Rhinelander dropped the Merrill girls into a hole at the start of Saturday’s road game and the Jays were never able to fully recover.
The Hodags grabbed a 17-9 edge and gradually bumped the difference to 13 points over the next two quarters before the squads played to a 7-7 tie in the fourth quarter of the 53-40 defeat.
“The girls played hard and did some really good things, but it’s very hard to win when you spot a team a 10-point lead to start the game,” MHS coach Ross Reincke said of the early second-quarter difference. “Morgan Marnholtz played very well defensively. Maddix Bonnell has really stepped up as a freshman and led the team in both rebounds and points coming off the bench.
“I look forward to games starting with some consistency this week with games on both Tuesday and Friday.”
Rhinelander increased its early margin to 31-20 by halftime and 46-33 through three quarters.
Bonnell paced the squad with 13 points and 5 rebounds, while Mariah Turenne gave 13 points – with 3-of-5 shooting from three-point territory – and 4 assists. Other contributions came from: Marholtz (6 p, 3 r); Rylee Folz (3 p, 4 steals); Malyana Beyer (4 r); and Hannah Marrier (3 p).
The Hodags were paced by 17 points from Kylie Hunter and Brianna Gilbert gave 15 points and 11 rebounds.
MHS–FG: 8-52 (15%); 3 pt. 4-9 (44%). FT: 13-18 (72%).
Soaring past the Hawks
The Bluejays also dropped a 51-13 contest to defending Valley champion D.C. Everest on Tuesday night. The Evergreens jumped out to a 14-4 margin then blanked Merrill in the second to lead 28-4. D.C.E. exploded for 21 in the third and the Jays out-scored their hosts 4-3 in the fourth.
Merrill was led by Marrier (4 points), Kennedy Soderberg (3 p), Folz (3 rebounds), Marnholtz (2 p), Turenne (2 p) and Chelsey LaMonica (2 p). Everest didn’t have any scorers in double digits, but six scored at least 5.