HURLEY — It's been almost 10 years since an Indianhead Conference team came to Hurley and beat the Midgettes. It took a Division I prospect both times.
On Friday, Megan Gustafson led South Shore to a 50-33 win over Hurley in a battle of Indianhead division leaders. On Feb. 2, 2004, Jolene Anderson scored 49 points in a 78-73 victory. Anderson went on to become the Wisconsin Badgers' leading scorer; Gustafson is being recruited by 14 Division I schools.
"I came here four times when I was at Washburn. I walked away 0-4, so it is nice to come back to Hurley and pull out a win," South Shore coach Ryan Tiberg said.
Gustafson scored 26 points, four fewer than her average coming into the game of 30.1 a game, good for second in Wisconsin across all divisions. But she affects the game in so many ways with her 6-3 frame. She controls the boards and disrupts shots, whether it's with a crowd-thrilling block or causing shooters to hesitate, wondering where she is lurking.
"There were so many times where there were people in great position that they could have got that open shot, but they wouldn't turn to the hoop. 'Oh she's going to be there,'" Hurley coach Melissa Oja said. "It was very awkward. We struggled offensively tonight."
Hurley only trailed by four points at the half, 22-18, but shooting was problematic all night. Hurley finished at 14 of 63 from the field (22 percent).
"We needed to be a lot smarter," Oja said. "We were all saying, 'Pump fake, pump fake, pump fake.' Simple little pump fake and then you get her into foul trouble or you're able to get by (Gustafson). It's like we were a bit tentative because we were afraid she was going to block us. We all felt going into the locker room we didn't play like the team we are capable of playing. I think if we would not have made so many bad decisions passing, handling the ball a little bit better, we had over 20 turnovers."
There were bright spots for Hurley, though. Oja liked the defense Beka Harrington played on Gustafson.
"I think Beka did a great job on her," Oja said. "She got a lot of her buckets, not from getting passes into the paint. She got a lot of hers on rebounds. The fact Beka was able to do such a good job containing her in the regular offensive flow of things, hats off to her. She worked her butt off."
The Midgettes led 9-6 on a Harrington shot midway through the first quarter. After falling behind 22-13 in the second quarter, Hurley scored the half's final five points to make the unbeaten Cardinals sweat.
South Shore, though, outscored Hurley 15-4 in the third quarter for a commanding 37-22 lead. The Cardinals switched from zone to man after the half.
"I was very happy with our second-half defense," Tiberg said. "With a zone, I think they were able to pass it around and they were able to look for their options more clearly. When we switched to man, we applied some pressure. Their normal continuity of throwing the easy passes that were found in a zone were no longer there. The difference was we outrebounded them in the second half."
South Shore's Janice Anderson, a senior and Jolene's younger sister, scored 16 points.
"She's frustrating for some people because she's quick and she moves well," Oja said. "I hope they advance in the tournament and play well because it's always nice to see a conference team have success."
South Shore also ended Hurley's 84-game conference win streak with a victory at Port Wing on Jan. 11, 2013.
Kirkie Pecotte led Hurley with eight points. Makayla Wolfe had seven.
Hurley (6-3, 5-2) hosts Lakeland Tuesday in a non-conference game.
Hurley — Gabby Pecotte 3, Natalie Moon 2, Beka Harrington 5, Brittany Czarnecki 4, Tianne Kuula 4, Makayla Wolfe 7, Kirkie Pecotte 8. FTs: 1-4. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: G. Pecotte 1, Wolfe 1.
South Shore — Megan Gustafson 26, Jenna Sorenson 8, Janice Anderson 16. FTs: 12-18. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Anderson 2.
South Shore 11 22 37 50
Hurley 12 18 22 33