The Baraboo Thunderbirds girls basketball team would've preferred to let its aggressive style of man-to-man defense carry them to victory.
Early foul trouble argued against that strategy, so Thunderbirds had to settle for a more passive approach - a 2-3 zone.
BHS proved they're proficient enough in that alignment too, and held the visiting DeForest Norskies to just 17 points combined in quarters two and three on the way to a 52-39 Badger North Conference victory.
"We couldn't play the physical kind of game we're used to, so we had to adjust," said BHS coach Dave Crane, whose team switched to a zone early in the second quarter. "We've played a little zone in the past and worked on it a little bit in practice earlier in the week and I thought the way we played it was the key to our success."
Baraboo's (5-3, 2-0 Badger North) defense kept DeForest (7-2, 2-2) off the scoreboard during a pair of key stretches in the game.
The first came in the second quarter when the Norskies' post threat, Sehar Resad, went to the bench with three fouls. Despite Baraboo forward Sam Terry also sitting with two fouls at the time, BHS was able to take a 21-16 lead into the break.
In the third quarter the Thunderbirds picked up where they left off, holding DHS scoreless for nearly four minutes and ripped off a 9-0 run to take a 30-16 advantage.
Baraboo extended its lead to as many as 13 points, and capped the game-changing third period on Meghan Kreilkamp's steal and breakaway bucket at the buzzer.
The visitors closed the deficit to nine points in the fourth as Resad (16 points) began to work into open space, but BHS's Emily Brinker (game-high 19 points) and Terry (15 points) helped maintain the lead with baskets underneath and from the outside. Brinker finished 4-of-8 from the 3-point line.
The win is Baraboo's second in four games, and sends the squad into tonight's conference game at Waunakee (2-4, 1-0) on a high note.
BHS's defensive improvisation against the Norskies could also prove to be well-timed.
"This was a big win for us, and now we have a chance to get a strong foothold on the conference against Waunakee," Crane said. "They have skilled players too, and if we can maybe keep them on the perimeter and challenge their shots, we have a good chance at winning."
BARABOO 52, DEFOREST 39
DeForest 9 7 10 13 -39
Baraboo 6 15 18 13 - 52
Baraboo: Meghan Kreilkamp 3 0-0 6, Emily Brinker 7 1-1 19, Megan Digmann 2 1-1 5, Kelsey Digmann 0 2-4 2, Emily O'Rourke 2 1-1 5, Sam Terry 6 3-5 15. 3-pointers: 4. TOTALS: 20 8-12 52. DeForest: Lauren Hageman 0 2-4 2. Chelseay Harris 1 6-10 8. Taylaor Legried 2 1-2 5, Amy Loose 2 0-0 4, Megan Marquardt 2 0-2 4, Sehar Resad 4 7-9 16. 3-pointers: Resad. TOTALS: 11 16-29 39.
JV score: Baraboo 41, DeForest 39.