Dons end three game losing streak against Spencer
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – It was a three-game stretch most teams would not survive, so it was no surprise when the Marshfield Columbus girls basketball team was in the midst of a three-game losing streak after games with Neillsville, Colby and Loyal–the three teams at the top of the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference.
Following a 43-27 loss to Neillsville, Colby hosted Columbus Jan. 17. The Dons put up a good fight, but the Hornets held on for a 52-47 win.
Addison Baierl led Columbus with 15 points. Emmalee Jicinsky added nine.
Loyal would be next, on Jan 20. Again, the Dons waged an epic battle with the Greyhounds through one half of play, holding Remi Geiger – arguably the best player in the conference – scoreless, and trailing by just one.
But Loyal used a 34-20 second-half run to put the game away, as Columbus could not convert Loyal turnovers into points. The Greyhounds turned the ball over 33 times, and yet Columbus scored just 34 points.
“It might have been some of the best defense we’ve played against all year,” Loyal coach Mike Rueth said after the game. “It’s not a 2-3 defense or 1-3. It’s not a zone defense that just stands around. It’s a very active defense, and we don’t see a lot of those in our conference. Neillsville obviously has an unbelievable zone defense, and Columbus is right there with them.”
The 49-34 final certainly was not indicative of how close the game really was. Baierl led all scorers with 19 points, which is her per-game average this season. She was 7-for-9 from the free throw line, but was held without a 3-point basket for the second consecutive game, and fifth time this season.
The Greyhounds extended their winning streak against the Dons to 18 straight games dating back to 2012, almost as good as the 21-game win streak the Dons had over Loyal 1979 – 2009.
Columbus turned in a solid performance against Spencer on Jan. 23 at Columbus High School in Marshfield. The Dons outscored the Rockets 21-12 in each of the two halves of basketball, to secure a 42-24 win, for head coach, Ron Wilczek.
“We had quite a gauntlet of games the last three games against Neillsville, Colby and Loyal — three very good, well-coached teams”, Wilczek said after the Spencer win. “The one carry-over (from the Loyal game) is that our defense was solid again. We are not the best offensive team, so we have to play good defense and try to hold teams down.”
Columbus did just that against the Rockets. No Spencer player scored in double figures, and the Rockets made just five baskets and one free throw in each half.
“Our press created some turnovers and some easy baskets in transition, which we will take all day every day. It’s easier for us to score in transition in space than it is sometimes against a set defense,” Wilczek added.
Baierl, again, led Marshfield Columbus with 18 points. Kelsey Moore added 10.
The Dons extended their winning streak over Spencer to eight games going back to 2016.
Columbus was headed into a stretch of five-straight games on the road, including stops at Owen-Withee, Gilman, Greenwood, and Loyal on Feb. 4, 6, 11, and 14. The Dons wrap up the regular season Feb. 17, at home, against Neillsville.