HOWARD LAKE – It hasn’t been the best season at times for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted girls basketball team this year. You wouldn’t know that watching them play.
Despite just two wins on the season so far and in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Lakers continued to compete. Even after a tough first half in which HLWW had just two made field goals, they gave the Rockford Rockets all they could handle in the second half but the comeback came up just short in a 41-34 loss Tuesday night.
“We were stuck at one forever,” HLWW coach Drew Waldbillig said. “We couldn’t buy a bucket. Shots didn’t fall but that was some great defense by the girls. They were nonstop all game. We stopped the bleeding but we just didn’t hit our shots right away.”
The Lakers went nearly nine minutes without a field goal to start the game and finished with two made field goals in the first half as they trailed 24-8 at the break. The second half was a different story as HLWW never gave up.
Ivy Fasching hit a pair of 3-pointers to spark the comeback as the Lakers opened the second half on a 19-4 run to get back within just a single point with just under eight minutes to go.
“In the second half, we were smart with the ball and waited for them to come to us and we had some really good open looks,” Waldbillig said. “That helped build our confidence a bit.”
That’s as close as the Lakers would come though as the Rockets answered with a run of their own. After a seven-minute drought of their own, Rockford used a 9-0 run to push their lead back to double digits and hang on for the win.
With the loss, HLWW’s losing streak pushed to six games and they sit at 2-10 on the season. While wins have been hard to come by so far, the Lakers continued to battle and play together each and every day.
“We had a team Saturday morning where we had little mirrors and we wrote down positive affirmations,” Waldbillig said. “That’s huge for their self-confidence. A lot of the girls are pretty hard on themselves. I think that really brought us together as a team. They were helping each other make them. You could tell at the next practice that they were really gelling together. They are really buying into what we’re talking about as coaches and that’s great to see.”