By Robert Whitmire
The SPASH Panthers girls basketball team celebrated Senior Night with a 53-47 win over D.C. Everest Thursday night at the SPASH fieldhouse.
The game was a see-saw affair from the start with Everest jumping out to a 12-6 lead at the 8:20 mark of the first half. SPASH stayed within striking distance and went to the locker room trailing 28-25. The Panthers tied the game at 32 on a layup by Maggie Negaard at 13:54 of the second half but Everest refused to go away and with the score knotted at 43-43 with 6:33 left to play SPASH went on a 10-4 run down the stretch.
SPASH was led in scoring by Sophomore Maggie Negaard who lit up the board with 29 points. Taylor Beadles (6), Halle Gregorich (6), Rachel Sullivan (4), Madisyn Rogan (4), Brooke Tuszka (2) and Lauren Gerads (2) rounded out the Panther attack.
SPASH hit 17 two-pointers, three three–pointers and were 10 of 14 from the free throw line.
Playing in their final regular season home game for SPASH were seniors Taylor Beadles, Lauren Gerads, Tia Moore, Kayla Pavelski, and Hannah Worzella.
Head Coach Derek Kirklewski reflected on the careers of the five seniors.
“We have five seniors; Taylor Beadles, Lauren Gerads, Tia Moore, Kayla Pavelski and Hannah Worzella,” she said. “They have put a great deal of time in to make this program what it is — a great measuring stick of success is if you leave something better than what it was when you got there. Our program is better now because we had the opportunity to have these young ladies be a part of it.”
The Panthers begin WIAA tournament play on Friday, Feb. 26 when they travel to Wausau West to face the Warriors. SPASH split a pair of regular season games with Wausau West losing 65-60 Dec. 15 and taking a 74-73 overtime win Jan. 26.
“We are playing some pretty good basketball right now and are excited to see what we can do next Friday in Wausau against Wausau West,” Kirklewski said. “They are a very talented team, however I think if we play well, we can be right in that game and hopefully find a way to win at the end. If we’re fortunate enough to get by West, we’ll worry about that one when we get to that point.”
The Panthers finish the regular season with a 7-5 Wisconsin Valley Conference record.
The SPASH junior varsity team won 42-32, Maddie Fink led the scoring with 10 points. Sadie Adamski (7), Brooklyn Seefeldt (7), Abby Gemza (6), Kaylee Hintz (6), Rachel Lummis (4) and Lillyanna Gignac (2) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers.