Lady Jay hoopers fall to East in playoffs
The Merrill girls basketball team took on Wausau East on Tuesday night, Feb. 25, for the first round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs. The Jays would take a slim lead into halftime, however their struggles on offense would come back to haunt them as the Jays fell to the Lumberjacks by a score of 39-38.
“The East game was a tough one to swallow,” said Merrill head coach Joelene Weix. “We really struggled throughout the game to get anything going offensively. Scoring on a consistent basis just did not happen. Poor shooting and turnovers kept us from gaining any momentum and East did a good job defensively keeping us off balance. I feel bad for the girls, not playing your best is a hard way to end the season.”
The first half of play saw a defensive battle, with the Jays taking a small lead into the halftime break. With the score tied at 12-12 Merrill would get a little momentum, outscoring East 7-1 in the final five minutes of the half.
The beginning of the second half saw the Lumberjacks go on a run and tie the game. In the first six minutes of the half East outscored the Bluejays 10-4, tying the game at 23-23. From that point on it would be dead even with neither team able to build a lead. A last minute bucket from the Lumberjacks gave them the 39-38 lead and they would hold on to take the win over Merrill.
“We have had our ups and downs this year, it’s been kind of like a roller coaster ride,” continued coach Weix. “We’ve struggled at times and also had games that were played very well. Regardless, the coaching staff is very proud of the girls and their commitment to the team. We’ve made some huge improvements along the way which makes us very excited for next season. The program would like to congratulate the seniors, Reese Mrachek, Grace Heldt, and Ashley Prebeg, on their hard work and dedication to Merrill Girls Basketball. We wish them well in the future; we know they will be very successful.”
Courtney Krueger was Merrill’s leading scorer on the night with 14 points, along with 8 rebounds and four steals. Other notable performances for the Jays include: Claire Drew (6 pts, 2 ast, 2 reb); Ashley Prebeg (5 pts, 17 reb, 2 stl) and Erin Murray (4 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk).
The Jays season come to a close with Merrill ending the year with a record of 7-13 and a Wisconsin Valley Conference record of 5-7.