Fresh off a solid win over Wausau West, the Merrill girls were hoping to parlay that into a solid WVC run.
But the home-team SPASH Panthers lashed out in Friday’s contest, building leads of 12-4, 27-11 and 45-19 through the first three quarters, and closed out a 54-27 win with a 9-8 fourth.
“They’re definitely a decent team, but we just didn’t play well,” MHS coach Melissa Yuska said. “It was frustrating coming off the win the week before. We were hoping to build off of that.
“They took us out of our game offensively and defensively, and shot quite well themselves. They made quite a few three-pointers on us, and we shot 17%. It was the opposite of the week before.”
Point built that early lead with easy buckets in transition.
“They pressured us defensively from the start,” Yuska said. “We might have scored first, but two minutes into the game they took control. Our passing was poor and we got a little frazzled with their pressure. We looked timid and we just weren’t well-prepared. After a few minutes into the game it became an uphill battle for us. They took us out of our rhythm and we couldn’t stop them defensively.”
Yuska did see a positive.
“I felt they never quit,” she said. “That says a lot about the girls because they had really built a lead.
“But coming off that win, we’ve got to be able to find some consistency from game to game.”
Andi English (7 p, 6 r) and Renee Sladek (3 p, 11 r) paced the team. Additions came from: Liz Smith (6 p, 3 r); Aly Brandvold (5 p); Jourdyn Mootz (4 st); and Ellen Donner (3 p).