Pacelli girls bounce back to end Sentry Classic appearance with win
By John Kemmeter
After dropping its opener at the 47th Sentry Classic, the Pacelli Catholic High School girls basketball team rebounded with a win at Bennett Court at Quandt Fieldhouse Saturday, Dec. 29.
The Cardinals (7-2) got off to a slow start in a loss to Saint Mary Catholic (7-4) Thursday, Dec. 27, but came back with a 38-point win over Wautoma (0-11) Saturday to finish 1-1 at the tournament.
“Looking at it basically as our home tournament, along with SPASH, it’s definitely good to represent your school and have a little bit of pride,” said Pacelli girls basketball head coach Jake Jalling. “After Thursday’s game, it was kind of a letdown for what we wanted to show the community, what we are as a team.
“It was good for us to kind of rebound and come out and smack down these guys a little bit and show everybody else what we are capable of doing when we show up for a full game,” he said.
In the first game of the Sentry Classic Thursday morning, Pacelli struggled out of the gate, as it made four field goals in the first half against Saint Mary Catholic and trailed 21-10 at halftime.
Saint Mary Catholic outscored the Cardinals 30-26 in the second half on the way to a 51-36 win, as junior forward Sarah Mueller had 16 points and nine rebounds, and sophomore guard Sami Miller added nine points to lead Pacelli.
“Our energy just was not there from the tip,” said Jalling. “We just didn’t match what they brought.
“I’m extremely disappointed that we came out as flat as we did,” he said. “It just wasn’t our team out there today, so that’s kind of disappointing that that’s the team that gets showcased to everybody.”
The Cardinals looked to rebound Saturday at noon against Wautoma, where they held a 9-5 lead with 10:43 to go in the first half, then went on a 16-2 run to take a 25-7 lead into halftime.
Pacelli continued to roll, as it opened the second half on a 24-4 run to build a 49-11 lead with 6:43 left, and went on to a 51-13 win.
“Once we kind of settled into the second half, we came out and just started putting points up on the board right away,” said Jalling. “And we just really never looked back.”
Mueller had 16 points, as she was named to the All-Classic Team and captured the Don Friday Leading Scorer Award for the Girls American Division, while senior forward Amanda Klasinski scored 15 points, and Sami Miller finished with 10 points.
“I love playing here; it’s kind of like NBA Christmas Day,” said Klasinski. “It’s a big tournament for us, everyone comes and watches, it’s big for the community, and it’s just fun.”
Following a nonconference game against Bowler at the Pacelli Student Activities Center at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, the Cardinals will resume conference play at home against Wild Rose at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, as Pacelli (4-0) sits atop the Central Wisconsin Conference South standings ahead of Rosholt (3-1), Port Edwards (3-1) and Wild Rose (2-2).
“We’re very excited for our next tough games coming up, but we know we’ve got to get after it,” said Mueller. “And we’re excited to see what we can do.”
“I tell the girls every time, whether it’s a win or a loss, as soon as you get in the locker room, it’s done with now,” said Jalling. “If it’s a win, enjoy it, if it’s a loss maybe think about it for a little bit for the day, but you can’t dwell on it.
“Take pride in being a good team, but a good team shows up for all 36 (minutes), they don’t just kind of walk in thinking that they’re going to be OK and good to go,” he said. “So that’s our focus now, is making sure that we play a full 36 minutes.”