kayla Bloss had a free throw.
The Toppers will play their next game in Elk Mound on Thursday night and then will be back at home Friday night to play against Frederic starting at 6:00 p.m.