Merrill girls repel Raiders, but Indians end their season
The Bluejay girl captured their playoff opener over Medford last Tuesday, but stumbled early before rallying in Friday’s 62-55 loss at top-seeded Mosinee on Friday.
“We spotted them a lead then jumped into a zone and came back within 4-5 points more than once,” MHS coach Ross Reincke said. “At the end, Mosinee got a couple of steals that put the game out of reach.
“Basically, like the whole season, we spotted them a lead, didn’t give up and had a chance at the end.”
Mosinee jumped to a huge early 18-3 lead, but the Jays recovered within 31-26 by halftime. They trailed 45-35 after three quarters then out-scored the Indians 20-17 in the fourth.
“Our 2-3 zone worked really well,” Reincke said. “We only had nine turnovers. Mariah (Turenne) hit big shot after big shot down the stretch. We did a good job attacking the basket, Morgan Marnholtz in particular. Our two seniors really stepped up for us.”
Merrill’s last shot at winning came late.
“Patience Pyan drove with 30 seconds left and they called her for a charge,” Reincke said. “I didn’t see it that way. She was a nice spark for us off the bench in her first real varsity minutes.”
Bluejay scoring came from Turenne (24 points), Marnholtz (12), Maddix Bonnell (6 p), Morgan Pettit (4), Pyan (3), Hannah Marrier (2) and Chelsey LaMonica (2).
Mosinee put four in double figures, including Bailey Schultz (15), Autumn Michlig (12), Rochelle Koshalek (123) and Natasha Stuebbe (11).
Fresh off a disappointing finish that marred an excellent rally in the final regular–season game, the Bluejay girls opened the playoffs with Medford at home on Tuesday.
The two contests held some similarities – super Bluejay run to grab a big late lead, furious comeback by the visitors – with one resounding difference. Merrill’s season is still alive because the girls were able to withstand that resurgence and pull out a 63-55 triumph.
“The third quarter we played the game we wanted to all year – we pushed the ball, we were aggressive, and we made a ton of shots,” MHS coach Ross Reincke said. “Our run-and-jump worked well. But down the stretch, boy, they got hot though. Medford is a little helter-skelter. They attack the basket. They shot so well in the fourth quarter, 70%. Everything they threw up went in.
“Obviously, we have things to work on, but this is a big one for the girls, confidence-wise. As Emily Page said in the locker room, ‘We’re 1-0.’”
Three Mariah Turenne free throws closed out the half at 32-22, and she kept it rolling with a three-pointer to open the second half. The Jays pushed the lead all the way to 43-22 when Hannah Marrier converted a steal into a lay-up with 3:26 left in the third quarter. The Red Raiders chopped the margin to 47-34 in just two minutes with a help from two rare four-point plays. One came on a foul shot after a made trey and the other after an offensive rebound of the and-one miss.
MHS still led 49-36 after the end of the third, and it was still 54-41 after another Turenne three with 4:17 to go. But Medford dropped three threes while the Jays were missing 4-of-6 free throws to cut it to 56-52 with 1:18 remaining. But Starr Krenzke was fouled with Merrill killing clock, made the first free throw and Maddix Bonnell came up huge with a rebound of the second miss. She not only made the put-back, but she was fouled and swished the and-one for a 60-52 lead with :50 left.
A Krenzke steal and Turenne’s two free throws offset the fourth trey of the quarter for the Red Raiders, and Bonnell blocked the final three-point try to seal the 63-55 win.
Merrill had trailed 6-3 in the first quarter but responded with a 14-5 run to the end. Marrier and Bonnell threes put up the final six points. Bonnell hit another three and a short jumper in the middle of the second and Morgan Marnholtz canned a pull-up jump shot for a 27-15 margin with 3:02 to intermission.
Bluejay production was provided by Bonnell (16 p, 6 r, 3 a), Turenne (19 p, 2 r), Marnholtz (10 p, 5 a), Krenzke (5 p, 7 r, 3 st), Morgan Pettit (4 p, 8 r), Emily Page (2 p, 4 a), Marrier (5 p), Malayna Beyer (2 p) and Chelsey LaMonica (2 r).
MHS–FG: 22-55 (40%); 3 pt: 6-18 (33%). FT: 13-30 (43%).
The Bluejays posted a 6-18 record on the year but eight of their losses were by eights points or fewer.
“Outside of the Everest games, we played with everybody,” Reincke said. “We got so much better over the year. Record aside, the girls had so much fun and they wanted to play together for as long as they could. We’ll take it and build on it.
“I really like what we have coming. The girls are really hungry in all four grades. A lot of girls have potential to really contribute.”