Sparta girls ride big second half to win

Sparta recovered from a slow start with a big second half to upend Black River Falls 63-43 in nonconference girls basketball action at Alton Ask Gymnasium Tuesday night.
The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Lady Spartan cagers, who picked up their third win during a recent five-game home stand.
Both teams struggled on offense over the opening 18 minutes of play, but Sparta managed to take a 27-22 lead at the break.
Sparta head coach Antone Laufenberg made some adjustments on offense in the second half to create more scoring opportunities for his team.
“We talked at the half that they were double-teaming (Sparta’s leading scorer) Callie (Ziebell), which opened up a lot of other areas,” he offered.
“I told them they’ve got to take those shots, even if we miss, because it will bring the defense out and open things up inside. The girls were looking to shoot more, especially Laney (Schell),” continued Laufenberg. “And Brielle (Savor) got a lot of easy baskets underneath by putting herself in position to get those good shots. She’s one of those kids who is always around the basket and she gets herself in good position.”
Schell knocked down a game-high 18 points to lead Sparta on offense, while Savor finished with 15 points.
Ziebell added a nine-point performance for the Lady Spartans, followed by Carly Muller with seven, Julianna Pokorny with six, Emma Smith with four and Rorie Marx and Lexi Pieper with two apiece.
After the slow start, Sparta kicked it in gear in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 36-21 to pull away for the win.
“In the first half I was kind of upset with our play and our effort level,” said Laufenberg. “In the second half, we picked it up and finally got into a rhythm on offense. We finished with our season-high point total and we did it without Callie being our leading scorer.”
Laufenberg said the win was an important one for his team.
“It puts us in a good position going down the stretch,” he said. “Now we know if they try to shut Callie down we have other players who can score.”
Sparta shot well from the floor, connecting on 22 of 53 field goals for 42 percent, including five of 16 three-pointers for 31 percent.
Black River Falls made just 14 of 56 field goals for 25 percent.
The Lady Spartans held a 38-30 edge on the glass, with Savor grabbing nine rebounds to lead Sparta.
Ziebell finished with seven rebounds for Sparta, followed by Pokorny and Schell with five apiece and Muller with four.
Sparta improved to 5-12 overall with the win, while Black River Falls fell to 0-18 with the loss.
The Lady Spartan cagers are back in action tonight (Thursday), when they travel to Mauston to take on the Golden Eagles in a 7:30 p.m. nonconference contest at Mauston High School.

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