By Paul Lecker
CHIPPEWA FALLS – The Marshfield girls basketball team picked the perfect time to play its best game of the season.
The Tigers shot 50 percent overall, drilled 11 3-pointers and made 13 of 15 free throws when it counted in the fourth quarter as they defeated Chippewa Falls 65-54 in a WIAA Division 1 regional final Saturday night at Chippewa Falls High School.
Marshfield (18-6) moves on to a sectional semifinal Thursday against No. 1-ranked D.C. Everest (24-0) back at Chippewa Falls. Everest rolled Eau Claire Memorial 52-38 in a regional final on Saturday.
Ellie Kummer was 6 of 9 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 21 points, and fellow senior Caitlin Michaelis scored 19 points for Marshfield.
Michaelis hit three 3-pointers in the opening 3:20 to set the tone as the Tigers built a 14-7 lead.
Chippewa Falls (22-2) closed to within a point before Marshfield regained control scoring the final six points of the quarter to go up 20-13.
“To come over here to play as well as we did, and have my senior guards shoot as well as they did from the beginning, it really couldn’t have gone better to start the game,” Marshfield coach Heidi Michaelis said. “They’re confident right now, I think we all are. We’re playing our best ball and I feel like they’ve figured it out. We’re all on the same page and you have to be that way to beat a good team like Chippewa Falls.”
The Cardinals punched back again, scoring the first five points of the second quarter only to see Marshfield answer back.
Michaelis and Kummer hit back-to-back 3s and Ema Fehrenbach scored inside to put Marshfield up 28-18.
While never feeling totally comfortable, Marshfield led by at least five the rest of the game.
“Basically we just had to break the press and we knew we could take them on after that,” Kummer said. “It’s the playoffs so we knew we had to make our shots and step up to the plate. Coach said this a shooter’s gym and she didn’t jinx it.”
A 3-pointer from McKayla Scheuer sparked a 6-0 run in the third quarter as the Tigers turned a seven-point halftime lead to 12.
After a 3-pointer by Kaitlin Rubenzer and a three-point play by Lexi Hanley, Michaelis scored inside just before the buzzer, putting Marshfield up 48-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals made just 5 of 14 shots in the fourth quarter and when they fouled to try to get the ball back, Marshfield calmly sank 13 of 15 free throws to put the game away. Michaelis and Scheuer each went 4-for-4 and Kummer was 3-for-4 from the line in the fourth.
“It’s been a goal of ours ever since we were back in fourth grade to make a good run to state,” Kummer said. “This means a lot to all of us.”
D.C. Everest defeated Marshfield twice during the regular season, winning 50-40 at home on Jan. 13 and 55-35 at Marshfield on Feb. 13.
“It’s going to take a good effort,” Heidi Michaelis said. “Last time we played them I thought they played extremely well. I think if we shoot that well, things always change. We haven’t shot well against them. It’s going to take a huge effort and we know that, we’re the underdogs. There is zero pressure on us, kind of like how we came in tonight. Maybe we’re better off playing that role.”
Notes: Kummer, a senior guard, passed Jamie Braun into 11th place on the all-time Tigers’ girls basketball scoring list. She now has 736 career points, passing Braun, who had 731 from 2004-06. Kummer is 19 points away from passing Sara Craig (1984-88) for 10th place…Caitlin Michaelis pushed her career points total to 1,186 during her four-year career with the Tigers. Michaelis is third on the all-time list, 54 points behind second-place. Taylor Varsho (2008-12) is the all-time leading scorer with 1,370 points, with Carlin McClary (1975-78) second with 1,240…Coach Heidi Michaelis has qualified for the sectionals for the 11th time in her 14 seasons as Marshfield coach. The Tigers were eliminated in the regionals in each of the past two seasons. She now has 257-76 record for the Tigers.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Tigers 65, Cardinals 54
Marshfield 20 11 17 17 – 65
Chippewa Falls 13 9 15 15 – 54
MARSHFIELD (65): McKayla Scheuer 1-4 4-4 7, Meg Bryan 0-0 0-0 0, Caitlin Michaelis 5-11 5-6 19, Ana Jensen 0-0 0-0 0, Sara Dasler 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Nikolai 0-0 2-2 2, Martha Kupfer 0-1 0-0 0, Ellie Kummer 6-9 3-4 21, Ema Fehrenbach 5-10 4-6 14, Hannah Meverden 1-1 0-1 2. FG: 18-36. FT: 18-23. 3-pointers: 11-24 (Kummer 6-9, Michaelis 4-10, Scheuer 1-4, Fehrenbach 0-1). Rebounds: 24 (Fehrenbach 7). Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: none. Record: 18-6.
CHIPPEWA FALLS (54): Tyana Loiselle 2-6 2-2 6, Hallie Soward 2-8 0-0 4, Carley Meinen 3-6 1-3 7, Elli Daniels 0-4 2-4 2, Kaitlin Rubenzer 3-6 0-0 9, Lexi Hanley 5-10 3-5 15, Bailey Harder 1-2 1-2 4, Julia Robarge 3-8 0-0 7, Janelle Robarge 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 19-50. FT: 9-16. 3-pointers: 7-18 (Rubenzer 3-6, Hanley 2-6, Harder 1-1, Ju. Robarge 1-3, Soward 0-2). Rebounds: 24 (Ju. Robarge 7). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: Loiselle, Harder. Record: 22-2.