By Jennifer Eisenbart

Sports editor

Waterford Union High School girls’ basketball coach Dena Brechtl hasn’t minced words while her team has struggled in the early going.

And after an opening round loss in the Baraboo Holiday Tournament Tuesday, Brechtl was not happy.

“We were nowhere to be found (Tuesday),” Brechtl said of the 61-33 loss to Baraboo. “It was a huge lack of individual pride on our defense.”

But after playing with Division 2 fourth-ranked Reedsburg for 28 minutes Wednesday night, Brechtl was much, much happier – even following a 57-38 loss.

“We have to be able to play 32 minutes,” Brechtl said. “That’s just what’s killing us.

“We came out (Wednesday) and came pretty close,” Brechtl added. “That’s pretty exciting.”

Waterford trailed by just six points with six minutes left in the game. However, just two minutes later, the Wolverines were down by 18.

“We had that team shaking in their boots with six minutes left,” Brechtl said. “Then we hit that wall.

“We got tired.”

Brechtl said Stephanie Rank and Jaycie Chart battled all night with Reedsburg’s two 6-0 post players, Beth Maenpa and Sophie Lichte. And with those two in the game for most of the 32 minutes, they got tired.

Rank still finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Chart added four points and five rebounds.

Madison Blair pitched in eight points, while point guard Megan Jensen appears to finally be hitting her stride after struggling with injuries in the early going.

“This is the best they’ve played all year long,” Brechtl said. “We played even with them the second and third quarters. For 16 minutes of basketball, we were as good as the fourth-ranked team in Division 2.

“We did everything we could.”

Against Baraboo, Rank registered a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Jensen pitched in eight points and Alyssa Helwig seven.

Facing two top teams at the tournament was something Brechtl said her squad needed.

“I think it was good for us to look at it that way,” the coach said. “We’re not going to see many more teams that can score the way these two teams can.”

The Wolverines will now settle back into Southern Lakes Conference action, with a 7 p.m. game at Union Grove Tuesday.

“We’re ready,” Brechtl said. “After the way we played (Wednesday), I’d like to say, ‘here we come.’ The girls are pumped up for this, like usual.”