By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
No. 1 Beaver Dam routs No. 2 Monroe
Monroe junior Emily Benzschawel shoots a jumper over Beaver Dams Jada Donaldson (13) and Natalie Jens (1) in the first half of the Beavers 69-40 win over the Cheesemakers in the Badger Challenge Saturday at Stoughton High School. Benzschawel scored a game-high 21 points. (Duke Goetz Imagery)
STOUGHTON - The showdown between the state's top two ranked Division 2 teams was all Beaver Dam as the Golden Beavers rolled to a 69-40 win over the Cheesemakers in the first-ever girls basketball Badger Challenge Saturday.

Beaver Dam (11-2), ranked No. 1 in the Division 2 Coaches Poll, jumped on Monroe with a 25-8 run to start the game. Beaver Dam freshman Maty Wilke, a University of Wisconsin and Marquette recruit, drilled a 3-pointer and senior Maryn Ferron and junior Tara Stauffacher each hit 3s during the surge. Stauffacher scored a team-high 20 points.

"It's a great game to be able to challenge ourselves," Monroe coach Sam Mathiason said of the Badger Challenge. "You have an opportunity to use this as a measuring stick to see where we are at. We just have to learn and grow from it. We can't let it define our season."

Monroe junior Emily Benzschawel scored a game-high 21 points and made eight of 11 shots. The Cheesemakers (13-2), ranked No. 2, struggled shooting as a team, finishing at 33.3 percent (13 of 39).

"We were not as sharp as we needed to be on the offensive end," Mathiason said. "We were just a step slow to find those openings. They just do a really good job on defense with their pressure and they don't give you any space to catch or shoot it. We have to be sharper to find the seams."

The Cheesemakers cut the Beavers' lead to 12 points a couple times in the first half, but that's as close as they would get. Beaver Dam has beaten the Cheesemakers four times the past three years, all by double digits, including a 62-47 loss in the WIAA Division 2 state semifinals last year in Green Bay. Beaver Dam is unbeaten in games against teams from Wisconsin this year. The only losses for the Beavers are 60-51 to Maine West, Illinois, and 74-71 in overtime to Hopkins, Minnesota.

"They are physical, fast with height, and they can shoot," Benzschawel said. "They are an all-around good team. They just came out with more energy. They got up on us and were able to keep the lead. We will have to go back, watch the film and see what we can improve on."

Monroe junior Sydney Hilliard, a University of Wisconsin, UW-Green Bay, Marquette and UW-Milwaukee recruit, scored 12 points. Wilke and Ferron each chipped in 9 points for the Beavers.

"Monroe is an unbelievable team," Beaver Dam coach Tim Chase said. "They have three double digit scorers and I have been watching them this year and I'm impressed."

The Beavers used a full-court press, man-to-man defense and a 1-3-1 against the Cheesemakers.

"We try to mix it up and see what works," Chase said. "A lot of it depends on the lineup we have out there and their lineup. They are a very tough team to defend."

Chase didn't want to compare this year's team to last year's Beaver Dam team that went unbeaten and won the WIAA Division 2 state championship.

"We are a different team and we are still finding out what we do best," he said. "We are still the same style of team, but we are trying to take advantage of the talents of our players."