By Jeremy Ratliff
Monday night, the Bluejay varsity girls returned to their home court of the MHS Field House once again for the finale of their three-game home stand with the Shawano Hawks.
The ladies took on their early-season form in jumping out to a decisive and well stated 27-18 lead at the half. Despite a spirited rally effort by the Hawks in the second, the Jays held on to a 28-27 period lead for the 55-45 win.
“Allison Winter Reed enjoyed a game high 13 points and Chelsey LaMonica pulled seven boards in a solid 10-point victory,” comments head coach Joelene Weix.
“Reed did a nice job finishing around the basket, and the perimeter made some nice interior passes. We showed a lot of balance in scoring, with 10 different players scoring. Tonight was a very nice nonconference win to start the busy week.”
As Weix alluded to, Winter-Reed spearheaded the Bluejay effort with 13 points (5/5 FG, 3/4 FT, 5r). Junior guards Patience Pyan (3/7 FG, 2/4 3pt, 4/5 FT, 2a, 2r, 6st) and Maddix Bonnell (4/5 FG, 1/2 3pt, 1/2 FT, 3a, 6r) continue to make the double-digit club their mainstay with 12 and 10 points on the night.
SNO: 18 27-45
MRL: 27 28-55
Thursday evening, the ladies hosted WVC powerhouse Stevens Point, currently ranked second in the mid-season conference standings.
The Jays came out of the blocks with their motor screaming in piling up a respectable 28-24 lead over the Panthers, The second half would prove to be a textbook performance by the ladies in holding Point to just 18 points, while cutting loose with another 28 points to sew up the 56-42 upset.
“After struggling on Tuesday against West, we were able to get into a nice rhythm offensively tonight,” comments proud head coach Joelene Weix. “We made the open looks and distributed the ball well. I was pleased with our defense in the second half. Patience Pyan really connected tonight from the floor, shooting at a high percentage. The team did a nice job finding her in the open spots.”
As Weix alluded to, Pyan soared with a season high 27 points (10/13, 7/8 3pt, 3r, st). Maddix Bonnell fired in 9 points (3/8 FG, 1/2 3pt, 2/2 FT, 5r, st). Chelsey LaMonica (2/2 FG, r, st) and Allison Winter-Reed (2/2 FG, 3r) balanced out with four points each. The win leaves the Jays ranked fourth in the Valley (2-3/6-4 ovr).
SPASH: 24 18-42
MERRL: 28 28-56
Last Tuesday night, the ladies resumed WVC action in playing host to Wausau West who has yet to stagger in conference play.
The Warriors came out with a vengenace, pushing the Jays back on their heels with a 37-point scoring effort to take a comfortable 20-point lead at the half. The second period would show little relief for the Merrill ladies as West cut loose with another 28 points to take home the 65-35 win.
“West came out aggressive and fast and we were on our heels,” commented Weix. “We had difficulty getting into our offense and the West defense had a lot to do with that. With us out of sync, that created some rushed shots and turnovers. We did not shoot well overall.”
Despite the lopsided loss, junior Maddix Bonnell enjoyed a solid night with 15 points (4/11 FG, 7/8 FT, 3r). Patience Pyan followed up with 6 points (2/8 FG, 2/2 FT, r, st) while Lindsey Casper drilled out 5 (1/2 3pt, 2/2 FT, 2r).
WSW: 37 28-65
MRL: 17 18-35