By Paul Lecker
SPENCER — After a promising start to the season, the Spencer girls basketball team hit a rough patch.
Now, after two-straight wins, including a thrilling overtime victory at Marshfield Columbus Catholic on Thursday, the Rockets are riding high again.
Spencer started out the year 5-2 before losing four games in a row, all by double digits.
A 40-point victory over winless Granton got the team’s mojo back, and after beating Columbus 51-49 in overtime, the Rockets are feeling that their season could turn back around as they are now 7-6 overall and 5-5 in the rough-and-tumble Cloverbelt Conference East Division.
Junior guard Lexi Baehr averages 19.2 points per game for the Rockets and has three games of 30 points or more and two others with 27.
Coach Brian Abel said while Baehr has been a terrific scorer for the Rockets, the improved play from others on the team has been a key in the past two games.
Liz Endreas had 14 points in the win over Granton, and Courtney Buss scored 19 against Columbus.
“The girls are doing a great job,” Abel said. “In the beginning of the year, we focused a lot on just getting the ball to Lexi and letting her be our scorer. In the last two weeks since we came back from break, they’ve kind of figured out that everyone needs to contribute and have more balanced scoring. We’re going to roll with that as long as they keep improving and are willing to shoot.”
Endreas, Buss, and Jessica Becker, the Rockets’ three seniors, took on the brunt of the pressure at the end of the game against Columbus after Baehr fouled out.
After losing a five-point lead in the final 20 seconds to send the game into overtime, the group of seniors had to step up with their top scorer on the bench, and they did, making 6 of 10 free throws and holding Columbus to just one made basket to pull off the road win.
“We had to fall back on our three seniors,” 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.”
At 5-5 in the Cloverbelt East prior to Tuesday’s game at home against Owen-Withee, which was postponed, the Rockets are in position to earn another top-half finish in the conference standings.
Abel said he put it on his team to earn splits in the conference with three teams, and the win over Columbus completed one goal.
“I told the girls there were three teams we needed to split with: Colby, Columbus, and Owen-Withee,” Abel said. “We have split with one now and have two more to go now. We were in the games with Colby and Owen-Withee at halftime of each. If we can come back and split with them, we’ll be in good shape.”
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.