Lady Panthers Edge Marshfield 63-62
By Ken McKenzie
The SPASH Panther girls’ basketball team eked out a 63-62 win over visiting Marshfield to go over .500 in Wisconsin Valley Conference play as the season begins to wind down. The win was pleasant payback for a 13-point SPASH loss at Marshfield back in mid-December.
Key to the win was filling the SPASH Fieldhouse with determination and extra effort by the host Lady Panthers. “Our girls earned this win tonight,” said Coach Derek Kirklewski. “They brought energy and effort to both ends of the floor tonight, but especially defensively. They really came to play and scrapped and rebounded really well and played a much improved team defense.”
“We haven’t always been consistent with our defense this year but they bounced back from a loss on Tuesday. I am incredibly proud of this group tonight. We had some foul trouble and there were a lot of girls who stepped in and did good things that made this win possible.”
SPASH freshman Maggie Negaard led the charge, scoring 27 on 10 of 17 shooting from the floor and five of seven from the line while Sarah Warner chipped in 13, including five of eight from the stripe.
With the loss, Marshfield fell three games off the pace (5-3) of undefeated D.C. Everest and is 13-5 on the season. SPASH is 5-4 in the WVC and 9-10 on the season and climbing.
Marshfield jumped in front, 5-0 before Negaard finally got SPASH on the board on a runout and drew the foul for a three-point play. Taylor Beadles connected from long range to close to 8-6 and Negaard snared the rebound of the second of consecutive Marshfield free throw misses and went end to end for the lay in to tie the game at eight-all.
Abby Bohanski penetrated the Marshfield defense with a drive to the hole but Lady Tigers’ Caitlin Michaelis drained a three to push Marshfield back on top, 11-10. Negaard scored on a shot after long rebound at 1:31 and scored again with 5.3 remaining in the quarter to give the hosts a 14-11 margin after eight minutes.
The Lady Panthers then used a 19-15 scoring advantage to go to intermission, up 33-26. Rachel Sullivan scored on a runner in the lane and Negaard hit again before Marshfield’s Ellie Kummer countered with a trey. Negaard benefited from Sullivan’s steal and quick feed to push the margin to six at 20-14.
Marshfield scored a couple times to narrow the gap and Negaard hit twin free throws at 4:14 of the second to boost to 22-18. Marshfield’s Makayla Scheueer hit twin free throws and another field goal for the second tie of the game at 22 before Warner hit twin free throws and Sullivan did likewise on the next trip. Warner added a jumper and then stared down her defenders on a 3 X 2 break and kept it for the lay in at 30-24.
Natalie Zuelke hit for Marshfield and Negaard drained a three from the left corner in the final ten seconds to earn the 33-26 halftime mark.
Scheuer opened the third with a trey, quickly matched by Bohanski. Marshfield scored twice to cut into the margin before Warner hit again from the lane. After twin free throws by Marshfield’s Scheuer, Morgan Drake scored off a great pass from Negaard at 3:53 to push to 40-35.
Michaelis hit again in transition but Negaard responded, hitting another jumper. Bohanski found her way through traffic on a nice screen release and Drake added a score off a great pass from Sullivan to push the lead to nine at 46-37 before Marshfield responded with consecutive hoops by Michaelis and a trey by Meg Bryan to narrow the margin at the end of three quarters, 46-42.
Warner split free tosses to open the fourth and Ema Fehrenbach finished with the left hand drive for Marshfield at 47-44. Warner scored off a baseball pass from Bohanski to go up five. But Marshfield wasn’t going down without a strong fight on this night, with Martha Kupfer hitting twin free throws and Michaelis scoring off a runner to pull back to within one at 49-48.
Negaard hit again as SPASH tried to hold Marshfield at bay but their defense cracked a bit as Fehrenbach glided down the lane to score off the glass to again close to one. Drake split a free throw pair with 3:09 to play but Marshfield came away empty on the front end of a bonus; missing an opportunity. Negaard made them pay with another trey, this time from the right corner as SPASH led 55-50.
Michaelis hit twin free throws to help Marshfield climb ever closer once again at 55-52. Sydney Neale scored off a press break for SPASH but the next time the Lady Panthers struggled to inbound the ball, burning twin time outs. Negaard drained twin free throws to earn some breathing room at 59-52 at 1:34 in the game.
SPASH twice missed front end bonus free throws that might have sealed the deal; instead Fehrenbach hit a jumper to close to five. SPASH again had some trouble with the inbounds against the press and lost possession. This time Marshfield’s Ellie Kummer hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 59-57 and when the Lady Panthers supposedly turned the ball over again, the door was open for Marshfield once more.
Kummer hit again, this time to tie at 59-all with: 26 remaining. Bohanski was fouled and hit both ends of the super bonus at 21.9 seconds and Warner repeated that trick at 8.9 after Marshfield miss and SPASH rebound. Kummer hit yet another three point basket to again close to one at 63-62 with 1.3 seconds remaining. Despite missing their last twin free tosses with .3 on the clock, SPASH escaped the late pressure to finish with the victory.
“Down the stretch we took care of the ball pretty well, with the one exception (failure to get ball inbounds),” said Coach Kirklewski. “The girls weren’t rattled with the Marshfield full court press and a couple of times were really smart with the basketball in attacking the press and finding the open girl for an easy look.”
The SPASH girls now have a bye in WVC action Tuesday before traveling with the boys’ team to play at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln in a boys/girls’ doubleheader next Friday night. Boys begin play at 6 PM,, with girls to follow at 7:45.
SPASH Scoring: Taylor Beadles 3, Sarah Warner 13, Abby Bohanski 9, Sydney Neale 2, Rachel Sullivan 4, Morgan Drake 5, Maggie Negaard 27