By Tim Wester
As one of the top rivalries in the Southern Lakes Conference, Waterford and Union Grove do not like to lose to each other.
But with both teams at different stages of development this season, the first installment of the 2022-2023 rivalry was more of a learning experience for the Waterford on Thursday, Dec. 8.
Union Grove, which is 5-1, 3-0 and ranked fifth in the state in Division 2, provided a lesson on maintaining intensity for an entire game.
After the Waterford (2-5, 0-3) kept up with Union Grove early in the game, the Broncos took over late in the first half to grab a 35-17 halftime lead and never looked back from there, en route to a commanding 67-32 victory in a Southern Lakes Conference contest.
“We started out a little shaky and had a decent half until about the final four minutes of the first half,” Waterford coach Dena Brechtl said. “We came out flat in the second half and Union Grove came out firing.”
The Broncos, whose string of 19 consecutive conference victories by double digit margins was snapped by Elkhorn in 40-31 victory two days earlier, had a much more consistent performance against Waterford.
“We were more focused the day after the Elkhorn game,” Union Grove coach Rob Domagalski said. “We had good flow and shared the ball well which led to balanced scoring.”
Sophia Rampulla led the way with a game-high 18 points, while Sydney Ludvigsen and Elizabeth Spang had 15 points apiece, and Hannah Orcutt chipped in 10 for Union Grove.
Tatijana Ninkovic, meanwhile, had a team-high 12 points for the Wolverines who are looking for more consistency this season.
“We’re trying to get on the same page,” Brechtl said. “Every day is going to get a little better, but the score doesn’t always show it. Our motto is to get 1% better every day and some days it fails, and we have to get back to the drawing board.”
Waterford looks to show improvement tonight at Westosha Central, while Union Grove looks to continue its dominance in the Lakes when it hosts Wilmot Tuesday.