Dons girls share East lead
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Heading into 2020, the Columbus Dons girls basketball team is tied for first place in the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference. The Dons grabbed a share of the conference lead with Neillsville and Loyal, after knocking off Gilman 60-43 on Dec. 19 at Columbus Catholic High School in Marshfield.
“I didn’t expect that against a very talented Gilman squad, so very, very proud of the girls”, Columbus Coach Ron Wilczek said after the game. “We were ready to play. We came out early and kind of jumped on them. Our press caused some turnovers.”
The Pirates fought back, and tied the game at 29 at halftime.
“I think the girls felt good about things too early and lost a little focus,” Wilczek added. “All I could think about was things we really have not worked on a lot this season–like late-game situations, and I thought, ‘Oh no, here we go. It’s going to be another nail biter’, but the girls played so great in the second half, and so focused, and just very proud of them.”
Addison Baierl led Columbus with 25 points, including 15 off of five three-point baskets.
“She’s a nice inside-out threat,” Wilczek said of his standout senior. “She had a number of ‘threes’ and she had a number of drives to the basket and she had a number of free throws. Just a complete all-around basketball player.”
Baierl was six-for-eight from the free throw line.
Annika Brown added 13 points. Emmalee Jicinsky had 10. The Dons went on a 31-14 second-half run to put the game away.
“It was a function of our defense just tightening up,” said Wilczek. “They were doing some things in the first half that we talked about at halftime, where we were a little bit out of position. And then we did a good job of being a little more patient on offense. Instead of forcing things, take what they give you, and I thought we did a good job of reading where the gaps were, and either cutting to those gaps or attacking those gaps with the dribble.”
Columbus, Neillsville and Loyal are now tied at the top of the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference at 4-1. Columbus will host Loyal on Jan. 9, followed by a game at Neillsville on Jan. 14.