Hortonville hoops shoots to victory
Polar Bears make 13 3-pointers
By Erik Buchinger
The Hortonville girls’ basketball team made 13 3-pointers in an 80-42 win over Neenah in the Polar Bears’ home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
Hortonville was led by Shay Frederick, who scored 24 points with five 3-pointers and made all five free throws to lead the Polar Bears.
“We are a skilled basketball team,” Hortonville head coach Celeste Ratka said. “Every single person on our team can shoot the three. We definitely want to work the ball inside-out, but the shots were falling today, and the girls were feeling comfortable. I think we got more in a rhythm in the second half, so I think those shots started falling a little bit.”
Hortonville sophomore Hailey Wenzel made five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in her first varsity home game.
“I thought it went well,” Wenzel said. “I was nervous coming in, but in the end it went well for me. I thought the student section did good cheering us on.”
Hortonville scored the game’s first seven points and extended the lead to 12-2 before Neenah came back to within one in the first half.
“I think [Neenah] intimidated us a little bit, and I kind of talked about certain people stepping up making shots when things weren’t going our way in the first half,” Ratka said. “Shay was one of them, and Hailey Wenzel stepped up big time and hit some threes to settle us down and get us to feel a little bit more comfortable.”
Ratka said Wenzel excelled in her role coming off the bench.
“Hailey is a tremendous athlete and a great player,” Ratka said. “She played four different positions for us tonight when we got into some foul trouble. She’s very versatile, and she’s just one of those kids that has some toughness to her. I really enjoy watching the way she competes and plays.”
Wenzel knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to end the first half, including one as the clock expired to give the Polar Bears a 42-28 lead.
Hortonville scored the first seven points of the second half, which included a pair of layups from sophomore Macy McGlone, who finished with 12 points.
“I liked the way we responded in the second half,” Ratka said. “In the first half, I think we had some nerves going for our kids a little bit. We had a lot of young kids and it took them a little bit to settle in.”
The Polar Bears pulled away in the second half with a running clock toward the end for a 38-point win.
Ratka said she was happy with contributions from multiple players because when one player shoots well, it helps the confidence of the rest of the team.
“Shooting is contagious,” Ratka said. “When one person makes them, it seems like everybody wants to get on that train.”
Wenzel said she was happy with how the team played to improve to 2-0 this season.
“Overall, I thought we did a really good job,” Wenzel said. “We met our goals, and we got the job done.”