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Verona handles Monroe
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MONROE - An experienced Verona girls basketball team proved to be too much for the Cheese-makers Thursday in Monroe.

The Wildcats (1-0) were led by junior forward Grace Mueller, who scored 18 points in Verona's 54-25 win. The Cheesemakers (0-2) were outscored 13-0 in the first quarter thanks to the play of Mueller and sophomore Alex Luehring, who scored nine points in the game.

"They (Verona) have three kids who are 6-1 or taller, and they play a zone, so we knew coming in that it was going to be a challenge with the scoring," Monroe coach Sam Mathiason said. "So they did a real good job with the zone in the first quarter, and in the first half in general.

"Mueller did a nice job inside, had some real nice post moves. She and Luehring did a nice job and were the leaders out there for them."

The Cheesemakers fell behind 29-8 after the first two quarters, but came out strong in the second half, led by junior Brooke Adams and senior Alacia Keegan, who each scored six points in the game. The Cheesemakers were outscored by only eight points in the second half, scoring 10 in the third period and seven in the fourth.

Sophomore Lexi Hilliard, who scored a game-high 18 points in her varsity debut Tuesday against Beloit Memorial, managed just two points Thursday against the Wildcats' zone defense.

Mathiason said the Cheesemakers knew coming into the game that Verona posed an enormous challenge. Despite their struggles against a quality opponent, Mathiason said Thursday's game provides a vital learning tool for his team going forward.

"They're (Verona) picked to finish in the top three of the Big 8 (Conference), so they're one of the best," he said. "They're picked to do very well, and we knew it was going to be a very tough game.

"Even though we were down big at half, we came out and played hard in the second half. So the big thing is, can we be better when we play at Brodhead? What can we do to be better prepared? How can we learn from this and be better the next time we take the court?"

Mathiason said the team will watch film of the game Friday and learn "some things you can't always see as well when you're playing."

"It's really just about different teams who play different defenses - (to learn) what the passing angles are and how we get there. At this stage of the season, there's so much you want to do. That's part of the struggles early in the season - trying to get in all the things you need to get in, but you haven't mastered them yet. We want to keep showing those different levels of growth.

"I think that any time you go out on the floor, you have to find ways to improve."

Monroe will next play in Brodhead for a game at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 29.

Juda 52,

Abundant Life 23

JUDA - Fourteen points from sophomore Chelsea Burkhalter helped the Juda girls basketball team top Abundant Life 52-23 Thursday in Juda.

Juda brought its record to 1-1 on the season in the win.

"We got some defensive pressure (Thursday) and were able to get in transition," Juda coach Curt Brown said. "Then we put things together, finally, on offense, in the second half."

Senior Cheyenne Ambler and sophomore Sara Jordan paced the Panthers with 10 and seven points, respectively.

The Panthers will host Faith Christian on Tuesday.

Highland 53,

Argyle 35

ARGYLE - The Argyle girls basketball team hung with Highland for three and a half quarters Thursday before a late scoring burst by the Cardinals put the game away, 53-35.

The Orioles, who trailed 25-18 at the half, cut the Cardinals' lead to 38-34 in the fourth quarter behind strong play from seniors Jenna Langmeier and Josie Thoman. Langmeier and Thoman each led the Orioles in scoring with 10 points before the Cardinals used a 15-1 run to end the game.

"They (Highland) just had height on the inside, and then in the fourth quarter they really went to their center Brenna Bomkamp," Argyle coach Kurt Ritschard said.

Highland's Bomkamp scored nine of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter.

"She's 5-11 and our tallest girl is 5-7, and she hurt her ankle," Ritschard said. "And our next tallest girl is 5-4."

Ritschard said Argyle will have plenty to build on from its game against Highland.

"I thought on defense we had good energy and good ball pressure, something we've been emphasizing," he said. "But maybe we spent too much time on that, because our passing wasn't very good tonight. We had a lot of turnovers that were really unforced.

"We made a nice run there in the third and fourth quarter to cut it to within four, and then they went inside and we didn't really have an answer for it."

The Orioles will look to rebound from the loss when they host Darlington at 7:30 p.m. Monday.