The Bluejay girls played one of their best games of the season on the big stage, but a late rally by St. Francis dropped them to another defeat.
Competing in the WBCA Holiday Classic in the UW-Madison Fieldhouse, the girls turned a 13-10 halftime deficit into a 27-22 lead with a 17-point outburst. But St. Francis reversed it with an 18-2 fourth quarter to seal a 40-29 win.
“First off all, it was a great experience for the girls to go down and play in the UW-Fieldhouse,” MHS coach Melissa Yuska said. “I was really glad we were able to be part of the tournament and have that experience for the girls.
“Unfortunately it was another tough loss, as we were leading going into the 4th quarter. We just couldn’t score in the 4th. Our only points came from two free throws. We felt like we were getting good looks, they just weren’t falling for us. It was a 3 point game with a minute and a half left and they made their free throws to put the game away.”
St. Francis was unconscious from the foul line, particularly in the fourth quarter when the Mariners connected on 12-of-14 attempts.
Although the loss dropped Merrill to 0-7 overall, there were additional gains from the game.
“On a positive note, we only had nine turnovers in the game,” Yuska said. “We have been working in practice on eliminating the travels and the bad passes and the girls carried that over into the game which was nice to see. Saint Francis had 23 turnovers, 14 of which were steals by us, which is great to see. But we are not turning those turnovers into points and that is something that we need to do.”
The girls were paced by Andi English (5 p, 5 r, 3 bl), Lindasy Krueger (7 p, 4 r), Renee Sladek (4 p, 7 r), Emma Sowieja (4 p), Ellen Donner (4 st) and Aly Brandvold (3 r).