When the Ozaukee girls’ basketball team traveled to Sheboygan Christian last Friday, most Central Lakeshore Conference fans probably thought the visiting Warriors were heavy favorites.
However, the host Eagles put up a strong fight before Ozaukee eked out a 34-33 victory.
“This was a very competitive and exciting game,” Warriors coach Lee LeMahieu said. “Both teams played hard and played well defensively.
“We didn’t shoot well but managed to escape with the win.”
The game was close throughout as the Warriors struggled on offense.
Ozaukee led, 7-6, after one quarter and held a 15-12 edge at halftime. Christian fought back to tie the score in the third quarter, which ended in a 27-27 deadlock.
The Eagles got a strong effort from freshman starter Hannah Modahl, who scored their last 10 points during a span that started at the 1:58 mark in the third period. She finished with a game-high 15 points.
After baskets by Mickey Burns and Emily Thome, the Warriors held a four-point lead in the fourth quarter. Modahl answered with three straight baskets to give the Eagles a 33-31 lead with 3:17 left.
Neither team scored again until the final minute. With 23.1 seconds left, Ozaukee’s Jessika Dieringer sank the second of two free throws to pull her team within 33-32.
After Modahl missed the front end of a bonus free-throw opportunity, Thome grabbed the rebound. Dieringer drew a foul and responded to the pressure by sinking two free throws that put the Warriors ahead, 34-33, with 11.7 seconds to play.
The Eagles missed what appeared to be a last-second shot, with Thome rebounding the ball. But when Thome fell to the floor as the horn sounded, the referee called her for traveling and put one second back on the clock, which gave Christian another chance.
When another shot attempt by the Eagles bounced off the rim, Ozaukee finally escaped with the victory.
“Jessika Dieringer came up big at the end, knocking down the winning free throws,” LeMahieu said.
Dieringer, a sophomore, finished with nine points, four assists and four steals.
Ozaukee got nine points from Lizzie Janke and seven apiece from Bailey Johnson and Katie Bares. Johnson led the Warriors with seven rebounds.
The win left Ozaukee at 7-4 in CLC play and 9-5 overall.
Oostburg 53, Ozaukee 40
The host Warriors fought hard but couldn’t escape an early hole in a conference loss Jan. 22.
The Lady Dutch grabbed a 16-6 lead by the end of the first quarter before Ozaukee rallied.
The Warriors got within four points twice in the second period and trailed, 30-24, at halftime. Dieringer led the second-quarter charge with six points, and Janke and Johnson each added five.
Oostburg recovered in the second half, outscoring the Warriors in both the third and fourth quarters. However, Ozaukee still only trailed by eight points entering the final period.
“I was very pleased with how we played against a very good Oostburg team,” LeMahieu said.
“We did a nice job offensively of moving the ball and finding the open girl. We held our own on the boards against a taller team.”
Both teams had 32 rebounds, with Johnson leading Ozaukee with 11.
The Warriors’ balanced offense was paced by Thome’s eight points.
This week, Ozaukee played Kewaskum in a nonconference game Tuesday and will host Random Lake in a 7:30 p.m. league contest Thursday.
On Feb. 5, the Warriors will travel to Sheboygan Lutheran for a 7:30 p.m. game.
Image Information: A HUSTLING PLAY by Ozaukee’s Jessika Dieringer allowed her to get the ball to teammate Mickey Johnson during a Central Lakeshore Conference game against Oostburg last week. Photo by Sam Arendt