By John Raffel
Kenosha St. Joseph is off to an 8-1 start in girls basketball and first-year head coach Brendon Plowe is quick to recognize one of the main reasons for his team's success: Erin Higgins.
Higgins, a senior who will play next season at Illinois-Chicago, is averaging 26 points per game for St. Joseph, which is 5-0 in the South Division of the Midwest Classic Conference.
“It's been the girls buying into the system, but it's also largely in part to Erin Higgins,” Plowe said. “She's been unbelievable on both ends of the floor. She's carried us and kept us in games to the point where she's able to win games at the end.”
In her fourth varsity season, Higgins' high game is 32 points. She's had three games at 30 points.
“She has a support system she hasn't had in the past,” Plowe said. “She's able to work off other girls, who are scoring and taking pressure off of her to free her up for some creative looks. This is her most successful season both scoring wise and with wins.”
With the task of picking a college out of the way, some of the pressure has also been relieved for the senior star.
“I'm going to college so I'm having fun and playing well,” Higgins said. “I've played basketball since I was six or seven. Each year, I keep growing and keep getting better.
The 5-foot-7 guard suggested that her biggest scoring outburst of the season may be yet to come, pointing out that she dropped 39 in a single game as a junior.
Pardeeville is 7-2 this season and getting big production from 6-0 senior guard Pat Banks.
Banks is averaging almost 26 points per game and shooting better than 40 percent from the 3-point line and 85 percent from the charity stripe.
“The season is progressing the way we expected,” Pardeeville head coach Chris Lindert said. “The game Pat scored 44 points in was disappointing because we lost to Deerfield, a big rival of ours. It was a very entertaining game.”
Banks has connected on multiple 3-pointers in every game this season and hit in a Jan. 8 win over Cambria-Friesland.
“Hhe led our league in scoring as a junior but I think he's becoming a more complete player this year and is taking on more of a leadership role,” Lindert said. “I think he's exceeded expectations on his point totals. He's got games of 28, 26, 44 and 24. So he's had some rather big games.”
Upcoming games of note include a pair of meetings in three weeks against conference rival Randolph. Those games should be a good indication of where the Bulldogs stand headed into the postseason, where they lost in the Division 3 sectionals to Aquinas of La Crosse a year ago.