Eagles clinch final minute free throws to secure win

Menominee Indian easily defeats Weyauwega-Fremont
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Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Menominee Indian High School sophomore Senihseah Wayka looks to pass during the second half of a 41-30 victory over Weyauwega-Fremont on Tuesday at Menominee Indian High School. Wayka scored eight points for the Eagles.

Menominee Indian drained six of seven free throws in the final minute to secure a 41-30 Central Wisconsin Conference-East victory over Weyauwega-Fremont on Tuesday at Menominee Indian High Schoool.

Weyauwega-Fremont, which is searching for its first win, had a glimmer of hope after draining a 3-pointer with two minutes remaining to close the deficit to three points. The Eagles (5-2, 2-1 CWC) regrouped and Faith Munson answered with a layup. The Eagles went on to draw four fouls, resulting in six of seven at the line. The 8-0 run and two missed free throws by Weyauwega-Fremont (0-8, 0-4 CWC) sealed the Eagles’ victory.

“The free-throw shooting was phenomenal tonight,” Menominee Indian head coach Chris Rice said. “That free-throw percentage was a big reason we won tonight. The girls did better at the end of controlling the ball, so those elements combined really secured the win for us.”

The Eagles shot 13 of 18 at the line (72 percent) after hovering around 50 percent this season. Mercedes Waupoose secured 4 of 5 and Senihseah Wayka shot 4 of 6 free throws to lead the Eagles.

Munson said the team has been preparing for late-game free throws.

“Coach Rice always emphasizes practicing free throws when we’re tired, to be like end-of-game situations, so we all just used that from practice, and it showed tonight,” Munson said.

Rice said, despite knowing Weyauwega-Fremont’s defense scheme, they weren’t able to capitalize enough on offense.

“We were expecting them to be in man defense in this game, and that’s something that we really need to improve on if we’re going to be successful,” he said. “So we knew they’d be physical on defense and that made it hard for us to get shots.”

The Eagles made 14 of 36 field goals, but Rice is happy with the improvements he’s seeing offensively.

“I’m proud of how they’re improving offensively,” he said. “We didn’t make all of the shots tonight, but the strides they’re making look very positive going forward, specifically when they’re against man defense.”

The Eagles gave up 17 second-half points, including three 3-pointers, but Munson said struggling at the end gave the team motivation to pick up their game.

“When they got the last 3-pointer, we all just got way more into it, because we knew we weren’t giving this game up,” she said. “That really drove us.

“We have a lot of motivation as a team because almost everyone picked us to be last in the conference. So we remember that and it really drives us to be better when we’re in close situations like tonight. We never imagined we’d be 5-2 after losing a lot of our good players and good shooters last year. We knew we had to work extra hard to get better, so it feels amazing.”

Menominee Indian (41)

Faith Munson 2-4 14; Jalen Corn 0-0 6; Senihseah Wayka 4-6 8; Alyssa Corn 2-2 2; Mercedes Waupoose, 4-5 8; Antonette Waukau 1-2 3.

Weyauwega-Fremont (30)

Taylor Folk 2-2 15; Jade Miller 0-0 3; Rylee Bartel 0-4 8; Kiley Akey 0-0 4.

Menominee Indian 20 21 —41

Weyauwega-Fremont 13 17 —30