Shawano’s defense clamps down to snag road win against Xavier

Hawks improve to 2-0 in Bay Conference play
By: 

Greg Bates Leader correspondent

Tuesday’s Shawano Community High School girls basketball win might have been the result of a chemistry lesson.

Last Saturday, coach Ryan Koenig planned a trip for his players.

The team attended the Green Bay-Belmont men’s basketball game and then ate at Olive Garden. The outing was meant to bring players and coaches together to bond in a social atmosphere off the court.

It’s Koenig’s thought process that the better the players know one another off the court, they will create chemistry and click on the court.

If Tuesday night’s performance by Shawano was any indication, the Hawks players have a tight bond that will be key in helping them achieve their goals this season. Shawano had a slow start against host Xavier but then erupted for a 26-10 first-half run which helped Shawano cruise to a 54-31 victory in Bay Conference action.

“We’re all starting to mesh and we trust each other on the court,” Shawano sophomore Lydia Beyer said. “It pays off.”

Shawano (3-2, 2-0 Bay Conference) played a complete game. The defense was ready from the outset, allowing Xavier to hit just nine made field goals — and only one during a 12-minute span to start the second half. The offense had nine girls get in the scoring column and built a lead by as many as 29 points, winning going away.

Shawano’s defense was a major key to the victory. Relentless pressure created numerous turnovers that transitioned into easy baskets for Shawano.

“Easy baskets in this conference are tough to come by,” Koenig said. “It’s a tough conference and Xavier’s a tough team. Getting out was part of our game plan and getting easy buckets. Crashing the boards and they executed really well.”

“We definitely rotated as a team,” said Shawano senior Tori DePerry. “We always want to make sure no one gets a shot up. We always have to close out quick.”

Offensively, Shawano got production from some unlikely areas. Beyer came in averaging just 2.5 points per game but came off the bench to score nine first-half points to help Shawano build the insurmountable lead.

“I just wanted to play hard and not let my teammates down,” Beyer said. “Make stuff happen to get everybody fired up.”

Koenig has really liked the Beyer’s play thus far this season.

“Lydia has played really well for us as a back-up point guard to Kennedy (Klemens),” Koenig said. “Last year here there were some things that happened and she was very motivated to come out and play hard tonight. That first half kind of told everybody that was here that we knew she was ready to play tonight because that’s how she can play.”

Shawano got off to a slow start as it was up 7-6 just 5:20 into the game. But that’s when things changed. Shawano’s pressure defense clamped down and forced a number of Xavier turnovers. The result was scoring 26 of the game’s next 36 points to give Shawano a 33-16 lead at halftime.

During that game-changing run, Koenig saw his team throwing much crisper passes than at the outset.

“Breaking the press, going hard, but under control,” Koenig said. “In the second half, we were going hard, but we weren’t under control and we had some turnovers.”

Shawano got plenty of open looks at the basket, which created easily opportunities inside the paint.

“I liked our passing on the interior,” Koenig said. “We were getting it inside and then when we were doubled, we were passing it. Tori must have had six, seven, eight assists tonight, too.”

DePerry, who scored a game-high 14 points, made a basket early in the second half to give Shawano a 39-18 advantage. Xavier (2-3, 1-1 Bay) hit its first shot of the half, but then went ice cold, not getting its second field goal until there were six minutes left in the game.

Shawano will now take its undefeated conference record and host Green Bay West on Friday.

Shawano (54)

Lydia Beyer 1-1 9, Kennedy Klemens 0-0 2, Jewel Waupekenay 0-0 2, Rachel Reed 0-0 8, Tori DePerry 6-8 14, Kayla Ward 0-0 6, Brianna Mott 0-0 4, Taylor Johnson 0-2 0, Gracyn Habeck 3-4 5, Avery Dreier 0-2 4.

Xavier (31)

Izzy Ballard 1-2 1, Elise Colombo 0-0 3, Becca Feldkamp 3-6 3, Emma Vosters 0-2 0, Delaney Feldkamp 1-4 8, Katie Bettag 0-0 3, Hannah Lauer 3-4 5, Alli Engels 0-0 3, Bel Bovee 1-3 5.

Shawano 33 21 — 54

Xavier 16 15 — 31