Hawks clinch season opener over Clippers

Tori DePerry posts 15 points in 60-26 victory
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Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Brandi Gueths breaks past defenders in the first half of Tuesday’s season opening 60-26 win over Sturgeon Bay. Gueths recorded 10 points and was 4 of 4 from the free-throw line.

Junior Tori DePerry posted 15 points to lead Shawano to a 60-26 victory against Sturgeon Bay in the Hawks’ nonconference season opener on Tuesday.

The Clippers struggled with shooting, and Shawano was able to press early to keep Sturgeon Bay to just five points until midway through the first half. The Hawks’ energy started to fade defensively as the half went on, but a weak Sturgeon Bay offense gave the Hawks some leeway.

“It’s the start of the year, it’s the first game, so of course we’re a little slow,” head coach Steve Koenig said. “You can tell we tired ourselves out quickly in the first half after pressing well in the beginning. We just aren’t in game shape yet, but I thought they fought hard.”

Brandi Gueths shot an easy layup to get the Hawks on the board early at Shawano Community High School, and a 3-pointer from Hailey Buschman brought the Hawks to a 5-0 lead before the Clippers found the basket.

Gueths shot her final four points of the half from the free-throw line to give the Hawks a 12-3 advantage. DePerry added eight points and Rachel Reed made a bank shot off an assist by Gracyn Habeck to bring the Hawks to a 26-14 lead at half.

With neither team starting strong to open the second half, Buschman scored the first points nearly five minutes into the half. Shawano (1-0) handled the ball offensively for the rest of the game with 7 points from both DePerry and Buschman. Gueths and Habeck each added 4 points and the Hawks held the Clippers to just 12 to win 60-26.

Buschman was the second-leading scorer with 13 points and Gueths followed with 10. Gueths also led with five defensive and six offensive rebounds.

Fouls were a problem for both teams, with Shawano tallying 18 and Sturgeon Bay 17. The Hawks were able to capitalize on Sturgeon Bay (0-1) fouls and made 13 of 19 free throws. Gueths posted a perfect 4 of 4 at the line and Buschman drained 6 of 7.

“Free-throws are what wins games, so I really focus on them myself and press on my team to practice them hard,” Gueths said. “We’re able to draw fouls, but we need to be able to capitalize on them. I think we do well in that aspect.”

“We have very athletic girls, so we want to work the ball around the basket instead of taking those shots right away,” Koenig said. “We got to the basket a lot and were able to work around it and draw those fouls, which the girls are very good at.”

Koenig wants to see his team’s fouls decrease.

“We fouled way too much,” he said. “We had a lot of fouls on almost all of the girls, and we had Kayla Ward foul out early in the first half, and she’s going to need to be big for us this season, so we need to fix that. We need to work on that with all of our players to make sure that we’re not losing key players to fouls.”

“We definitely need to get in shape, but we ran our plays well and played well together,” Gueths said. “It was great to get a win under out belt, that starts us off with a lot of confidence. And we got everybody in this game, which helps as well.”

Koenig thinks his team was able to get their “jitters” out before Friday’s game at Lakeland Union.

Shawano (60)

Klemens 1-1 3; Reed 0-0 5; Buschman 6-7 13; DePerry 2-4 15; Mott 0-0 2; Wendorff 0-1 2; Young 0-0 2; Gueths 4-4 10; Habeck 0-2 8.

Sturgeon Bay (26)

Shawano 26 34 — 60

Sturgeon Bay 14 12 — 26