Paul Lecker photos
By Paul Lecker
Neillsville tops Columbus Catholic
Columbus Catholic did not score for the first 9 minutes of the game, fell behind 8-0, and never recovered, dropping a Cloverbelt Conference East Division game to Neillsville 53-36 on Jan. 4 at Columbus Catholic High School.
Samantha Cappadora scored six-straight points, and Alli Schoengarth and Emily Voigt hit 3-pointers to help the Warriors build a 26-13 lead by halftime.
Aside from Marissa Immerfall scoring on three possessions in a row late in the first half, and one stint midway through the second half, the Dons were never able to get their offense rolling.
Columbus shot just 28 percent (12 of 43) overall and had stretches of 6 and 4½ minutes in the second half without making a field goal. As a result and due to numerous offensive rebounds, Neillsville held a 47-26 advantage on the boards. The Warriors also forced 28 turnovers, 19 in the first half.
Bella Opelt scored 18 points for the Warriors.
Morgan Albrecht was the only Columbus player to score in double figures, finishing with 13 points.
With the victory, Neillsville remains one-half game behind conference-leader Colby in the Cloverbelt East standings, improving to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play. Columbus drops to 8-3 and 5-2 in the Cloverbelt East prior to the Jan. 9 game at Colby.
Marshfield falls at Everest
After starting the season 1-4, Marshfield has been playing much better during the past three weeks, with just two close losses ruining what could have been a five-game win streak.
The Tigers lost by one point to Eau Claire North on Dec. 21, and suffered another tough defeat, falling 53-50 to Wisconsin Valley Conference rival D.C. Everest on Jan. 4 at Marshfield High School.
Both teams shot 40 percent from the field, with the difference coming at the free throw line as D.C. Everest outscored the Tigers 11-7.
Meg Bryan hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points for Marshfield (4-6, 1-3 Wisconsin Valley Conference.)
Auburndale tops Phillips
Marissa Ponshock poured in 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help lead the Auburndale girls basketball team to a 54-43 victory over Phillips in a Marawood Conference crossover game Jan. 5 at Phillips High School.
The Apaches led by just two, 21-19, at halftime, before pulling away in the second half for an 11-point win.
Hannah Bolder added seven points and 14 rebounds, and Isabelle Hilber scored 12 points for Auburndale, which improves to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the Marawood Conference South Division.
Stratford cruises past Athens
Stratford girls basketball team had only scored 50 points once all season.
On Jan. 5, the Tigers shot 55 percent and hit for a season-high 71 points in a 71-41 rout of Athens in a Marawood Conference crossover game at Athens High School.
Stratford won for the fifth time in the last six games and evens its record at 6-6 overall and moves to 5-3 in the Marawood Conference South Division.
Blaire Lindner made 8 of 10 shots and scored 16 points, and Brenna Ackley made all five of her shot attempts and added 11 points for the Tigers. Taya Nett also chipped in 11 points, making 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
WVL edges Spencer
Spencer mounted a second-half comeback but fell just short, losing a nonconference game at Wisconsin Valley Lutheran 53-51 on Jan. 2.
Spencer trailed 25-18 at halftime before scoring 33 points in the second half, but fell a basket short of forcing overtime.
Lexi Baehr had 21 points for the Rockets, who fall to 1-9 after losing their ninth-straight game. She now has 998 points in her career.