Published Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:23 am
Free throws spark Wilcox-Hildreth against S-E-M

SUMNER — If the smiles, the cheers and, yes, the dancing are new sights for the Wilcox-Hildreth girls' basketball program, it's because the joy is a new feeling.

Two seasons ago, the Falcons slogged through a winless year. Then, it scraped seven wins out last season as the girls gained confidence in themselves.

Now, if the early returns from the 2013 campaign are any indication, the hard work and the long learning process is beginning to pay off.

In a grind-it-out fashion Friday, Wilcox-Hildreth notched its second win of the year with a 49-43 victory at S-E-M.

It may not have been altogether pretty — the teams combined to shoot 71 free throws and four players fouled out — but it completed another small step for the Falcons on their road back to relevance.

Building on a successful fall volleyball season, the group led by seniors Rachel Arehart and Jessica Harms gutted out a contest Friday after a season-opening win against Elwood.

“In the locker room, they did a dance after the game because we've never done that,” Wilcox-Hildreth coach Dave Mroczek said. “(In the past), we were picking them up because they were crying ... now basketball is coming around, and they are starting to believe.”

The Falcons (2-0) trailed much of the second and third quarters, but as both teams reached the double bonus early in the second half the game slowed. When given a glimmer, Wilcox-Hildreth pounced. With three minutes left in the game, Reilly Jenkins stole a pass at half court and drove in for a layup to give Wilcox-Hildreth a one-point lead. She was fouled in the process and converted the free throw.

Then Wilcox-Hildreth got it done from the charity stripe. Rachel Arehart went 7-for-12 from the line in the closing minutes. Defensively, the Falcons kept S-E-M from finding any offensive answer by forcing 11 fourth quarter turnovers.

Arehart led the Falcons with 19 points, and Jessica Harms added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Wilcox-Hildreth played much of the final quarter without starters Emilee Pool and Alex Voichoskie who fouled out. But Mroczek found success from his

“I never would've thought with two of my better players fouling out that we'd be in there, but the subs did well,” Mroczek said.

Harms said that the team believes in whoever is playing.

“It doesn't matter,” Harms said. “We have a lot of depth, and trust all of each other. It doesn't matter who is out there. We just play well together.”

S-E-M was led by Alicia Pierce, who finished with 16 points, and Miranda Pierce, who scored 12.

For Mroczek, he's preaching belief to a team ready to soak it in.

“That's going to be scary for a lot of other teams,” Mroczek said. “Because when we start to believe, we can be a pretty salty team.”

For this program, that's a new feeling.

“We haven't had a season like this in a long time, and we've just been waiting for an opportunity to show everybody,” Arehart said.

Wilcox-Hildreth 49, S-E-M 43

Wilcox-Hildreth (2-0)
Rachel Arehart 3-10 12-19 19, Jessica Harms 5-9 2-6 12, Alex Voichoskie 2-10 0-0 5, Reilly Jenkins 2-6 1-1 5, Alexa Hinrichs 1-4 0-0 3, Emilee Pool 0-3 2-2 2, Emily Bergstrom 0-3 1-4 1, Camryn Preston 0-2 1-2 1, Hayley Beason 0-0 1-4 1, Charlene Corral 0-5 0-0 0, Sarah Arehart 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 13-53 20-38.

S-E-M (1-1)
Alicia Pierce 5-9 6-11 16, Miranda Pierce 4-10 4-11 12, Rachel Ibach 1-4 5-8 7, Shaylee Burr 3-7 0-3 6, Kasie Dittmar 1-3 0-0 1, Kisha Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, Sami Sleicher 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS 14-37 15-33.

Score by Quarters
Wilcox-Hildreth 11 8 10 20 — 49
S-E-M 10 13 8 12 — 43

3-point goals — WH 3-12 (R. Arehart 1-1, Hinrichs 1-1, Voichoskie 1-5, Corral 0-5), SEM 0-5 (Ibach 0-2, Dittmar 0-1, Thomas 0-1, Sleicher 0-1). Rebounds — WH 35 (Harms 10, Jenkins 10), SEM 33 (A. Pierce 7, Burr 7). Assists — WH 4 (four with 1), SEM 6 (Ibach 3). Turnovers — WH 15, SEM 27. Steals — WH 12 (Jenkins 5), SEM 8 (A. Pierce 2, Burr 2, Ibach 2). Total fouls — WH 30, SEM 26. Fouled out — WH 2 (Pool, Voichoskie), SEM 2 (Thomas, Burr).

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