Merrill Lady Jays defeat Ashland in Regionals, Mia Ott breaks Merrill records

Senior Maddy Ott traps the ball in the backcourt. Rick Argall photo.

The Merrill Lady Jays opened Regional Tournament basketball play on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at home hosting the Ashland Lady Oredockers. Fans were treated to a high-scoring affair that quickly turned into a record-breaking evening that featured Senior Mia Ott (53 pts, 5 FG, 1 FT, 14 3pt) breaking the Merrill High School career scoring mark with 1,128 points and counting.
Merrill raced out to an early 11-0 lead behind 8 consecutive points by Mia Ott and a 3-point basket from Senior Sophie Wendorf (18 pts, 6 3pt), prompting Ashland to call their first timeout of the game at the 15:54 mark of the first half. Ashland was able to find some offense, but couldn’t keep pace with the red-hot shooting from Mia Ott and trailed 21-8 before calling another timeout to try and figure out how to defend Merrill from beyond the 3-point arch. When play resumed, Senior Maddy Ott (5 pts, 1 FG, 1 3pt) hit a 3-pointer to extend their lead to 24-8 before Ashland went on a 4-0 run to close to within 24-12 and a Merrill timeout was called by Coach Debuhr. A barrage of 3-pointers by Merrill ensued and the Lady Jays built a commanding 46-22 lead before heading to the locker room for halftime.
The second half began much the way that the first half ended, with Mia Ott and Sophie Wendorf hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to build their largest lead of the night at 52-26 at the 16:14 mark of the second half. The two teams traded baskets throughout much of the second half before the Lady Jays went on a massive 3-point attack that built the biggest lead of the game at 71-39 with 9:23 remaining in the contest. As the second half started to wind down, Merrill took some of the Senior starters out and were able to play several JV players to get some game-time experience and an opportunity to play in a Regional playoff game. Ashland was able to generate some offense, but could not overcome the large deficit, and the scoreboard read 83-66 as the final horn sounded.
As a team, Merrill hit 21 3-pointers and were led by top scorers Mia Ott (53 pts), Sophie Wendorf (18 pts), Maddy Ott (5 pts), and Ava Detert (5 pts). Senior Mia Ott also broke a school single-game scoring record with her 53 points, to add to her all-time record-breaking career scoring record of 1,128 points.
Box Score
Ashland 66 @ Merrill 83

Merrill moved on to round two of the Regional playoffs, the Regional Semifinals, traveling to Lakeland on Friday Night, Feb. 23. Unfortunately, they suffered a crushing blow and an end to their season when Lakeland beat them by a tough 48 points. [Of note: Lakeland also went on to win by a single point, 70-69, against Rice Lake in the Saturday Regional Finals.]
Box Score
Merrill 26 @ Lakeland 74

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