The loss of Brookwood's star player could have very easily doomed the Falcons in their conference clash against Necedah. Instead, the rest of the team picked up the slack and earned themselves a win that ended January on a strong note.
Despite playing without junior guard Vanessa Anderson, the Falcons (7-14 overall, 3-8 Scenic Bluffs) managed to complete a regular-season sweep of the Cardinals (4-13, 1-10) by handing them a 40-31 defeat Tuesday, January 31 in Ontario.
Brookwood beat the Cardinals 61-36 in Necedah on January 10.
Senior guard Katie Gruen set the pace for the Falcons in this past Tuesday's win with 13 points, senior forward Cora Brandau scored eight points and freshman guard Reagan Muehlenkamp chipped in six points. Necedah sophomore center Hannah Hunkins tallied nine points while senior forward Katelyn Freitag and senior guard Paige Lowery each added six points apiece.
Brookwood's victory came without Anderson — the team's leading scorer at 19.4 points per game — who was sidelined due to an ankle sprain she suffered during a club volleyball tournament last weekend.
"(Vanessa) was disappointed that she couldn't play, but she had all the confidence in the world in her teammates," said Brookwood head coach Travis Anderson. "The entire team had confidence going into the game against Necedah and they all competed very hard. They played well at both ends of the floor and worked extremely hard together to get the win. It was a total team win for sure."
Tuesday night's triumph was the Falcons' first home game since early in the month. Between then, they played nine straight road games. Despite that, Brookwood has now won five of its last 10 contests and had single-digit losses against Bangor, Hillsboro and Cashton during that stretch.
All are signs of an improving team as we now move into February and the season's final weeks.
"Our team's belief in themselves, confidence in each other, and I think our team has developed the understanding of how much energy and effort it takes to be competitive," Anderson said. "They have really bought into what we want to accomplish together as a team, and it has been a great experience for us as coaches to see them improve so much throughout the season. Our goal from the first day of practice was to work hard, get better every day, and try to peak at the end of the season.
"We believe our team is trending in the right direction and we as coaches are very proud of them."
Brookwood will try to avenge a 45-43 loss to Wonewoc-Center from back on January 3 when the Falcons travel to face the Wolves (10-8, 5-6) Friday, February 3 at 7 p.m. in Wonewoc. The team is hopeful to have Anderson back then, but her status remains questionable.
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