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By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Girls Basketball Coach Heidi Michaelis did not envision having a 17-year coaching career, and surely didn’t imagine winning 300 games; however, in a Wisconsin Valley Conference (WVC) game on Jan. 26, Marshfield made 10 3-pointers and closed the game on a 24-11 run to beat Wisconsin Rapids 75-55, giving Michaelis her 300th career victory as head coach of the Tigers.
“I remember (then Marshfield boys coach) Gordie Sisson talking to me at the state tournament after my first year,” said Michaelis, who owns a 300-99 career record that includes eight WVC championships and four WIAA state tournament appearances.
“It’s the ups and down, it’s the tears, it’s trying to figure out girls and a team. Me being as competitive as I am, the first year was a struggle.
“It’s been an amazing journey. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate the journey, where in the beginning I think it was way more about the wins. It’s something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, seeing teams from the beginning of the year to the end and seeing them grow as a group and young ladies. I’ve been very privileged to do that here.”
Following a hard-fought loss to Stevens Point on Jan. 23, the Tigers came out focused and ready to run against the Raiders.
Marshfield, which was 7-9 overall and 3-5 in the WVC prior to the Jan. 30 game against Merrill, took the lead for good on a basket by Jenna Jakobi at the 13:20 mark of the first half, putting them on top 9-8, and built the lead from there.
Wisconsin Rapids (6-11, 3-6 WVC) held the Tigers scoreless for 7 minutes late in the half to close to within 30-28, but Meg Bryan hit a 3-pointer with 7 seconds to go and Marshfield took a 33-28 lead into halftime.
Jakobi had a steal and layup in the opening seconds of the second half and Marshfield led by at least seven the rest of the way.
Bryan made five of the Tigers’ 10 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points. Jakobi added 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Corianne Johnson and Katie Osinski chipped in 11 points each in the victory.
With only five games remaining in the regular season, starting with a game Feb. 2 at WVC-leader D.C. Everest, the clock is ticking for the Tigers to pull everything together before the WIAA postseason starts on Feb. 20.
“People will say, ‘Oh, it’s one of those years,’” Michaelis said. “Honestly, I’m with them every day, and it’s not one of those years. They come to work every time, just as if we are winning. They like one another, they look out for one another, and mostly they are happy for each others’ success. That’s an art that not everyone in life has. When you can be happy for your teammate, that’s doing well, that says a lot about this group of young ladies.”
Bryan made six 3-pointers and had a team-high 22 points in the 71-65 loss to Stevens Point on Jan. 23. Jakobi added 20 points, including 15 in the second half, as the Tigers clawed back from a 10-point deficit and led 61-60 with 2:10 to go before the Panthers pulled ahead.