WESTFIELD — Stopping talented Adams-Friendship sophomore Emma Roenneburg was the key if the Westfield girls basketball team had hopes of knocking off the lady Green Devils, and the Pioneers were successful in doing that for much of the night.
But when Adams-Friendship really needed Roenneburg to come through, the 6-foot forward did just that. Roenneburg beat the Westfield defense to drive down the center of the lane and score the game-wining layup with 7 seconds remaining, lifting the Green Devils to a 39-38 victory over the Pioneers in a battle for first place in the South Central Conference on Thursday night.
The Pioneers did a great job of denying Roenneburg the ball for most of the contest, and when she did get the ball in her hands, a double team was waiting. She had just four points in the opening half with just one field goal, before heating up in the third quarter, and then scoring the game’s final bucket to finish with a game-high 16 points.
Westfield had broke a 37-all tie with 16 seconds to go when junior Paige Peschel, who led the Pioneers with 14 points, hit one of two free throws. Then during the ensuing timeout, Adams-Friendship head coach Loren Ebert drew up a play that got the ball in his best player’s hands.
“We kind of wanted to run a little clear out for (Roenneburg) to give her a little space to work, because if we get her in the block, it’s too easy to double and triple her,” Ebert said. “And she can handle the ball pretty good, so we felt that was our best chance.”
The move worked. With Westfield’s defenders spaced out on the floor, help couldn’t come soon enough when Roenneburg got past her defender.
“We had been stopping (Roenneburg) so well, but she got by Ashley so quick that our help wasn’t there,” Westfield head coach John Bradley said.
Westfield still had a great opportunity to win the game at the final buzzer.
Because Adams-Friendship had fouls to give before Westfield would be in the bonus, it fouled the Pioneers with time running down. After the foul, Westfield was inbounding on the sideline, just a few feet inside of the half court stripe with 1.1 seconds left. On the inbounds play, freshman Alysan Stauffacher, who finished with 12 points, was wide open for a 12-foot baseline jumper, but her shot was just off the mark as the final buzzer sounded.
“We had a pretty good look at the end,” Bradley said. “She was wide open. She hits that about 50 (percent of the time).”
Westfield led almost the entire game, but never by more than six points. The Green Devils took their first lead of the game when Roenneburg drained a 3-pointer to give her team a 28-27 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter featured four lead changes. After Adams-Friendship freshman Azure Hodkiewicz scored to give the Devils a 37-33 lead with 4 minutes to go, the Pioneers answered with a 5-0 run, including a driving layup by Peschel with 1:07 left to tie the game at 37.
After Westfield got a big defense stop, Peschel was fouled on the other end, which led to her free throw that briefly gave the Pioneers the lead. At least until Roenneburg answered with the biggest bucket of the night.
“They took away a lot of the good things we like to do and we tried to take (Roenneburg) down,” Bradley said. “And she got the big one when they needed it.”
Both teams entered the game at 4-0 in the SCC. Now the Pioneers trail the Devils by a game with five league games to play for both teams.
“Now we’re playing to stay in the race. They got to play the Dells twice. They got to play Nekoosa and us,” Bradley said. “Any of those games they could drop the ball and we would all be tied.”
Ebert was just happy to be leaving with the win.
“This was a real big win for us. I had this one circled on the calendar a long time ago,” Ebert said. “This is a hard place to play. They hold court here pretty good.”
ADAMS-FRIENDSHIP 39, WESTFIELD 38
Adams-Friendship ........... 8 7 13 11 — 39
Westfield .......................10 6 11 11 — 38
ADAMS-FRIENDSHIP — Farrell 4, Hodkiewicz 6, Roenneburg 16, Zant 4, Landon 9. Totals 14 8-10 39.
WESTFIELD — McCartney 2, Daye 2, Peschel 14, Stauffacher 12, Montney 8. Totals 15 6-10 38.
3-point goals — AF 3 (Farrell 1, Roenneburg 1, Landon 1), W 2 (Stauffacher 2). Total fouls — AF 10, W 12.