By Derek Hoesly


BRODHEAD – After a slow start, Brodhead girls basketball team (15-2 overall, 11-1 Rock Valley Conference) dominated Clinton, for a 69-34 Rock Valley south victory last Friday.

The Cardinals opened the game with four straight turnovers. The sloppy play went both ways, as the Lady Cards also forced several turnovers in the early minutes of the game.

Neither team got into any offensive rhythm in the early stages. Finally, senior Amber Pickel slashed to the basket for a conversion to put Brodhead up 5-4 midway through the half. With the score tied at five, Brodhead exploded on an 11-0 run to go up 16-5.

Junior Ali Rosheisen provided a huge spark off the bench and played a major role in the run. Rosheisen buried a three-pointer. She then attacked the Cougar defense, hitting sophomore Erin Nyhus on a kick out for a wide-open three-pointer during the surge.

Nyhus went right down the middle of the lane for an uncontested lay in to spark the run. Rosheisen had five points and played a solid all-round game that included rebounds and some assists.

“The three-pointer is the first one I’ve made all season. so I was really excited for that,” she said. “I was glad they collapsed on me, so I kicked it out to Erin. That was big too.”

“When Kylie went down with her second foul,” coach Brian Kammerer said, “Ali stepped in and did a nice job of knocking down a big shot and just being part of the defense that held Clinton to zero during the run.

“That was a huge spark for us. There wasn’t a lot going on, and I think the fans were bored at the start of the game. We were kind of stagnant. We got a little too conservative, and I thought the girls stepped up and started attacking them like we had in the game-plan,” Kammerer said.

Clinton cut the deficit to 17-10 on a drive by Arta Ashiku. The Cardinals responded with an 8-0 run to take control of the game. Pickel ignited the run with a drive. Junior Morgan Cook scored on an inside bucket.

The Cardinal bench had to play extended minutes in the opening half with senior Kylie Moe and junior Catherine Hazeltine in foul trouble; they delivered in a big way. All the players that came off the bench provided solid minutes and kept a double-digit lead throughout the first half.

“I thought tonight was the most production we’ve gotten from our bench probably all year,” Kammerer said, “in terms of all four of those players coming off the bench and contributing tonight.

“If we want to go far, they have to do what they did tonight. They did a heck of a job.   Sometimes in today’s society we get too wrapped up in the ones that are always getting the credit. I think tonight Rosheisen, Novy, Foecking and Roberts deserve a lot of credit.”

Rosheisen took the high compliment in stride.

“At first I was really nervous that it was going to be a close game, but we had a lot people step up which helped when Kylie got into foul trouble,” she said.

Late in the half, Clinton threw a zone at Brodhead that got the Cardinals out of sync on offense. Clinton went on a 5-0 run. Payton Severson scored in the paint to spark the run. Emili Bell scored on a putback.

The Cardinals answered with a bang. Brodhead went on a 6-0 run to end the half. Pickel crashed the glass for two offensive rebounds that included a conventional three-point play on the Cardinals’ last possession.

The lead ballooned to 39-19 on a Moe transition layup off a Cougars’ turnover 3 minutes into the second half. Brodhead scored eight out of the first 12 points to set the tone in the second half.

After an inside bucket by Cougar Kalli Kuhlow, Brodhead went on a 9-0 run. That put them up 51-25 with 8:53 let in regulation play. During the run, the lethal trio did major damage.

Pickel fueled the run with an inside conversion. Nyhus got to the rim twice, including a reverse layup off an offensive rebound. Moe dialed up a corner three-pointer.

“Nyhus has a motor that doesn’t quit,” Kammerer said. “It’s not just Nyhus out there, but we have a lot of kids that work hard. That’s why we’ve had some success this season.

“We always stick Nyhus on the other team’s best player. For her to have the offensive performance every night when just physically she has to be exhausted when she leaves the court,” he said.

“She’s a great coachable kid, but deep down, all Nyhus wants is for her team to be successful. She’s one of the most unselfish players that we’ve had. The unselfishness and team basketball breeds success and the girls did a nice job tonight.”

“She stepped up too and hit some key shots. There were a couple of possessions they left her wide open, and she scored big for us. That was really good of her,” Rosheisen said.

The Cardinals’ smothering man-to-man defense held the Cougars offense in check all night. The Cougars had nobody in double figures as Ashiku led Clinton with nine points. Loudon came in averaging 14 points per game but was limited to five points.

“We talked with our bigs about limiting their post touches,” coach said. “We didn’t do that the last time, and I can’t say enough about what our bigs have been doing inside.

“You saw it against Whitewater with Myriama. Then you saw it again tonight. Nyhus gets a lot of credit for being the defensive stopper with the guard play. Pickel, Cook and Foecking do a great job in the low post. We get beat up size wise, but we play bigger than our size. They did a great job tonight.”

Kuhlow finished on the block to trim the Cardinal lead to 56-31 with just over five minutes remaining. The Cardinals closed out the game, outscoring Clinton 13-3. During the stretch, Hazeltine got to the rim with an excellent drive from the wing. Some bench players continued to have solid nights. Senior Cameron Novy collected an offensive rebound and also attacked the basket. She went to the free throw line, knocking down two of four.

Rosheisen continued the attack mode with a drive to the rim and conversion. Brodhead outscored Clinton 38-19 in the second half and controlled the game.

“I think we did really good with sharing the ball and not being too selfish on offense. We didn’t really care who scored, as long as we were getting good shots,” Rosheisen said.

“With the many turnovers we had in the first half, we still had a nice lead,” Kammerer said. “Then we talked in the locker room about this next stretch of games that we’re going to play.

“If we want to be a good team, we have to come out and get after them right away in the second half. We’ve had a tendency to build a lead and then become complacent, just coast through the second half. I didn’t think we did that tonight,” he said.

Nyhus and Pickel led the Cardinal offensive charge with 19 points. Moe chipped in 14 points for the Cardinals.

The win sets up a huge matchup tomorrow night, Thursday, Feb. 4. The Cardinals travel to Big Foot for a battle for first place in the Rock Valley Conference south.