REEDSBURG — In the first minute of Thursday night’s game, Waunakee’s Melanie Watson was smacked in the face while playing defense, scored on the next possession and left the court with blood streaming from her nose.
The 5-foot-10 sophomore forward, after receiving attention and a towel, returned several minutes later and provided a crucial contribution toward Waunakee’s 63-56 comeback victory over Reedsburg in a Badger North Conference girls basketball game.
Watson had 17 points and nine rebounds as Waunakee (16-6, 11-3 Badger North) finished the regular season tied with Reedsburg (17-5, 11-3) for second place in the league standings behind Beaver Dam, which won the title in its first season in the conference.
“They found great balance today in their scoring,” Reedsburg coach Mark Simon said. “Watson inside probably was the difference in the game. We didn’t really have a matchup for her. … She was able to do what she wanted inside.”
Warriors junior guard Caitlyn Kesilewski sank four 3-pointers, including three in the second half, and totaled 14 points. Maryville University commit CiCi Rindy, a 6-0 senior, made three 3-pointers and had 13 points.
Watson, who called it one of her best performances because she was active in every phase, was in considerable pain afterward and anticipated needing to see a doctor about her nose. “I could breathe, but it distracted me a lot during the game,” she said.
Said Waunakee coach Tom Lesar: “She rebounds, she does all the grunt work, she gets us extra possessions. This was as good as she’s played.”
Senior forward Brooklyn Schyvinck, the Beavers’ single-season scoring leader, scored 15 points on Senior Night. Reedsburg juniors Ava Douglas and Skyler Miller scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The Warriors, trailing 39-30, cut the deficit to one when they unleashed a full-court press and scored eight unanswered points in 22 seconds, including consecutive 3-pointers by Kesilewski in a 10-second span.
“She’s a streak shooter,” Lesar said. “When she gets in a groove, she just can’t miss.”
Douglas drained a 3-pointer, bringing the Beavers within 58-56 with 2 minutes, 12 seconds remaining. But Rindy answered with an inside basket off an assist from Kesilewski as Waunakee scored the game’s final five points.
Reedsburg won the first meeting 57-56 on Jan. 5 when Douglas hit a shot with 3 seconds left.
“There is no question that every time you play Waunakee you get better because of their athleticism and they have skilled players,” Simon said. “It’s usually a game that goes down to the wire, so you find out a lot about your team. In late-game situations today, I thought they were better than we were.”
Waunakee 26 37 — 63
Reedsburg 27 29 — 56
WAUNAKEE — Harrison 1 0-0 3, Rindy 5 0-2 13, Farnsworth 3 2-2 9, Kesilewski 4 2-2 14, Murray 0 1-2 1, Watson 6 5-7 17, Maier 3 0-0 6. Totals 22 10-15 63.
REEDSBURG — Douglas 5 2-2 14, Schyvinck 6 3-4 15, Straka 3 0-0 6, Miller 6 1-2 13, Korklewski 3 0-0 8. Totals 23 6-8 56.
3-point goals — W 9 (Kesilewski 4, Rindy 3, Harrison 1, Farnsworth 1), R 4 (Douglas 2, Korklewski 2). Total fouls — W 12, R 14.