WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Slowly but surely, Loyal is closing the gap on the Assumption girls.
In the 2014 Division 5 regional finals, the Royals beat the Greyhounds. In two meetings last year, Assumption won by 16 during the regular season and by four in the sectional semifinals.
During the final girls game of the 31st annual Cranberry Classic, the Royals eked out a 54-53 victory Saturday afternoon to claim the tournament title at the 31st Cranberry Classic.
“Loyal is a program on the rise,” Assumption coach Joe Birkhauser said. “Last year we beat them OK here at home and in the sectional semifinal you could see their confidence growing and they never quit. Today, we knew it was going to be a battle. They have a good inside-out game and we were lucky to pull it out. We shot 10-for-22 from the line and you don’t win many games doing that.”
The Greyhounds inside game was running on all cylinders with Karsyn Rueth scoring 12 of her game-high 21 points from short range. She did sink three 3-pointers, two coming in the second half which kept her team in the game to the last few seconds.
“It was a great game,” Loyal coach Mike Rueth said. “We’re playing at their place again and we wanted a big game on the road and we got that. We played at Neillsville and won and lost here by a point.
“This is the same crew that’s been together through the losses and we’re getting better. It was two evenly matched teams, and (Olivia) Skibba isn’t with them now, so we’ll have to contend with that next time.”
The next time the teams may square off will likely be in the regional or sectional semifinals, depending on how the season plays out.
Loyal showed its confidence and improvement by outscoring Assumption 17-3 during the last eight minutes of the first half to lead 25-21 at the break.
Assumption led by as many as eight points in the first half, but Loyal gained momentum off their tough defense, which forced nine turnovers in the first half and 19 for the game. The Royals vaunted pressure defense forced Loyal over 15 times.
In the second half, Autumn Linzmeier sparked the Royals, scoring 10 of her 13 points and finished with nine rebounds. Six of her 10 came off second effort shots and she made three quick baskets in the early part of the half, to regain the advantage at 27-25.
Down 34-33, Rueth drained a 3-pointer with 9:09 to play to put the Greyhounds up by two and her 3-point shot with 1:53 left tied the game at 49-49.
“The teams we’ve played are making us be really intense throughout the game,” said Assumption’s Gracie Wendels who had four points and seven rebounds. “We have to be on our toes and play as a team.
“It’s always a tough game with them (Loyal). That’s what makes basketball fun, playing tough teams that push you to be better.”
LOYAL (53): Devyn Schoonover 12, Morgan Reinwand 14, Karsyn Rueth 21, Bailey Parker 4, Hailey Rueth 2.
ASSUMPTION (54): Macyn Krings 5, Gracie Wendels 4, Autumn Linzmeier 13, Macie Zurfluh 11, Gena Grundhoffer 17, Joelynn Frisch 2, Chrysten Linzmeier 2.
3-pointers: Loyal 3 (K.Rueth 3); Assumption 5 (Krings, A.Linzmeier, Zurfluh, Grundhoffer 2).
Records: Assumption 2-1; Loyal 3-1
Columbus Catholic 45
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Shannon Sorbo scored 26 points, including nine via 3-point shots, to lead the Papermakers to the consolation title of the Cranberry Classic.
Jenna Baker chipped in with 10, while Marissa Immerfall led the Dons with 16 points.
Sorbo and Immerfall were both named to the all-tournament team.
NEKOOSA: Jenna Baker 10, Kenzi Bolvin 2, Brandy Heinen 9, Shannon Sorbo 26, Emma Crider 2.
COLUMBUS: Morgan Albrecht 2, Baylie Nieder 5, Maren Seefluth 2, Kandra Baierl 3, S.Trad 7, Natalie Pospyhalla 8, Sierra Litwaitis 2, Marissa Immerfall 16.
3-pointers: Nekoosa 4 (Sorbo 3, Heinen); Columbus 3 (S.Trad, Pospyhalla 2).
Records: Nekoosa 2-1; Columbus Catholic 1-2.
University School 99,
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Andrew Melvin scored 27 points to lead the Papermakers in a loss during the consolation game during the second day of the Cranberry Classic.
His two-night performance earned him all-tourney honors.
University School bounced back from a loss to Columbus Catholic and was led by Walt Taylor, who scored 25 points.
NEKOOSA (74): Brett Sutherland 5, Dylan Rouce 8, Andrew Bohenstengel 4, Joshua Dillon 1, Jared Olson 5, Justin Mortel 4, Kyle Olson 7, Caleb Doebereiner 6, Andrew Melvin 27, A.J. Ruiz 3, Kade Lancour 4.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL (99): Shannon Jones 8, David Hutton 3, Amer Mahiuddin 7, Tim Schwieters 6, Will Koch 13, Cole Stephany 3, Walter Taylor 25, Mike Wilson 19, Justice Kelly 15.
3-pointers: N 1 (K.Olson); U-School 5 (Mahiuddin, Koch 2, Wilson 2).
Records: University School 2-1; Nekoosa 0-2.
Columbus Catholic 54,
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Hunter Schultz scored 16, while Evan Nikolai and Nick Malovrh chipped in with 12 each as the Dons won the tournament championship at the Cranberry Classic.
The Dons, who scored 101 points Friday night, were able to keep their offense rolling against a bigger Assumption lineup.
The Royals were led by Joe Grudhoffer’s 20-point effort.
COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (54): Billy Young 7, Nick Malovrh 12, Evan Nikolai 12, Hunter Schultz 16, Tyler Fuerlinger 7.
ASSUMPTION (51): Jon Trickey 2, Brady Baltus 10, Joey Biebel 2, Jake Sullivan 6, Trevor Newton 9, Dominic Schneider 2, Joe Grundhoffer 40.
3-pointers: Columbus 9 (Malovrh 4, Nikolai, Schultz 2, Fuerlinger); Assumption 3 (Sullivan 2, Newton).
Records: Columbus Catholic 2-0; Assumption 2-1.
Mark Massoglia can be reached at 715-423-4736 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @markmazzy.
Here are the boys and girls all-tournament teams from the 31st annual Cranberry Classic tournament held Friday and Saturday at Assumption High School.
Boys: Nekoosa: Andrew Melvin; University School: Walter Taylor; Assumption: Brady Baltus 12, Joe Grundhoffer; Columbus Catholic: Evan Nikolai, Hunter Schultz.
Girls: Assumption: Autumn Linzmeier, Gena Grundhoffer; Loyal: Devyn Schoonover, Karsyn Rueth; Columbus Catholic: Marissa Immerfall; Nekoosa: Shannon Sorbo.