Unofficially, Beaver Dam’s prep girls basketball team turned the ball over only three times Friday night against Portage, setting a new program low by one.
That’s far from the only thing that went right.
Maty Wilke had 21 points, five steals and four rebounds to lead a cast of 11 scorers and the Golden Beavers’ played suffocating defense from start to finish, overwhelming the Warriors 87-10 in both teams’ Badger North Conference opener.
The fact that Portage came in winless in three games and every bit a program that’s in the early stages of the building process mattered little to the Golden Beavers.
“Every game, no matter who we play against, we always play Beaver Dam basketball,” Wilke said. “That was our goal tonight and I think we did a pretty good job of that.”
Indeed the Golden Beavers (4-0) did, although it took just a bit for them to shift into overdrive as Portage’s (0-4) defense was able to keep them somewhat in check over the first few minutes of the game.
But when Wilke, who scored all 21 of her points in the game during the first half, connected on a 3-pointer in transition for the first of five 3s for her in the half to make it 14-1 with 10 minutes, 45 seconds to go, it jump started a big surge and Beaver Dam led 55-3 at the break.
Portage was held to just one field goal in the first half and two in the game — both by Katelyn Belleau, who had five of the Warriors’ 10 points.
And a lot of that had to do with Beaver Dam’s relentless full court press, which the Golden Beavers did back out of a little before halftime but still helped them finish with 19 steals.
“Portage came out hard in the first half, played solid defense, and then once we kind of got going — got the rhythm — and got our defense going, it was kind of never-ending from there,” said Wilke, who credited her team’s good defense as the reason the offense got in gear after the modest start.
Beaver Dam couldn’t afford to let off the gas too much Friday, even with such a big lead in the early going, because it had been 10 days since the last time the Golden Beavers played and they have a big game this afternoon vs. Evanston — one of the top teams in Illinois — in the Chicagoland Invitational Showcase at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill.
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“The score is the score — we’re trying to make each possession the best possession (possible),” Beaver Dam coach Tim Chase said. “You don’t want to have to watch tape later and say, ‘Gosh, you didn’t do this on this possession and you didn’t do this (on that possession).’
“Whether you’re winning or losing, giving up points or not giving up points, you still want to do things the right way.”
The big lead did allow Beaver Dam to substitute liberally, which paved the way for all the different scorers — led by Wilke, Natalie Jens (14 points), Avery Stonewall (12), Jada Donaldson (nine), Paige Hodgson (seven) and Leila Ashley (six).
Stonewall also had five rebounds while Donaldson and Paige Yagodinski had three steals apiece.
“A lot of kids stepped up and had some good minutes for us tonight — I thought we were able to keep kids fresh and all our kids had an opportunity to show what they can do,” Chase said.
Being fresh could also help today vs. Evanston.
“We’ve got a really big opportunity to show what kind of team we are,” said Chase, who on Nov. 23 defeated the preseason No. 6 team in Germantown, 65-59. “We’ll learn from it either way — if we’re successful or if we’re not successful — but it’s a chance for us to really show what we can do and how we can play against a big, fast, physical team.”
BEAVER DAM 87, PORTAGE 10</&hspag3>
Portage 3 7 — 10
Beaver Dam 55 32 — 87
PORTAGE — (fgm ftm-fta pts) Katelyn Balleau 2 1-3 5, Hillary Nelson 0 1-2 1, Emma Kreuziger 0 2-4 2, Cameran Ratz 0 2-3 2. Totals: 2 6-19 10.
BEAVER DAM — Natalie Jens 4 4-5 14, Carley Burchardt 2 1-1 5, Kylie Wittnebel 0 2-2 2, Maty Wilke 6 4-5 21, Jada Donaldson 4 0-0 9, Paige Hodgson 3 0-0 7, Anna Streblow 0 2-2 2, Cora Wendt 1 1-2 4, Leila Ashley 3 0-0 6, Avery Stonewall 6 0-0 12, Grace Madeiros 2 0-2 5. Totals: 31 14-19 87.
3-pointers: Port 0, BD 11 (Jens 2, Wilke 5, Donaldson 1, Hodgson 1, Wendt 1, Madeiros 1). Total fouls: Port 13, BD 20. Fouled out: None.
Follow Dan on Twitter @Danny_Larson_8 or contact him at 920-356-6753.