Mya Davidson’s welcome-to-Stoughton moment came in crunch time in the Vikings’ season opener.
The 6-foot-2 sophomore transfer from Harlem (IL) High School buried two free throws with 27.1 seconds left to propel Stoughton to a 46-43 home win over Verona on Tuesday, Nov. 19. She scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench, as the Vikings rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half.
“I was pretty confident,” Davidson said. “I have shot free throws over and over. I was like, ‘Yeah, I got this. I do it all the time.’”
Verona had a chance to tie the game in the waning moments. Wildcats senior Rayna Briggs, who scored a game-high 23 points, lined up a 3-pointer at the top of the key with Stoughton senior guard Myranda Kotlowski blanketing her. Kotlowski deflected the ball as Briggs rose to shoot. Verona freshman Abbi Rupnow recovered the ball on the wing, but her game-tying shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
“We wanted to make sure we showed on those ball screens,” Stoughton coach Brad Pickett said. “The biggest thing was not give up a 3. We wanted to force everything into the paint.”
Briggs was a thorn in the side of the Vikings with her outside shooting touch. She knocked down five 3-pointers.
“We adjusted how we guarded her,” Pickett said of Briggs. “We wanted her to put it on the floor more, step up and take a charge, or force her to kick it out and make someone else beat us.”
Briggs drilled two 3-pointers early in the second half to make it 36-25 Wildcats.
Stoughton senior Megan Marggi knocked down a 3-pointer, and sophomore Ava Loftus slashed to the basket for a layup to slice the Wildcats’ lead to 41-38 with 7:38 left.
Kotlowski came up with a steal and layup to tie the game at 41 with 4:31 to go. The Vikings took a 42-41 lead after Loftus split a pair of free throws with 3:54 left.
Verona junior Katie Pederson scored on a putback to give the Wildcats a 43-42 lead with 1:47 to go, but Davidson answered with a post bucket 17 seconds later to put the Vikings ahead for good.
“Mya will continue to get better, but she is a sophomore,” Pickett said. “There is still that learning curve and figuring things out. She is coachable and willing to learn.”
Stoughton opened the game with a 17-4 run. Marggi hit a 3-pointer, and senior Riley Rosyton made a layup off an inbounds play to start the run. Loftus nailed a 3-pointer, and Kotlowski knocked down a jumper to extend the lead to 12-2.
The Wildcats caught fire late in the first half and closed on a 21-6 run to take a 25-23 lead at intermission. However, Verona had 13 of their 18 turnovers in the second half, and shot 47% from the free-throw line (8-for-17).
Davidson and Loftus (nine points, five rebounds and two steals) stepped up off the bench with Royston and senior Delaney Seidel in foul trouble throughout the game.
Marggi had nine points on three 3s. Kotlowski chipped in six points, and senior Micah Zaemisch added five points and six rebounds.
“We talked about it in the locker room that it was a team win,” Pickett said. “I think our seniors do a pretty good job of setting the tone. A couple of those underclassmen stepped up. I think they take the lead from the seniors.”
New Berlin Eisenhower 62, Stoughton 36
The Vikings struggled offensively in a nonconference road loss to the Lions on Friday, Nov. 22.
Zaemisch scored a team-high five points to lead Stoughton. Loftus, Marggi and Mayayla each added four points.
Eisenhower forward Erin Hedman scored a game-high 21 points (including four 3-pointers), grabbed six rebounds and had nine blocks. The Lions raced out to a 36-15 lead at the half.