PRAIRIE DU SAC — Once the Beaver Dam girls basketball team gets going, there aren’t many teams in the area that can keep up.
That was the case on Saturday, as the Golden Beavers opened up a 41-11 halftime lead and cruised to a 73-29 Badger North Conference win on the road against Sauk Prairie.
With the exception of a 60-51 loss at Maine West (Ill.) on Dec. 2, the formula has remained the same for the defending WIAA Division 2 state champions. Beaver Dam (5-1, 4-0 Badger North) has played five games in Wisconsin and have won all five by at least 39 points. The Beavers are scoring 83.2 points per game in their five wins, winning by an average margin of 50.4 points per game.
“People have tried different things, but we feel like we’ll be able to adjust no matter what people throw at us,” Beaver Dam head coach Tim Chase said. “Man, zone, whatever, we’ve got to find ways to get it done.”
Beaver Dam figured it out early on Saturday, jumping out to a 20-4 lead when Jada Donaldson hit a 3-pointer with 11 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
Sauk Prairie (4-4, 1-3) made a little run to pull within 22-9 before the Beavers put the game away with a 19-2 run to close the first half. Paige Schumann capped the run with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the right corner that gave Beaver Dam a 41-11 halftime lead.
The Beavers worked the high-low game early in the second half, as Aly Van Loo assisted Tara Stauffacher for a pair of baskets inside.
“We look for our matchups, wherever our matchups are,” Chase said. “If we’ve got our matchups to do that, we’ll certainly focus on that. Other nights, we’ll focus on other things, but that was a focus for us in this game, definitely.”
The Beavers eventually opened up a 40-point lead and the teams played the last 10:45 with a running clock.
Beaver Dam made eight 3-pointers on the day, while Sauk Prairie made just one trey and shot 8-of-22 from the free throw line.
The Beavers were balanced offensively, led by a 14-point effort from Maryn Ferron. Stauffacher chipped in 12 points, while Afton Bartol added nine points, and Van Loo and Schumann scored eight apiece.
“We’re a very deep team. We’ve got a lot of kids that can play,” Chase said. “They understand the situation that we’re in and they just want to do well. They’re happy for everybody when somebody comes in the game and does well. The kids know that when they get their chances, they’ve just got to make the best of their opportunities.”
Riley Breunig paced Sauk Prairie with nine points, while Naomi Breunig added eight and Taylor Breininger finished with five.
“Sauk’s got a good program coming on,” Chase said. “They’re doing a really good job with their kids right now. They’re playing hard and they really move the ball well. It was a good challenge today for us to try to get out and defend their players.”
The Badger North race will get a bit clearer on Friday when league newcomer Beaver Dam visits defending conference champion Waunakee (6-0, 4-0), which beat Portage 71-42 win on Saturday. The Beavers and Warriors are currently tied with Reedsburg (6-1, 4-0) atop the Badger North.
Chase believes that Beaver Dam still has improvements to make.
“I’ve seen them all at their best,” he said. “I’d like to see kids get their games going a little bit more actually, because I know they can play at a whole ’nother level still.”
BEAVER DAM 73, SAUK PRAIRIE 29
Beaver Dam 41 32 — 73
Sauk Prairie 11 18 — 29
BEAVER DAM — Burchardt 1 3-3 5, Donaldson 3 1-1 7, Ferron 5 2-4 14, Schumann 2 2-2 8, Hodgson 2 0-0 4, Miller 1 0-0 2, Bartol 4 1-3 9, Wilke 1 1-2 4, Stauffacher 5 0-0 12, Van Loo 4 0-0 8. Totals 28 9-17 73.
SAUK PRAIRIE — Schneider 1 0-2 2, Mack 0 1-4 1, N. Breunig 3 1-4 8, Breininger 2 1-1 5, R. Breunig 3 3-6 9, O. Breunig 0 1-2 1, Schad 0 1-2 1, K. Breunig 1 0-0 2. Totals 10 8-22 29.
3-point goals — BD 8 (Donaldson 1, Ferron 2, Schumann 2, Wilke 1, Stauffacher 2), SP 1 (N. Breunig 1). Total fouls — BD 19, SP 19.