When it’s all said and done at the end of a long season, the Stevens Point Area Senior High girls basketball team may be able to look back at a short three-minute stretch in the second quarter of Friday night’s game Wausau West as a key time that kept the Panthers in position to defend their conference title.
Trailing by two points three minutes into the period with their two leading scorers in serious foul trouble, the Panthers put together a 10-0 run to go up eight. They maintained that lead until halftime and from there, senior Taylor Smola took over, scoring 18 of her game-high 24 points to give SPASH a convincing 55-38 victory over the Warriors at the West Fieldhouse.
The win improved SPASH’s record to 8-4 overall and kept the Panthers within one game of first place in the Wisconsin Valley Conference at 4-1.
“I feel like the kids that came in off the bench lifted our play up a little bit,” SPASH coach David Hauser said. “Bryana Reisenauer came in and did a great job handling the ball Sarah Warner and Savannah Soik played good defense.
“I was just real happy with the way we played defense tonight, even though Caity Coleman got to the rim and we got in foul trouble early…The kids answered the bell when they needed to.”
Like the second quarter when leading scorer Heather Woyak was on the bench with three fouls and was later joined by Smola with three. Although Smola was on the floor during the 10-0 run, it was Nicki Hauser and McKenzie Taggatz that hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the middle of the spurt that was sandwiched by basket in the post from Haley Kolbeck and another jumper from Taggatz.
“They executed very well with their offensive opportunities and I tell you, they stuffed us on defense,” said West coach Pat Galligan, whose team was held almost 18 points below its season average. “They really made things very uncomfortable for us on offense and we didn’t do what we needed to do to push back I guess.”
SPASH (55): Savannah Soik 1, Haley Kolbeck 6, Heather Woyak 6, McKenzie Taggatz 12, Nicki Hauser 6, Taylor Smola 24. FG: 20-33, 61%. FT: 10-13, 77%.
WEST (38): Kierra Kohlbeck 2, Anna Brown 8, Jasmin Samz 5, Katy Cihlar 8, Caterina Morice 2, Caity Coleman 11, Ellie Hrdina 2. FG: 13-29, 45%. FT: 12-17, 71%.
3-pointers: SPASH 5 (Woyak 2, Taggatz 2, Hauser); West none.
Records: SPASH 8-4, 4-1 WVC; West 7-6, 3-2 WVC.