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The Stevens Point Area Senior High girls basketball team claimed a share of the Wisconsin Valley Conference title with a 35-27 win over D.C. Everest at home on Thursday night.

SPASH will split the crown with Wausau West after a defensive battle against an Evergreens team that came into the game having won seven of its last eight matches.

“Nobody was shooting the lights out tonight, our defense had something to do with it; I thought their defense was really good,” said Panthers head coach David Hauser. “We just made one or two more baskets down the stretch.”

The teams open the playoffs Tuesday, with D.C. Everest at home against Marshfield and SPASH at home against Neenah.

But Thursday, Everest had the upper hand early in the evening, working the ball inside on offense and using its full-court pressure defense effectively. The Panthers shot just 1 for 11 in the first quarter and the Evergreens got out to a 8-2 lead.

“At the beginning of the game, we were kind of flustered,” said SPASH senior Heather Woyak. “Even though our shots weren’t going down right away, they started going down.”

The Evergreens held SPASH to just two baskets for almost 12 minutes, building a 12-4 lead with just more than four minutes left in the first half. But the Panthers went on a 12-1 run to give the SPASH a 16-13 lead. It began with a McKenzie Taggatz three-pointer before Nicki Hauser made a three to give SPASH its first lead of the game at 14-13 with 2:23 left in the second quarter.

“They’re a good team and they started making some shots and we just couldn’t overcome that,” said D.C. Everest head coach Matt Bullis. “When they’re making shots, they’re tough to stop.”

SPASH took a 16-15 lead into the half but gave it back early in the third as Taylor Hodell snatched a rebound and drew contact on the putback bucket. The Evergreens sophomore had a team-high 10 points.

But the Panthers answered back. They were clinging to a 22-18 lead with less than a minute to go, and Everest held the ball for the last shot. After a miss, Taggatz got the loose ball with six seconds left and pushed it up the floor. She found Woyak on the right wing and the senior made a three-pointer as time expired with a defender running at her. That play capped a 7-0 run to end the quarter to give SPASH a 25-18 lead. Woyak had a game-high 11 points.

“McKenzie just got the ball and… luckily I was there and obviously I knew there wasn’t much time left, so I just shot it and I didn’t know I was going to make it, but I’m definitely glad I did,” Woyak said. “I hear the entire fan section going crazy and all I could do was smile.”

“I think it was one of the few plays tonight we just didn’t think about it,” Hauser said. “I think it was a huge momentum turner for us.”

Everest got to within 30-27 with less than a minute to go before SPASH pulled away for the win.

DC Everest 8 7 3 9 27
SPASH 2 14 9 10 35

D.C. EVEREST (27): Taylor Hodell 10, Brianna Ziolkowski 6.

SPASH (35): Heather Woyak 11, Taylor Smola 6, McKenzie Taggatz 6.

Records: SPASH 17-5; D.C. Everest 16-6.

The Stevens Point Area Senior High girls basketball team claimed a share of the Wisconsin Valley Conference title with a 35-27 win over D.C. Everest at home on Thursday night.

SPASH will split the crown with Wausau West after a defensive battle against an Evergreens team that came into the game having won seven of its last eight matches.

“Nobody was shooting the lights out tonight, our defense had something to do with it; I thought their defense was really good,” said Panthers head coach David Hauser. “We just made one or two more baskets down the stretch.”

The teams open the playoffs Tuesday, with D.C. Everest at home against Marshfield and SPAHS at home against Neenah.

But Thursday, Everest had the upper hand early in the evening, working the ball inside on offense and using its full-court pressure defense effectively. The Panthers shot just 1 for 11 in the first quarter and the Evergreens got out to a 8-2 lead.

“At the beginning of the game, we were kind of flustered,” said SPASH senior Heather Woyak. “Even though our shots weren’t going down right away, they started going down.”

The Evergreens held SPASH to just two baskets for almost 12 minutes, building a 12-4 lead with just more than four minutes left in the first half. But the Panthers went on a 12-1 run to give the SPASH a 16-13 lead. It began with a McKenzie Taggatz three-pointer before Nicki Hauser made a three to give SPASH its first lead of the game at 14-13 with 2:23 left in the second quarter.

“They’re a good team and they started making some shots and we just couldn’t overcome that,” said D.C. Everest head coach Matt Bullis. “When they’re making shots, they’re tough to stop.”

SPASH took a 16-15 lead into the half but gave it back early in the third as Taylor Hodell snatched a rebound and drew contact on the putback bucket. The Evergreens sophomore had a team-high 10 points.

But the Panthers answered back. They were clinging to a 22-18 lead with less than a minute to go, and Everest held the ball for the last shot. After a miss, Taggatz got the loose ball with six seconds left and pushed it up the floor. She found Woyak on the right wing and the senior made a three-pointer as time expired with a defender running at her. That play capped a 7-0 run to end the quarter to give SPASH a 25-18 lead. Woyak had a game-high 11 points.

“I think it was one of the few plays tonight we just didn’t think about it,” Hauser said. “I think it was a huge momentum turner for us.”

Everest got to within 30-27 with less than a minute to go before SPASH pulled away for the win.

DC Everest 8 7 3 9 27
SPASH 2 14 9 10 35

D.C. EVEREST (27): Taylor Hodell 10, Brianna Ziolkowski 6.

SPASH (35): Heather Woyak 11, Taylor Smola 6, McKenzie Taggatz 6.

Records: SPASH 17-5; D.C. Everest 16-6.

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