WISCONSIN DELLS — A lack of execution was too much for the Baraboo girls basketball team to overcome Tuesday night.
Offensively slip-ups led to a pair of critical runs that caged the Thunderbirds en route to a 52-39 loss to Wisconsin Dells in a non-conference game at Wisconsin Dells High School. Senior Haley Hannagan scored a team-high 14 points while senior Lia Kieck added 12 as the T-Birds losing streak reached six games.
“They executed better than we did,” Baraboo coach Mike Behl said. “We turned it over too much, especially during the key stretches, and there were a number of possessions when we didn’t get a shot up.”
The second of those stretches came as time was winding down in the second half. After falling behind 38-27, Baraboo (1-11) cut its deficit to 38-30 on a 3-point play by senior Abby Moon with 9 minutes, 30 seconds to play.
The T-Birds went cold from there however, as a 3-minute scoreless stretch allowed Wisconsin Dells to take a 44-30 lead. Chiefs senior Katelyn Meister scored all six of the points during the spurt, including a layup off a steal and a midrange jumper that followed a pair of missed free throws by Kieck.
A layup from Hannagan cut ended the run and cut the lead back to 44-32 with 6:30 to go but the T-Birds failed to build off the momentum. After a back-and-forth stretch, Baraboo had four straight empty possessions, including a pair of missed layups, until senior Alexis Johnson got a hook shot to fall with 2:17 remaining to pull Baraboo within 44-34.
Baraboo was unable to get the deficit back down to single digits as Wisconsin Dells senior Bethany Smith and Hannagan traded free throws to make it 46-36 with 1:22 left before the Chiefs iced things away from the line.
“When we did turn it over they often times ran out and those transition baskets and points are really hard to defend against,” Behl said. “We missed some shots with long rebounds so they transitioned well on that and they executed there.”
The first of the two runs came at the end of the first half as the Chiefs carried momentum into the break. After trading punches, Baraboo started to pull away in the first half as it built a 21-16 lead. A steal and hook shot by Johnson was followed by a right-wing 3-pointer from Kieck.
Meister answered with a 3-pointer of her own before Hannagan hit a pair of free throws to give Baraboo a five-point cushion with 7:06 left in the opening half. The T-Birds failed to build off the momentum as Wisconsin Dells (10-1) closed the half on a 12-0 run, including a pair of buckets off of turnovers, to take a 28-21 lead into the intermission.
Along with the transition buckets, Behl credited the Chiefs ability to rebound on offense that hurt the T-Birds.
“I would have liked to get a few more rebounds on those defensive possessions, but we had to defend again and defend again, and about every time they got an offensive rebound they got points off of it,” he said.
Despite the struggles on the defensive glass, Behl was pleased with the team’s defensive effort, especially making Meister work hard for her game-high 22 points. Behl said that that effort has been there the entire year from his team, and looking toward the homestretch; it’s just going to be a matter of execution.
“We got to knock down open looks when we get them, stop turning the basketball over so much and certainly end possessions with rebounds,” he said. “We just have to execute, and if we do that we’ll stay in games; if we don’t, we won’t.”
WISCONSIN DELLS 52, BARABOO 39
Baraboo 21 18 — 39
Wisconsin Dells 28 24 — 52
BARABOO — Kieck 5 1-5 12, A. Moon 1 1-1 3, Hannagan 4 6-6 14, Horstman 1 0-0 2, Johnson 3 1-3 8. Totals 14 9-15 39.
WISCONSIN DELLS — Pfeifer 3 2-2 8, Meister 9 3-4 22, Gray 2 0-1 5, Smith 3 5-6 12, G. Myklebust 2 1-4 5. Totals 19 11-17 52.
3-point goals — BAR 2 (Kieck 1, Johnson 1), WD 3 (Meister 1, Gray 1, Smith 1). Total fouls — BAR 14, WD 15.