ELROY — After being locked in a tight battle during the first half of its game with Royall, Mauston turned to its star player to secure a season-opening win.
Senior forward Skyylar Brescia led all scorers with 26 points, as the Golden Eagles powered past the Panthers 57-48 in both teams’ season opener Tuesday, Nov. 21 at Royall High School. After missing several shots in the early going, Brescia settled in on her way to a big night.
“I think she was a little frustrated in the first half,” said Mauston head coach Lori Hammer. “The first five to seven minutes, she was taking some shots and they just weren’t going in. As the game went on, she got a couple to drop. Once she gets rolling, she’s going to be alright. We just had to get through those first-game jitters. She had a really nice game and we’re hoping she has a lot more really nice games for us.”
Senior forward Reghan Wohlrab added 10 points, senior forward Kelsey Georgeson had seven and junior forward Lauren Franek chipped in six as well for Mauston. The Panthers had three players finish the night with double-digit scoring: senior forwards Emily Olson and McKenzie Baeseman scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, and freshman guard Emma Gruen added 10.
Royall jumped out to an early five-point lead as the game started out at a breakneck pace. Once things settled down following the frenetic start, the two teams locked into a back-and-forth battle, which featured several lead changes, and the Golden Eagles took a 28-25 lead into the half.
“It was a little rough, a little haphazard,” Hammer said of the game’s start. “I think for both teams it started out like a track meet. Both teams were just flying up and down the floor … definitely first-game adrenaline.”
After halftime, Mauston kept the Panthers at bay as Brescia and the frontcourt were able to more consistently impose their will on the offensive end. Though the Golden Eagles never trailed in the second half, Royall refused to go away quietly and did not allow the Mauston lead to extend to double digits.
The Panthers whittled down the deficit to three at one point, but missed opportunities late in the game doomed their hopes of a comeback.
With Royall trailing by five in the game’s closing minutes, Mauston turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions. However, the Panthers failed to capitalize with points on either of their ensuing offensive possessions, and the Golden Eagles held on for the win.
“They were excellent,” Hammer said of Royall’s performance. “We had a little bit of trouble with the press break. We’ve worked on it, but you can never really emulate that in practice. So their press gave us a little bit of trouble. (Royall head coach Andrew Dahlen) has got a lot of young kids and they work really hard. They’re just relentless; they’re not going to give you anything easy. So that was a fun game.”
Mauston returns to action Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. against Necedah in the Golden Eagles’ home opener. Royall will host New Lisbon Monday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in its conference opener.
Necedah Cardinals 58, Weston Silver Eagles 30
The Cardinals opened up their season at home Tuesday, Nov. 14 with a dominating 28-point win over Weston, which included a 42-17 lead at halftime. Senior guard Lindsay Murphy led the way with 15 points, three assists and two steals. Sophomore Kylee Moore had 11 points and sophomore Miah Hansen added 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals for Necedah.
Alma Center Lincoln Hornets 51, New Lisbon Rockets 36
Despite an early lead, New Lisbon could not hold on for a non-conference road win to start its season Tuesday, Nov. 21. The Rockets held a 21-16 lead at halftime, only to see the Hornets outscore them 35-15 in the second half. Alma Center Lincoln senior guard Cassidy Huber led all scorers with 20 points and junior guard Paige Sheffer added 10 for the Hornets. Junior guard/forward Callie Bever and sophomore guard Mya Delgado each scored 10 points apiece for New Lisbon.