Evergreens pull away in battle of WVC unbeatens
The Bluejay girls faced an early chance for top conference position, but they were foiled when visiting D.C. Everest pulled out a 46-38 win.
The game was the closer of Friday’s co-ed double-header in the MHS Fieldhouse.
“When you look at the film, in all of our losses we kind of hurt ourselves,” MHS coach Melissa Yuska said. “We had a lot of opportunities to win this game but we didn’t put our best foot forward.
“In the second half Everest really took us out of our game offensively. They forced us into a lot of turnovers with their press and that’s not like us. I think we weren’t mentally ready for this game. It was a very sloppy game.”
The teams tied at 10-10 in the first quarter and Merrill actually edged ahead 201-9 by halftime. But the Evergreens grabbed a solid 33-28 by the end of the third and closed out the win with a 13-10 fourth.
“We really did a poor job of stopping their penetration, and our helpside (defense) was late,” Yuska said. “It was more our half-court set defense was slow on what typically we aren’t slow on.
“They flustered us and made quite a few free throws. They had added fire and by the end we were kind of done.”
One game is hardly going to dent the Bluejays’ overall chances. They are sitting at 7-4 overall and 3-1 in the WVC. Everest improved to 4-0 and 9-1.
“The positive thing is we’re making mistakes that are correctable,” Yuska said. “But we’re past the midway point of the season, so we should be past these mistakes.
“The girls are hard workers and don’t like to lose, so hopefully this will just be a bump in the road.
“We got back to practice Sunday night and the girls were very receptive to what we’re trying to improve on. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Merrill’s Renee Sladek led the way with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Other offerings came from: Lindsay Krueger (6 p, 3 r, 3 st); Dawn Leland (4 p, 4 r, 4 bl); Anna Finnell (6 p); and Reegan Byer (4 p).
Everest did force MHS into 18 turnovers. D.C.E. was paced by 16 points from Lauren Anklam, who hit 7-of-10 free throws in the fourth.
Merrill–FG: 14-39 (36%); FT: 9-19 (47%). D.C.E.–FG: 14; FT: 17-26 (65%).
The Jays are two games away from the Valley mid-point.
“We have a big week ahead of us, with East (yesterday) and Marshfield on Friday,” Yuska said. “If we can get two wins, we’ll end the first round of the conference with a 5-1 record. That will put us in good position.
“Hopefully these losses will help us for the second half of conference and when the post-season rolls around. It would have been a big confidence booster if we had won, but it’s early.”
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