By Dan Truttschel~Sports Correspondent
It was clear early Friday night that the Wilmot and Westosha Central girls basketball teams are at different points in their development.
For Wilmot, the game signaled yet another piece of an impressive start to the season – and for Central, it was another chance to learn from the experience.
Wilmot, ranked sixth in Division 2, wasted little time, as it jumped out to a 25-5 first-quarter lead and cruised past the Falcons for a 67-22 Southern Lakes Conference victory.
The win improved the Panthers to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the SLC, while Central fell to 2-7 and 1-4.
Wilmot coach Keiya Square was pleased with the win.
“It is nice whenever you can beat a rival, especially one as close as this one,” he said. “A lot of these kids grew up playing together or playing against each other since they started playing basketball, so for our girls to come out and play the way they did was great to see.”
Central coach Ruth Buehler said her young team enjoyed the exciting atmosphere around the game – but she and the team hoped for a better outcome.
“We obviously knew this would be a tough game for us, but were hoping we could put together a more complete game than we did,” she said.
“I think we were disappointed, not in the loss so much, as in the way played. We’ve lost seven games (and) this is the first one where I didn’t think we looked like we were working hard and (were) completely unfocused.”
The Panthers’ fast start once again began with their defense, as they forced Central into 10 straight turnovers to start the game. Wilmot added 14 points in the second quarter to take a commanding 39-11 lead into halftime.
Square said the defensive plan always is to speed up the game and force the opposition into making mistakes.
“We want to make teams do things that they aren’t used to and to do them at our speed,” he said. “We were able to pressure their guards and get some early turnovers that set the tempo for the game.
“Our girls played extremely well all night defensively. They work hard in practice, and they take pride in shutting teams down.”
Buehler said her team was ready for Wilmot’s pressure, but just couldn’t handle it.
“We spent an hour just on press break the night before we played,” she said. “We have one true point guard, seven forwards, three posts, and even a couple of our post players want to be a (forward).
“I think what we have to continue to fix, is that some of our (forwards) are going to have to become reliable ball handlers as well.”
Wilmot closed the game with a 28-11 advantage the final two quarters, including a nine-point effort by Sarah Vozel in the third.
Kaytlyn Eidson led the way with 17 points, including a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter, followed by Vozel with 16 points and seven rebounds. Kari Clements added nine points, five rebounds, eight steals and eight assists, while Rachel Szyldowski had eight rebounds and three blocks. Danielle Klotz chipped in with four assists.
Eidson, who has battled injury so far this year, appears to be rounding into form, Square said.
“We have been waiting for this game from her,” he said. “She still isn’t 100 percent, but we have seen glimpses of it in practice, and she put it together in this game.”
Megan Ziesmann had 11 points to lead Central, while Jaela McGill had five.