Merrill girls turn up the heat on T-Birds
The MHS girls basketball team scuffled with host Lakeland for a half of Friday’s season opener, but the second half was an entirely different story. The girls more than doubled their own output while stifling the T-Birds to a mere five points in a 47-25 triumph.
“We came out what looked like a lot more composed, offensively,” Merrill coach Melissa Yuska said. “We were also able to do much better defensively, allowing one shot and out. We struggled with defensive rebounding in the first half, and allowed second and third, even fourth attempts.
“We limited our turnovers in the second half, and came out and played the way we can play, so it was really nice to see.”
The Jays jumped out to a 14-9 first-quarter lead, then were edged 11-9 in the second for a 23-20 halftime mark.
Renee Sladek backed up 7 first-quarter points with 6 in the second.
But a 12-2 third quarter put Lakeland in a 35-22 hole and it got deeper with a 12-3 fourth.
“Renee poured in 17 points on them,” Yuska said. “Everybody that played scored, so it was really a nice team effort. We showed a lot of good things, which makes it exciting to have positive things to build on.”
Sladek led the way with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Other contributions included: Jourdyn Mootz (7 p, 4 r, 5 a, 4 st); Aubrey Wardall (7 p, 4 r); Marissa Bartz (4 p, 3 a, 4 st); Brianna LaMonica (4 p, 3 st); Liz Smith (3 p); and Reegan Byer (3 st).
Merrill-FG: 18-50 (36%); FT: 9-13 (69%). Lakeland-FG: 9; FT: 7-19 (37%).