Katie Rohner drives to the hoop during Tuesday night’s 55-42 victory over Kenosha Bradford. Rohner led the charge with 24 points. Kathleen Fitzgerald added eight points, and both Maddy Anderson and Ellie Werner added seven. It was Waterford’s first win of the season (1-2). (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Chris Bennett

Sports Correspondent

A second-half rally could not keep the Waterford Union High School girls basketball team from taking a loss in its season opener.

Coach Dena Brechtl praised the play of her team following a 59-53 non-conference loss Nov. 17 against the Blackshirts at Waukesha South.

“It was, indeed, a good season opener,” Brechtl said. “It would have been better with a victory, but there was so much good. Overall, the girls ran our system and executed on a handful of plays.”

Brechtl said the Wolverines (0-1) shot 36 percent from the floor, which is an improvement from last season.

Brechtl said senior Maddy Anderson shot the ball well from the floor and played big minutes, and said junior Kat Fitzgerald played well on defense in the paint. Fitzgerald tallied six blocks, and added seven points and eight rebounds.

Katie Rohner led Waterford with 19 points, and grabbed eight rebounds. Anderson added 11. Sabrina Andringa led South (1-0) with 19 points.

Brechtl said Waterford committed 26 turnovers, which is too many.

“One of the main concerns I still have is our turnover number,” Brechtl said. “We need to focus in our upcoming games at keeping that number in the teens or lower.

“In addition, we struggled on transition defense. Both of those will be a focus for us over the next couple of weeks. We cannot allow teams to push the ball against us and score easy points.”

South led the Wolverines 31-25 at halftime, but Waterford rallied and outscored the Blackshirts 29-28 in the second half.

Waterford went 12-12 overall last season, and finished 8-6 and in fourth place in the Southern Lakes Conference. Anderson, Fitzgerald, Rohner and Annie Benavides are the Wolverines’ returning letter winners, and Brechtl’s four returning players from last season.

Juniors Emma Karpinski, Ellie Werner, Lizzy Schappel and Audrey Reynolds, sophomore Mackenzie Stiewe and freshman Torrie Loppnow round out the roster.

“Overall, this is a hardworking, athletic group of girls,” Brechtl said. “We are continuing to learn to play together and connect with the system. Once everyone is on the same page, this group can turn some heads.”

Union Grove is the three-time defending SLC champion. Brechtl said the Wolverines will play a role in the race for the top.

“We feel we can contend for the top of the conference,” Brechtl said. “With four key faces returning, and a strong group of new faces, this team could turn some heads in the SLC.

“Putting the pieces of the puzzle will be our first task in the first two weeks of the season. Already, people are connecting and practices are looking stronger every day.”

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