MHS girls nipped by Rapids
The Merrill girls took a big step in adapting to L.A.S.-Life After Sladek-and just missed grabbing a home win over Wis. Rapids.
Renee Sladek-easily one of best, if not the top player in the Valley-was recently lost for the season to a serious knee injury.
But the Bluejays aren’t devoid of other talent, and gave Rapids a run for its money before losing 55-53.
“The girls played hard,” MHS coach Melissa Yuska said. “We were really kind of down the entire game and the girls made a nice comeback in the second half. We just had too many missed opportunities and little mistakes to pull off the win.
“Compared to how we looked against Marshfield (the first game after Sladek’s injury, a 66-39 loss), we looked much better. The girls are still adjusting to a different line-up, because things have changed.
“They won on a last-second shot, so it was a tough loss. It wasn’t our night, but the girls showed a strong effort.”
The Raiders held a narrow 16-14 lead after the first quarter despite four threes from Merrill, then held the Jays to just five points while scoring 10 in the critical second for a 26-19 halftime lead.
The teams played to a 16-16 tie in the third with Brianna LaMonica scoring seven for the Jays. Merrill out-scored Rapids 18-13 in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to offset the seven-point deficit. Mariah Turenne tallied eight points for MHS in the fourth.
“It was good to see some positive things in the second half,” Yuska said. “The girls have to keep working together and get comfortable with each other.
“I thought Anna Finnell did a real nice job for us being strong underneath. Rapids has strong post players. Mariah gave us some strong minutes. It was exciting to see her get in a little rhythm.
“These girls work hard. It’s good to know because that’s what we need.”
The Jays used significant contributions from several players, including Dawn Leland (11 p, 4 r, 5 a, 3 bl); LaMonica (13 p, 3 a); Turenne (11 p, 4 r); Finnell (7 p, 4 a); Lauren Hojan (4 p, 4 r); Reegan Byer (4 p); and Lindsay Krueger (3 p).
Merrill finished with just nine turnovers.
Merrill-FG: 18-57 (32%); FT: 10-18 (56%). Wis. Rapids-FG: 19; FT: 14-25 (56%).
The Bluejays had last Tuesday’s game at Mosinee postponed when school was called for frigid cold wind chill. The reschedule has not been announced.
Merrill (8-6 overall) is sitting at 4-3 in the WVC, trailing SPASH (6-1), Wausau West (6-2) and Everest (4-2), just ahead of Marshfield (3-4). Rapids improved to 2-5.