Rockets hit six free throws in extra period
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Spencer girls basketball team and coach Brian Abel knew they had to bear down defensively in order to have a chance against Marshfield Columbus Catholic.
About six weeks after suffering a 32-point loss to the Dons, Spencer survived a late collapse and defeated Columbus 51-49 in overtime Thursday night at Columbus Catholic High School.
Columbus won at Spencer 55-23 on Nov. 22, but this time around the Rockets were ready to combat the Dons’ offensive attack.
Spencer exclusively used a 2-3 zone to bottle up the middle and force the Dons to shoot from the outside.
Spencer’s relentless pressure forced Columbus into taking a number of shots from the outside, and despite giving up a huge number of offensive rebounds, the Rockets kept up their intensity and did not give in.
The Dons shot just 21 percent (17 of 80) from the field and were 4 of 29 from 3-point range in the loss.
“They were awesome on the defensive end tonight,” Abel said. “The one thing we have to work on is boxing out. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, and other teams are going to exploit that. The ball pressure was huge. We sat in the zone and handled our responsibilities for the most part and played really well defensively.”
Spencer jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Columbus fought back and led 24-23 at halftime behind 13 points from senior guard Baylie Neider.
The Rockets started the second half with another big run, scoring the first eight points to take back the lead.
Spencer (7-6, 5-5 Cloverbelt Conference East Division) was able to maintain its advantage on the defensive end, forcing the Dons to miss their first 18 shots from the floor in the second half.
Back-to-back baskets by Hailey Roehl and Kendra Baierl ended the skid and brought Columbus (8-6, 5-5 Cloverbelt East) to within four at 34-30.
Courtney Buss hit a pair of 3-pointers to up Spencer’s lead to 40-32 with 6:09 before the Dons mounted a comeback.
Spencer made just 3 of 8 free throws in a three-minute stretch, and a 3-pointer from Morgan Albrecht cut Spencer’s advantage to 43-40 with 43 seconds left.
Buss made a layup after the Rockets broke the Dons’ full-court press before a flurry of events evened up the game.
Marissa Immerfall scored off a rebound and was fouled with 16.9 seconds left. She missed the free throw, but Natalie Pospyhalla was able to grab an offensive rebound, scored, and was fouled. Pospyhalla made the free throw to tie the game with 15.2 seconds to go.
Spencer was unable to score at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra four-minute period, Spencer did not attempt a field goal but did not have to.
The Rockets made 6 of 10 free throws and held Columbus to 1-for-7 shooting in the OT. Spencer never trailed and held off a last-second 3-point attempt to hang on for the victory.
“We had to fall back on our three seniors (Buss, Liz Endreas, and Jessica Becker),” Abel said. “They were all in the game and have the most experience. Those three seniors have a lot of experience, and the other girls fed off that. There were still some rookie mistakes, I’d say, but that’s going to happen when you play young girls.”
Columbus held a 57-40 rebounding advantage and forced 23 turnovers but overcame its poor overall shooting.
Both teams shot below 50 percent from the free throw line. Columbus made only 11 of 23, and Spencer was 12 of 27, but the Rockets made enough in the overtime to provide the final difference.
Buss had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Lexi Baehr had 15 points and eight rebounds before fouling out late in the second half for Spencer.
Neider topped Columbus with 15 points, and Immerfall had 17 rebounds in the loss.
Both teams return to action Tuesday. Columbus Catholic will be at Granton, and Spencer will host Owen-Withee in Cloverbelt East contests.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Rockets 51, Dons 49 (OT)
Spencer 24 21 6 – 51
Columbus Catholic 23 22 4 – 49
SPENCER (51): Courtney Buss 5-9 6-8 19, Kaily Northup 0-2 1-3 1, Lexi Baehr 6-13 3-6 15, Liz Endreas 1-7 0-2 2, Shaelee Neitzel 1-3 0-0 2, Sabrina Vircks 3-6 0-2 6, McKenna Brecht 0-3 0-0 0, Jessica Becker 2-5 2-6 6. FG: 18-48. FT: 12-27. 3-pointers: 3-5 (Buss 3-4, Baehr 0-1). Rebounds: 40 (Baehr 8, Buss 7, Vircks 7). Turnovers: 23. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: Baehr, Vircks. Record: 7-6, 5-5 Cloverbelt Conference East Division.
COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (49): Morgan Albrecht 4-22 0-0 9, Hailey Roehl 1-5 2-2 4, Baylie Neider 5-17 2-4 15, Maren Seefluth 1-7 3-8 5, Kendra Baierl 2-12 0-1 4, Natalie Pospyhalla 1-8 2-5 4, Zoe Stratman 0-0 0-0 0, Marissa Immerfall 3-9 2-3 8. FG: 17-80. FT: 11-23. 3-pointers: 4-29 (Neider 3-10, Albrecht 1-14, Pospyhalla 0-4, Seefluth 0-1). Rebounds: 57 (Immerfall 17). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Neider. Record: 8-6, 5-5 Cloverbelt Conference East Division.