By Paul Lecker
SPENCER — Marshfield Columbus Catholic used big runs in the first and third quarters to open up a lead and held off Spencer in the end, posting a 52-46 victory in a Cloverbelt Conference East Division girls basketball game Friday night at Spencer High School.
The Dons (9-7 overall, 6-5 Cloverbelt East) built a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter.
Jess Trad, Hannah Stratman, and Meena Thill made baskets to cap a 10-2 run to start the third quarter and put Columbus ahead 35-16.
The Dons built the lead by forcing 15 turnovers up to that point, many turning into layups on the other end.
“I thought our press gave them a lot of trouble,” Columbus Catholic coach Bryan DeVries said. “Our guards did a good job of pressuring their guards up top. Our 2-3 zone, for the first three quarters, was really solid. We did a real nice job of reading their post and adjusting to where their post was going.”
Spencer closed the third quarter strongly, putting up nine points in a row, five by freshman Lexi Baehr.
Columbus recovered, scoring six of the first eight points in the fourth quarter.
A basket by Abby Baierl and a 3-pointer by Trad pushed Columbus’ lead to 48-33 with three minutes to go.
The Rockets (4-10, 4-8 Cloverbelt East) had one last run left in them, but they ran out of time.
Baehr hit her third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter, and Nadia King had eight of her 12 points in the final 2:25 as the Rockets closed out the game on a 13-4 run to close the gap to six. Spencer made 9 of 11 shots from the field in the fourth.
“We’re a young team with three seniors and three juniors, and two of the juniors are hurt right now,” Spencer coach Brian Abel said. “We’re counting on a lot of sophomores and a freshmen to handle pressure that they haven’t seen at a younger level. They’re working their butts off. It’s a good group of girls.
“If we can break the press and limit the turnovers, which we’ve done a lot better at in the month of January, we got a shot at any game. It’s just a matter of how many times are we going to give them the ball versus keeping it.”
Baehr finished with 16 points for Spencer. Trad scored 14 points, Baierl added 13, and Stratman had 10 for the Dons.
“We were in a situation where we didn’t want the clock to stop. We didn’t want to commit fouls and get them at the line, so we were backing off a little bit,” DeVries said. “When they did make those runs, it seemed that Jess Trad or Abby Baierl or Alishia Reigel came through for us.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Dons 52, Rockets 46
Columbus Catholic 18 7 10 17 – 52
Spencer 6 8 11 21 – 46
COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (52): Hannah Stratman 5-10 0-1 10, Abby Baierl 6-12 0-0 13, Jess Trad 6-11 0-0 14, Alishia Reigel 4-6 0-3 8, Alexandra Hutchison 2-5 0-0 4, Meena Thill 0-1 2-2 2, Tara Brock 0-4 1-2 1, Kendra Baierl 0-1 0-0 0, Natalie Pospyhalla 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 23-52. FT: 3-8. 3-pointers: 3-5 (A. Baierl 1-2, Trad 2-3). Rebounds: 20 (A. Baierl 3). Turnovers: 9 Fouls: 9. Fouled out: none. Record: 9-7, 6-5 Cloverbelt Conference East Division.
SPENCER (46): Lexi Baehr 5-10 2-3 16, Nadia King 5-12 2-2 12, Liz Endreas 5-10 0-0 10, Courtney Buss 2-8 0-0 4, Katie Fleischmann 1-2 0-0 2, Abby Varsho 1-3 0-0 2, Melissa Lehman 0-3 0-0 0. FG: 19-48. FT: 4-5. 3-pointers: 4-12 (Baehr 4-7, King 0-2, Buss 0-3). Rebounds: 40 (King 7). Turnovers: 22. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: none. Record: 4-10, 4-8 Cloverbelt Conference East Division.