After holding a 14-point lead with just five minutes to play in the game, Watertown head coach Matt Stollberg didn't feel that the Goslings had a safe lead over the visiting Monroe Cheesemakers.
A furious rally by Monroe fell just short, as Watertown held off Monroe 44-42 on Saturday afternoon to move into a four-way tie atop the Badger South in girls basketball alongside Edgewood, Oregon, and Monona Grove.
After Monroe went ahead 13-10 with six minutes left in the first half, Watertown ripped off a 15-2 run to close out the first half. The Goslings scored most of the points of the run during the final two minutes of the first half.
Watertown scored the first two baskets of the second half to go up 29-15, and maintained that lead throughout a grinder of a second half that featured stout defense by both teams. While Watertown found consistent scoring inside with Teya Maas, Monroe's rally was keyed by Megan Benzschawel, who scored 19 of her game-high 28 points after halftime.
Leading 40-26 with a little over five minutes left in the game, Watertown turned it over on four straight possessions, allowing Monroe to claw their way back into contention. The Cheesemakers' rally fell just short in the end.
After the game, Coach Stollberg of Watertown said that they got what they expected: a tough fight against a tough opponent.
Monroe coach Sam Mathiason said that the team adjusted well down the stretch to the 1-3-1 zone, but added that the team needs to find the urgency they had in the final five minutes earlier in the game as the season progresses.
Watertown is now 3-1 in the conference, tied with Oregon, Monona Grove, and Edgewood for the lead in the Badger South. Monroe is a game back at 2-2.
Watertown: Teya Maas 17, Aubrey Schmutzler 9, Sydney Linskens 8, Lily Gifford 4, Riley Fredrick 2, Riley Quinn 2, Avalon Uecke 2
Monroe: Megan Benzschawel 28, Grace Tostrud 6, Taylor Jacobson 4, Grace Mathiason 2, Chloe Bunker 2