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Lewis' double-double sparks Cardinals to big RVC victory
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Brodhead freshman Mariah Ahrens looks to put up a shot over a Clinton defender Friday night.
BRODHEAD - Dana Lewis understands that the Brodhead girls basketball team can't get caught scoreboard watching or overlooking any opponent with the goal of winning a Rock Valley Conference championship still within reach.

Lewis, a senior post player, had a double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds) to propel the Cardinals to a 59-31 thrashing of Clinton Friday night.

"If we would have lost this game, the game against Parkview would mean nothing," Lewis said. "We have to take it one game at a time."

Lewis, a Maryland-Baltimore County recruit, scored five of the Cardinals' first seven points. Brodhead (8-6, 7-2 Rock Valley) used a stifling press to set the tone and spark a 13-1 first-quarter run.

"Our game plan was to pressure their guards and make it difficult for them to get the ball down the floor," Brodhead coach Brad Pickett said. "They obviously have two good post players in (Olivia) Nickel and (Maggie) Schultz. If you let them get the ball down the floor and pound it into the post, they are tough to stop. I thought the pressure carried over into us getting off to a fast start."

It wasn't all Lewis doing the damage. Brodhead senior Amanda Johnson scored seven of her 11 points in the first quarter and was one of three players in double figures joining freshman Taylor Douglas, who had 12. After the Cardinals forced a Cougars' turnover with the press, Johnson drove in for a layup and was fouled. She converted the traditional three-point play at the foul line to give the Cardinals a 16-5 lead with 2 minutes, 17 seconds to go in the period. Douglas converted another steal into a layup and freshman Amanda Pickel hit a jumper to give the Cardinals a 22-5 lead late in the first quarter.

"Obviously, going into every game, teams want to stop Dana," Pickett said. "Everyone on the team knows it's not about one person. All of them contribute in games and practice."

The Cardinals continued to roll in the second quarter by sticking to the defensive pressure. Johnson scored on another layup to give the Cardinals a 29-9 lead with 5:55 left in the period. Senior Megan Heller, who scored nine points, made a layup in transition and Lewis scored to give the Cardinals an insurmountable 35-12 lead.

"We knew we could pressure their guards," Lewis said. "Our guards are really quick. That is one of the strengths of our team."

Brodhead has won four of its last five games and hosts Whitewater Monday. The Cardinals then play at Parkview Thursday. However, Pickett is not looking too far ahead.

"We are just going to have to take care of ourselves," he said. "If we take care of ourselves, we will be just fine."