The Baraboo prep girls basketball team laced their shoes up at Fiserv Forum on Monday afternoon.
The Thunderbirds walked away from the Milwaukee Bucks’ home arena with a 40-17 non-conference loss to Menomonee Falls.
“They just outscored us,” Baraboo head coach Michael Behl said after the loss. “They were more efficient offensively. We struggled to score all night long.
“We’ll grow from this. We’ll get better and our kids understand the process. That’s what it’s all about.”
Taylor Pfaff was the only player that got anything going for the T-Birds. The freshman guard made one 3-pointer, a pair of layups and seven free throws to score 14 points, including all seven of Baraboo’s second-half points.
“She’s getting more comfortable at this level,” Behl said of Pfaff. “She’s unselfish in a lot of ways and she’s looking for teammates, which is good. ... She’s getting to the point where she can create for herself in order to open opportunities to her teammates. She played well on both ends of the floor.”
The T-Birds (0-3) were down 7-2 before Pfaff got on the board with a layup four minutes, 17 seconds into the game. She added a step-back 3-pointer, while Claire Bildsten also made a 3-pointer that pulled Baraboo within 13-8 with 6:33 remaining in the half.
Menomonee Falls (2-1) responded with seven straight points before Pfaff hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 20-10 with 1:49 to go. Baraboo went into the locker room with a 22-10 halftime deficit.
The T-Birds stayed within striking range early in the second half, as Pfaff made four free throws to cut the deficit to 24-14 with 13:12 to go.
Baraboo’s first field goal of the second half came after 13:06 of play. Pfaff grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup that pulled the T-Birds within 36-17 before Menomonee Falls closed it out.
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Baraboo, which is averaging 23.0 points per game this season, was held below 20 points for the first time since suffering a 66-18 home loss to Beaver Dam on Nov. 20, 2018. The T-Birds finished with four made field goals and shot 7 of 12 from the free-throw line against a Menomonee Falls team that’s holding opponents to 30 points per game.
Offensively, the Indians made 15 field goals and shot 9 of 14 from the free-throw line thanks to a balanced effort that saw Catherine Kroeninger and Miranda Olson each score eight points.
“I thought we played OK defensively,” Behl said. “It was another team with more height... something we’re going to face all season. We were out-rebounded... but our group gave a great effort on the defensive end.”
Despite the loss, it was a good experience for the T-Birds, who stayed in Milwaukee for Monday night’s Bucks’ game against the New York Knicks.
“They loved it,” Behl said of playing at Fiserv Forum. “I’m glad I got to get everybody in the game. They were amazed to see what it’s like to be on that floor. It was kind of a look at what NBA basketball is all about. It was eye-opening. ... It’ll be a late night and an early morning for them, but it’s worth it.
The T-Birds have some time to rest, as they’ll be off until Friday’s Badger North Conference opener against DeForest in Baraboo. The T-Birds were swept by the Norskies last season, suffering a 65-26 home loss on Jan. 4 and a 43-35 loss at DeForest on Feb. 14.
Baraboo 10 7 — 17
Menomonee 22 18 — 40
BARABOO (fg ft-fta pts) — Pfaff 3 7-9 14, Bildsten 1 0-0 3, Strampe 0 0-1 0, Janssen 0 0-2 0. Totals 4 7-12 17.
MENOMONEE FALLS — Carver 2 2-2 6, Rechlicz 2 1-2 6, Kroeninger 4 0-0 8, Parker-Fox 0 0-2 0, Olson 4 0-0 8, Maduka 1 2-2 4, Booher 1 2-3 4, Rude 1 2-2 4, Warner 0 0-1 0. Totals 15 9-14 40.
3-point goals — B 2 (Pfaff, Bildsten), MF 1 (Rechlicz). Fouls — B 14, MF 14.