JACKSON — Morgan Adams played 90 games for Kewaskum prior to Thursday night.

The senior forward has had many memorable moments in an Indians’ uniform. But in a critical East Central Conference girls basketball contest, Adams picked the perfect time to have the night of her young life.

The 6-foot Adams had a career-high 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, added three steals and powered Kewaskum to a 55-35 win at Kettle Moraine Lutheran. Indians standout senior forward Madi Dogs — a New Jersey Institute of Technology recruit — added 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Stay up-to-date on all the latest Washington County sports news with a subscription: Click here

“I’ve been begging Mo to shoot more,” Kewaskum coach Mark Maley said of Adams. “She has the ability to become a scorer and I want her to think more offensively than she has been.”

Adams, who was averaging 9.6 points per game this season, picked an ideal time to show off a bevy of post moves, including a nifty flip hook that she used repeatedly against the Chargers.

“I thought I should listen,” the unselfish Adams said of shooting more. “Me and Madi (Dogs) go into the gym most mornings, stay after, work on our shots a lot. And I’ve been working on my little jump hook in practice … and after the first couple I felt good and just kept going with it I guess.”

Kewaskum, which has never won a conference title in girls basketball, kept those dreams alive. The Indians improved to 15-5 overall and 7-2 in the league and stayed within one game of conference- leading Waupun (14-5, 81). Those teams will meet in Kewaskum on Feb. 10.

The Chargers, who defeated the Indians on Dec. 9, fell to 12-9, 7-2.

“I think this was definitely one of our best games of the season,” said Dogs, who missed the previous two games with an ankle injury. “When we played them earlier this year, we were still a little out of sorts, getting things settled in with our new coach. So it was really great to be able to see us play this way against them later in the season because it just shows how much we’ve grown as a team.”

When the teams met two months ago, Kewaskum used a triangle-and-two to try slowing down KML standout sophomores Makenzie Luehring and Madeline Leffel. It didn’t work as the Chargers’ dynamic duo combined for 42 points in a 55-52 win.

This time, the Indians put senior guard Grace Leitheiser on Luehring and junior guard Abby Gerhartz on Leffel, which allowed Dogs and Adams — Kewaskum’s two 6-footers — to freelance. The defensive adjustment worked like a charm as Luehring was held to 12 points — 10 below her seasonaverage — and Leffel had all 11 of her points in the second half.

Overall, KML shot just 12-of-44 from the floor and had 18 turnovers.

“We’ve made adjustments through the year and I think we’ve really found the sweet spot,” Adams said. “We’re in that sweet spot right now.”

It’s understandable why the Indians needed some time to find that sweet spot.

Russell Thull stepped down as Kewaskum’s coach last summer, and Maley wasn’t hired until early October. That didn’t give Maley much time to learn his personnel and implement his systems, but Kewaskum seems to have things figured out now.

Not only did the Indians play lights-out defense against the Chargers, Adams led an offense that shot 44.4% from the field (20of-45). Kewaskum also held a 39-27 rebounding edge.

“I’d say top to bottom, this was our best game of the year,” said Maley, a longtime girls coach at West Bend West who was later an assistant coach at Cardinal Stritch. “I really like how we’re coming along.”

A big reason for that Thursday was the play of Adams.

Adams had 14 of her points in the first half as Kewaskum raced to a 30-18 lead at the break Adams made 4-of-6 field goals and all six of her free throws as Kewaskum made sure a potentially rowdy crowd never had a chance to become boisterous.

Dogs, the Indians’ leading scorer (14.1), picked up two early fouls and sat for 6 minutes in the first half. Dogs still made her presence felt with six points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the first half — but it was the fast start from Adams that helped the Indians gain control early.

“It was crucial,” Dogs said of Adams’ big first half. “Morgan was really able to step up on offense and set the tone on defense. That’s exactly what we needed.”

Kewaskum, which never trailed, raced to a 16-6 lead behind eight quick points from Adams. First, Adams hit a 15-footer, then she made a pair of free throws, a jump hook and a lay-up as the Indians raced to a 10-point advantage.

“I guess I was just feeling pretty good,” Adams said.

KML answered with an 8-0 run, though, and pulled within 16-14 with 8 minutes left in the half. Senior guard Melanie Meinert had the first five points in that burst and Luehring drilled a 3pointer from the top of the key as the Chargers fought their way back into the game.

The Indians were unfazed, though, responding with a 10-2 run of their own and pushing their lead back to 26-16. Both Adams and Dogs had four points in that spurt and KML had just two points in seven possessions.

By halftime, the Indians’ lead had grown to 30-18.

“I have a nice head start with those two,” Maley said of Adams and Dogs. “They’re both college players and are just terrific for us.”

The Chargers opened the second half on an 8-2 burst — with four points from both Leffel and Luehring — and closed within 3226.

But the Chargers never came any closer thanks to the Indians’ lights-out defense and offensive efficiency. Kewaskum led, 38-31, when it embarked on a 9-2 run midway through the second half, surged to a 47-33 advantage and largely ended things.

Adams had four points during that game-changing burst and the Indians held the Chargers to just two points in a 7-minute stretch.

Kewaskum now travels to Berlin (1-8 in the league) Tuesday, then hosts Waupun in a game that’s likely to decide the conference champion.

“We’re really excited for that (Waupun) game,” Dogs said. “We think it will be a big challenge a really good opportunity for us to show how much we’ve grown.”

That was certainly evident Thursday night.