PORTAGE - It was an off shooting night for Baraboo, but thanks to 38 Portage turnovers, the Thunderbirds were able to win going away, improving to 8-1 in the Northern Badger Conference with a 54-32 victory over the Warriors on Saturday night at Portage High School. Baraboo shot just 30 percent on the night, but thanks to the bundle of turnovers it forced, it got plenty of possessions, and extra opportunities to pull away. Baraboo finished 20 for 67 from the field, while Portage had just 34 shots in the contest. Twenty-three of Portage's 38 turnovers came in the second half.
"One thing we wanted to do tonight too, we thought we could play transition basketball, and get out and run on them, and I thought we were able to do that off their turnovers," said Baraboo head coach Dave Crane.
Portage kept it close early, and trailed by just 3 points after one quarter of play. But the T-Birds took control of the contest in the second quarter, going on a 17-4 run. The spurt was capped with a rare 4-point play from Emily Brinker, who was fouled by Portage's Heidi Hemming on a successful 3-pointer, and then made the following free throw to give Baraboo a 27-11 lead.
Portage was out of sync most of the night, which was never more evident then in the third quarter, when on two different occasions, Portage had players take shots at the wrong basket.
Portage head coach Brian Conner said 10 of his 12 girls were "up since at least 4:30 in the morning," because of another school function, which may have been a factor for the team's lackadaisical performance.
"I said, ‘I know mentally you weren't in the game because I had two girls shoot at the wrong basket.' That tells me exactly what's happening," Conner said. "They played better than what we did and we just didn't do anything.
"It was a very frustrating game. They're a good team, but they're not 20 points better than we are."
Portage (7-9 overall, 3-6 in conference) was led by sophomore Teagan Olson, who finished with 10 points.
Baraboo (11-4, 8-1) sophomore Samantha Terry scored eight of her game-high 12 points in the first quarter, while teammates Meghan Kreilkamp and Brinker had 10 each.
Baraboo was playing without senior standout Emily O'Rourke for the fourth straight game because of a knee injury. Crane said he hopes O'Rourke will be able to return next week and be able to play when the T-Birds take on Madison Edgewood on Friday night.
"That's huge, because we were just really working on our high-low offense, and about that time she got hurt," Crane said. "We had to change some things that we do defensively too without her in the ball game. She's a real solid player, plus she's a big body in there. We run out a lot when she cleans the glass for us too. We kind of miss that a bit."
BARABOO 54, PORTAGE 32
Baraboo 10 19 12 13 - 54
Portage 7 7 9 9 - 32
BARABOO - Meghan Kreilkamp 10, Olivia Schoenoff 3, Katie Wilke 2, Emily Brinker 10, Megan Digmann 7, Kelsey Digmann 9, Megan McVenes 1, Samantha Terry 12. Totals 20 10-19 54.
PORTAGE - Heidi Hemming 5, Teagan Olson 10, Caley McFarlane 2, Jessica Mueller 3, Mackenzie Kapel 6, Hannah Considine 3, Kylee Rothenburger 3. Totals 12 6-14 32.
3-point goals - B 4 (Meghan Kreilkamp 1, Olivia Schoenoff 1, Emily Brinker 1, Kelsey Digmann 1), P 2 (Teagan Olson 2). Total fouls - B 14, P 19.