WHITEWATER — The Whitewater girls basketball went into halftime with the momentum, and they made sure to bring it back out in the second half.
The Whippets overcame a 19-6 deficit as Whitewater defeated Jefferson, 55-45, in a Rock Valley Conference game Thursday night in Whitewater.
Jefferson (4-5, 3-5) led 19-6 with 6 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first half after a two-point bucket from junior Josie Peterson. But, Whitewater (5-5, 5-3) ended the half on a 13-2 run and trailed by just two at the break (21-19).
“The biggest change we made was being a little bit more aggressive on rebounding,” Whitewater head coach Kristen Lippens said. “We were also a little bit more aggressive gong after the ball. I think we just picked up the aggressiveness.”
That aggressiveness may have played a part in the Eagles’ foul trouble. Jefferson had double digit fouls each half and 25 for the game.
“We had a lot of fouls, but you just got to fight through that,” Jefferson head coach Mark Peterson said. “I was happy to be up by two at halftime, battling on the road.”
The Whippets took their first lead since 6-5 when senior Alyssa Schumacher made a 3-pointer less than a minute into the second half to go up 23-20. There was a little bump in the Whippets’ roll when the Eagles clawed back from a 29-23 deficit to take a 31-30 lead with 11:20 to play, but the Whippets gained back the lead with a two-pointer from senior Brianna Zimdars and didn’t trailed the rest of the game.
From the 11:20 mark to the end of the game, Whitewater outscored Jefferson, 25-14.
Junior Kacie Carollo iced the game for the Whippets down the stretch, scoring eight of Whitewater’s final 10 points.
All the points came from the free throw line, going a perfect 8-8 from the line the final 5:02 of the game. Carollo finished with a game-high 21 points.
“I thought free throws were the difference in the game,” Peterson said. “They got to the line numerous times.”
Whitewater finished the game an efficient 18-23 from the free throw line, good for 78 percent.
The Whippets also had major contributions from Schumacher, who scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers.
“It was really nice for her to shoot the way I know she can shoot, she’s a great shooter,” Lippens said. “For whatever reason she tends not to like to shoot if she misses. But once she makes one she’s on a run and she’s confident.
Junior Ainsley Howard scored a team-high 18 points for the Eagles. She connected on five shots from beyond the arc.
“She battles, she’s a little bulldog,” Peterson said.
Whitewater will take on Clinton in a Rock Valley road game Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. Jefferson will host East Troy in a conference game Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
WHITEWATER 55, JEFFERSON 45
Eagles 21 24 — 45
Whippets 19 36 — 55
Jefferson (fg ftm-fta pts) — Messmann 0 3-4 3, Howard 6 1-3 18, S. Peterson 1 0-0 3, Helmink 2 0-0 4, Johnson 4 0-0 8, J. Peterson 2 3-8 7, Beck 1 0-0 2. Totals — 16 7-15 45.
Whitewater — Grosinske 1 2-4 5, Carollo 5 9-9 21, Laue 2 2-2 7, Schumacher 4 4-5 15, Zimdars 2 1-3 5. Totals — 14 18-23 55.
3-point goals — J (Howard 5, S. Peterson) 6, W (Carollo 2, Grosinske, Laue, Schumacher 3) 7. Total fouls — J 25, W 13.