To be the best, you have to beat the best
The Marshfield girls basketball team has a strong record, but their three losses have come against elite opponents
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield girls basketball team is putting together a strong season.
The Tigers are off to an 11-3 start and own a 5-1 mark in the Wisconsin Valley Conference heading into Friday’s home game against Wausau West.
In order for it to become a truly memorable season, however, the Tigers need to continue to improve.
Marshfield’s three losses have come to teams with a combined 39-1 record. In each loss the Tigers competed valiantly but faded at the end, falling to De Pere (13-1), Chippewa Falls (13-0), and D.C. Everest (13-0).
A rematch on Feb. 13 with D.C. Everest at home could end up being for the Wisconsin Valley Conference championship, and in all likelihood the Tigers will have to get past Everest and Chippewa Falls again in the postseason if they want to fulfill their ultimate goal of making it to the WIAA State Tournament in March.
“I think we need to be more confident in ourselves,” senior guard Ellie Kummer said. “We know we can beat those teams. We just need to play better as a team and bring everything together. We have to (have) confidence in each other and trust each other.”
Kummer, senior Caitlin Michaelis, and junior McKayla Scheuer are averaging between 12 and 14 points a game.
On any given night, one of those players can carry the scoring load, but in most games it has been a balanced attack.
Three-year starter and senior Ellie Fehrenbach played in just one game before an injury put her out of the lineup again. The return of Ema Fehrenbach and senior Natalie Zuelke to the lineup a month into the season helped reduce some of the pressure inside on freshman Hannah Meverden, who has started at center most of the year.
“We started the season without our posts, and now they are back,” said Kummer, who averages 14 points per game. “So we’re trying to adjust, working on our passing in the post, and incorporate everybody. We’re adapting.”
Marshfield 67 – Wausau East 26
The Tigers responded to a tough loss at D.C. Everest on Jan. 13 with a 41-point win over Wausau East last Friday. In the win Marshfield used an up-tempo trapping defense to force a number of turnovers that led to easy baskets.
“The kids came in tonight and played hard, kept their level of play up, and we got good minutes from a lot of people, and that was as important as anything,” Marshfield coach Heidi Michaelis said following the game against East. “We had goals that we wanted to meet, and that was big for this team tonight.
“We have to work so hard on offense sometimes and settle for long shots. I think that getting easy ones off pressure is always going to make a team feel more comfortable and get into a game sooner.”
With four games between Jan. 23 and Jan. 30, the Tigers will stay focused on getting better each day so the next time around they can beat the elite teams.
“We’re trying to keep it a little fresh, do some fun things, team-building things,” Heidi Michaelis said. “They have big goals and expect a lot of themselves. Sometimes we have to push the buttons to get some of the things accomplished. For a lot of them, time is limited. Time is limited for those in the leadership positions on the floor, and I think that helps keep the level of play and level of intensity in practice up for sure.”