The Merrill girls played three games in a five-day span and even though they didn’t find a way to win, they kept pace with solid teams.
Their closest shot came at home on Saturday, when Onalaska used a 20-16 fourth quarter to pull out a 48-45 win.
“They came in at 15-6, the top team in their regional,” MHS coach Ross Reincke said. “It was a really good game all the way through. We were able to push the tempo the way we wanted. They are very big and physical inside. That was tough for us.
“We had a 5-6 point lead then they made a run at us.”
Merrill fell behind 9-4 in the first, but responded with 12-9 and 13-10 quarters for a 29-28 edge going into the fourth.
Merrill was bolstered by Mariah Turenne (16 p, 2 r, 6-of-12 shooting including 3-of-6 from three), Starr Krenzke (8 p, 6 r), Maddix Bonnell (11 p, 2 r, 4-of-8 f.g.), Morgan Marnholtz (6 p), Emily Page (2 p) and Rylee Folz (2 r).
MHS–FG: 16-37 (43%); 3 pt: 5-9 (56%). FT: 8-13 (62%).
The Jays started well and finished strong in Tuesday’s home game with Shawano (6-9, 8-12), but the visitors controlled the middle frames. Shawano boosted a 16-14 edge into a 26-17 lead and extended it to 37-20 in the third. Merrill held a 13-8 advantage in the fourth.
The Jays were led by Marnholtz (11 p, 3 a), Hannah Marrier (8 p), Bonnell (2 p, 4 r, 3 a), Krenzke (2 p, 6 r), Turenne 5 p) and Chelsey LaMonica (4 p).
Point well made
Merrill stuck within 14-13 in the first quarter of Friday’s contest, but the Panthers big break came in a 14-4 second.The Jays used a 20-16 thir to cut it to 44-37 before SPASH closed it out with a 16-12 fourth.
“We had more turnovers than we needed and spotted them a nice lead,” Reincke said. “We got tiwthin a 4-5 point lead but couldn’t get any closer than that. The girls played hard, though, and they didn’t quit.”
Merrill was paced by Morgan Pettit (14 r, 8 r), Page (8 p, 4 r, 5 a), Turenne (10 p, 6 r), Bonnell (10 p, 6 r, 4-8 f.g.), Marnholtz (2 p, 4 a), Folz (3 p, 3 r), Krenzke (2 p, 3 r) and LaMonica (4 r).
MHS–FG: 18-58 (31%); 3 pt: 3-13 (23%). FT: 10-18 (56%).
The 5-16 Jays (2-9 WVC) brought Wis. Rapids (4-7, 7-13) to town on Thursday to close out Valley play. They host Medford (3-8, 5-14) to open the playoffs next Tuesday.