Local girls basketball teams head into postseason; Marshfield girls secure Wisconsin Valley Conference championship
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Heading into the postseason, many area girls basketball teams were preparing for regional quarterfinal matchups on Feb. 25, while others got first-round byes and will see their first postseason action Feb. 28.
In Division 1, most teams – including Marshfield – receive first-round byes. The No. 6 Tigers, fresh off securing their first Wisconsin Valley Conference championship in four years, host No. 11 Superior on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Boson Company Fieldhouse at Marshfield High School. The winner of that game plays either No. 3 Green Bay Preble or No. 14 Wisconsin Rapids in a Div. 1 regional final contest on Feb. 29.
The Tigers wrapped up their regular season with a 50-47 non-conference loss at Rhinelander on Feb. 20. Danielle Minsaas led Marshfield with 11 points. Desirae Weisenberger added 10 points. “Rhinelander is a great team,” Tiger Head Coach Taylor Varsho said afterward. “We didn’t take care of the ball very well. We had 23 turnovers, and that’s not going to win you very many basketball games. I can’t remember the last time we had 23, except for maybe the (Stevens) Point game in the beginning of the year.
“We just have to be better offensively. We’ve got to take care of the ball. We’ve got to have girls that want the ball in their hands at the end of the game. We were tied with seconds left, and it turns out we just made a silly mistake on the court (tonight). We’ve got to come out ready to play next Friday.”
While the Tigers were losing to Rhinelander, Stevens Point was losing to Wausau West. Despite 28 points from Leah Earnest, SPASH lost to the Warriors 66-54. That Panthers loss gave Marshfield the outright WVC championship with a record of 11-1. SPASH finished in second place at 10-2.
In Division 4, No. 2 Neillsville has secured a first-round bye as well. The Warriors will play the winner of the Cadott/Whitehall matchup in a regional semifinal on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Neillsville High School.
Also in Division 4, the Auburndale Apaches have locked up a No. 1 seed and a quarterfinal round bye. The Apaches face the Spencer/Stratford winner in a reqional semifinal on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Auburndale High School. The winner of that game faces either Colby or Stevens Point Pacelli in a regional championship contest on Feb. 29 at 7 p.m.
The Hornets, who made it all the way to the girls state tournament last season, ended their regular season with a 65-51 loss at McDonell in a third-place Cloverbelt Conference crossover game on Feb. 20 in Chippewa Falls.
In Division 5, just five teams get first-round byes going into the postseason. Everyone else was gearing up for quarterfinal games on Feb. 25 after wrapping up their regular seasons in the past week.
After holding Neillsville to a season-low 38 points in a loss to the Warriors Feb. 17 in Marshfield, the Columbus Dons rebounded to beat Cadott 51-48 in a fifth-place Cloverbelt Conference crossover game played Feb. 20. Heading into a regional quarterfinal contest with No. 10 Gilmanton Feb. 25, the Dons were still adjusting to life without leading scorer Addison Baierl, who was lost to a season-ending injury against Granton in the regular season.
“Losing Addison hurts a lot on offense”, Head Coach Ron Wilczek said before the Neillsville game. “When she went down, we talked to the girls about not one girl has to pick up that slack. We need everybody to score two, three, four more points, and we’re there.”
The winner of the Columbus/Gilmanton game plays at No. 2 Eleva-Strum Feb. 28 in a regional semifinal. Also in Division 5, No. 13 Pittsville was playing at No. 4 Blair-Taylor in round one, while No. 3 Loyal was hosting No. 14 New Auburn and No. 10 Greenwood was at No. 7 Flambeau.