By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — It is time for Plan C for the Marshfield girls basketball team.
Marshfield (18-6) gets its third crack at top-ranked and undefeated D.C. Everest (24-0) on Thursday night when the Wisconsin Valley Conference rivals tussle in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal at Chippewa Falls High School.
The winner will play in a sectional final against either Appleton North (16-8) or Neenah (17-7) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Stevens Point Area Senior High with a berth in the state tournament on the line.
D.C. Everest won both regular-season meetings this season, beating the Tigers 50-40 at home on Jan. 13 and 55-35 at Marshfield on Feb. 13.
The plan of attack was completely different for the Tigers in each matchup, but the results were the same.
In the first game, Marshfield did a good job of bottling up Everest’s 6-foot-4 center Taylor Hodell, holding her to just six points on 2 of 8 shooting. However, guard Katelyn Schmoll poured in a game-high 16 points, and the Tigers shot just 32 percent (15 of 46) overall and were 5 of 20 from 3-point range in the loss.
Hodell dominated in the second matchup, scoring 29 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. She made 13 of 18 shots from the field while the rest of the Evergreens were just 9 of 28. Again Marshfield shot poorly, making only 11 of 42 shots.
“It’s a matter of not letting her get to her sweet spot,” Marshfield coach Heidi Michaelis said of Hodell. “You have got to move her off her spot, whether it’s two feet or three feet (out). We have to bump her every time she comes across. It depends on how the referees let you go. If they don’t allow us to move her at all, she’s hard to defend.
“We have people, Hannah Meverden, Ema Fehrenbach, very athletic. Look at it this way, she has to guard them too. Ema is very athletic, and Hodell will come over your back. We have to box out better than we did the last time we played them. We’re going to look at tape and give the kids the best possible game plan.”
Marshfield has picked up its offensive efficiency since its last loss to Everest.
The Tigers scored a season-high 77 points in a rout of Wausau East and then beat Eau Claire North and Chippewa Falls by double figures in the regional playoffs.
In the two playoff wins, Marshfield shot a combined 39 of 81 (48 percent) overall, 17 of 39 (44 percent) from 3-point range, and 35 of 49 (71 percent) from the free throw line.
The 3-point shot was the big key in the 65-54 regional final win at Chippewa Falls last Saturday for Marshfield. Caitlin Michaelis hit three 3-pointers early in the first quarter to set the tone, and Ellie Kummer finished 6 of 9 from long range as the Tigers made 11 of 24 3-point shots.
“We have to find a different way to play them,” Kummer said of the matchup with Everest. “We have to make our shots like we have been doing. I think we have a shot at beating them.”
D.C. Everest knocked Marshfield out of the playoffs in 2013, and the Tigers, especially the seniors, are ready to turn the tables.
“This is the way it’s supposed to be,” Heidi Michaelis said. “These kids have played against each other since they were in fourth grade. It comes down to one game, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to have a third chance.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)