After taking a 2-0 lead in the opening minute of the game, Whitnall struggled to get into a rhythm offensively against Cudahy. The Falcons dug themselves an early hole, trailing 27-6 at halftime. The story never reversed course in the second half, and the Falcons fell, 61-17.
Whitnall (12-11) finished the game shooting just 18 percent while committing 18 turnovers.
“We couldn’t score early,” Whitnall coach Keith Larson said. “We got down early. Give them credit. They beat us tonight. We didn’t play our best. It’s unfortunate in our last game of the year. We have to live with this now. Coming in, I thought we were prepared. It just didn’t happen.”
As Woodland East Conference foes, Whitnall and Cudahy split the two regular-season meetings. But the Falcons dropped seven of their final nine games to end the season.
“The last part of the season, our execution on offense (struggled),” Larson said. “Defensively, we were out of sync and didn’t communicate. We just don’t execute.”
Only five players scored for the Falcons, with Jaden Kelley leading the way with 6 points. Cudahy held Whitnall leading scorer Sierra Grubor, who was averaging 18.7 points per game, to just 5 points.
The Falcons were also outrebounded by the Packers, 30-10.
“I’m extremely pleased with the way we defended today,” Cudahy coach Bob Maronde said. “I thought the girls came out as a team and competed as a team. We had great ball pressure. We took away their best stuff.”
In the early part of the first half, Whitnall committed turnover after turnover, which allowed Cudahy to go on a nearly 6-minute, 11-0 scoring run to take a 16-4 lead.
Trailing by 22 points at halftime, the Falcons came out with effort in the second half. But once again, the Packers went on a 14-0 run over a 7-minute stretch to secure a 56-13 advantage.
“We couldn’t execute,” Larson said. “Part of it was their defense, but part of it was our lack of understanding and knowledge on the execution, which there’s no excuse for. We do it in practice, but for whatever reason, tonight, wasn’t meant to be.”
Cudahy’s Hannah Kulas registered a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Packers to their fifth straight victory. Kaytlin Sagan also scored in double figures, tallying 13 points.
“Hannah (Kulas) does a great job,” Maronde said. “She’s really talented. Very unselfish. She’s a very nice player.”
With Whitnall’s season over, Larson hopes his younger players use the loss against Cudahy as a learning experience for next season. The Falcons lose six players to graduation this year, including Grubor.
“We have a lot of young kids coming back,” Larson said. “We have three juniors coming back and six sophomores. Hopefully, this gives them some motivation. It should be motivation for them with opportunities there for them. You don’t want to end the season this way, and they were a part of it.”