Prep girls basketball: Late basket lifts Marshfield over West

Prep girls basketball: Late basket lifts Marshfield over West

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Prep girls basketball: Late basket lifts Marshfield over West

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WAUSAU

The Marshfield girls basketball team could only muster one basket in the fourth quarter of its game Thursday against Wausau West, but it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Tigers.

Ellie Fehrenbach’s short bank shot in the post with three seconds left proved to be the difference as the Tigers edged the Warriors, 46-44, in the Wisconsin Valley Conference regular-season finale for both teams at the West Fieldhouse.

The victory was the ninth straight for Marshfield, which finished second in the Valley with a 10-2 league mark and 15-7 overall record. West fell to 7-5 in league play and 13-9 overall.

“We just had a goal to finish out the season with nine wins in a row,” said Fehrenbach, who finished with a team-high 13 points. “We wanted to prove to everybody that we could do this.”

The Tigers weren’t able to prove their point until the closing seconds of the game when Fehrenbach was able to get a reload after West’s Katy Cihlar had stripped the ball away on her initial attempt at a shot.

“That was not part of the plan,” Fehrenbach said. “The plan was to get it in to me and get a foul and go the free throw line.

“As soon as she stripped it away, I was like ‘Oh, no, I’ve got to get it back and finish the play.'”

The 6-foot junior did exactly that to allow the Tigers to escape with the victory despite scoring only four points in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors had tied it at 44 on a 3-pointer from the deep right corner by Kierra Kohlbeck with 23 seconds left. They still had 1.6 seconds left after a timeout to try and tie the game, but a three-quarter court heave by Jasmin Samz came up well short.

“It was a battle,” said Marshfield coach Heidi Michaelis, whose team won by 15 in its first meeting with the Warriors. “West always comes ready to go and Cihlar didn’t play in that last game. She brings a whole different element with her toughness and rebounding ability. So to come here and find a way to win says a lot about our kids and I’m very proud of them.”

Despite the one field goal and four total points in the fourth quarter, the Tigers found a way to win by limiting West to just two field goals and seven total points in the final period.

“I thought we were getting the shots we wanted, they were just rimming out,” Michaelis said of her team’s 1-for-8 fourth quarter. “It was not a matter of turning the ball over (1 turnover), the shots just weren’t going. But we always talk about if we don’t score, they don’t score and we’ve got to come up with some big stops. I thought we did that at the end.”

The Tigers did a good job of slowing down Samz and Cihlar in the second half after they had combined for 21 of West’s 30 points in the first half.

Marshfield employed a box-and-one defense on Samz, who had 11 of her game-high 15 points before the break.

“We did that in the second half of the first game as well because she is so good at finding gaps and getting to the rim,” Michaelis said. “With the box-and-one, we feel more in control making sure she has to work extremely hard to get to the rim.”

“To be honest, we practiced against it,” West coach Pat Galligan said of the box-and-one defense. “We had good ball movement, we just didn’t get shots to fall (5-for-22 in the second half).

“We have to make the right basketball play and Kierra’s 3 was an example of having the hot hand executing it. Jas is an outstanding player, but we’re best we are best when we are a basketball team and Jas would be the first to say that.”

The game was tight early with seven lead changes in a first quarter that culminated with a 7-0 West run to go up 17-9. Marshfield rallied to take a brief lead late in the second quarter before West countered with a 4-0 finish to take a 30-27 lead into halftime.

An 11-2 run in the final 5:31 of the third quarter allowed the Tigers to take a 42-37 lead into the fourth quarter when both offenses went cold.

Galligan said the Warriors were not surprised by Marshfield’s final offensive set, when guard Caitlin Michaelis got the ball on the wing and dumped it into Fehrenbach with two West defenders rushing at her.

“We talked about what they were going to do and made the initial play (stripping the ball away) but didn’t secure the loose ball,” Galligan said. “But I was extremely impressed by the girls’ drive to come back, work hard and give every effort they could to try to get the victory tonight.”

Michaelis added 11 points for the Tigers while Cihlar finished with 14 for West, including 10 in the first half.

The Warriors were still without senior starter Anna Brown, who has missed several games with an illness and was not in the lineup against the Tigers.

“Anna was not allowed to participate tonight but with Senior Night going on, we wanted to get her in uniform and introduced,” Galligan said. “We are optimistic that she will be back in the lineup next week, but it’s out of our hands.”

Coach Michaelis is optimistic about her team’s chances heading in the playoffs on the nine-game winning streak while Galligan is also hopeful, despite drawing a tough first game against Valley conference champion D.C. Everest.

“The key is in the last few weeks we’ve been playing some of the best basketball we have played all season,” Galligan said. “The good news is tonight’s loss doesn’t end our season like next week could. Hopefully, we make plays starting next week to extend our season even farther.”

Marshfield 9 18 15 4 46
West 17 13 7 7 44

Leading scorers: M, McKayla Scheuer 8, Caitlin Michaelis 11, Natalie Zuelke 6, Ellie Kummer 3, Ema Fehrenbach 3, Ellie Fehrenbach 13, Kailey Hubler 2; WW, Kierra Kohlbeck 10, Jessy Wiskofske 3, Erin Bardonner 2, Jasmin Samz 15, Katy Cihlar 14.

3-point field goals: M, 4 (Scheuer 2, Michaelis, Kummer); WW, 6 (Kohlbeck 2, Samz 2, Wiskofske, Cihlar). Free throws: M 4-8; WW 8-13. Records: Marshfield 15-7, 10-2 WVC; West 13-9, 7-5 WVC.

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