By Robert Whitmire
The SPASH Panthers improved its Wisconsin Valley Conference record to 5 – 4 with a 53 -31 win over the Merrill Bluejays at the SPASH Fieldhouse Friday night. Merrill drops to 3 – 7 in the conference.
The Panthers also took time after the game to pay tribute to the lone senior on the team this season, Brooke Tuszka.
SPASH held Merrill to just seven points in the first half taking a 24 – 7 lead into the break. Junior Maggie Negaard, seeing her first action of the season put the Panthers on the board just seconds into the game and went on to score a game-high 17 points.
The Panthers hit 19 of 39 two pointers, 3 of 12 three pointers and were 6 of 11 at the charity stripe.
“We played great defense tonight,” said Panther coach Derek Kirklewski. “I was incredibly proud of how we rebounded the basketball tonight and we moved the ball well offensively. We played like we are capable of tonight.”
The Panthers pulled down 37 rebounds including nine on the offensive side and 28 defensive boards. Rachel Sullivan led the effort on the boards hauling down seven rebounds. Leah Earnest pulled in six with Halle Gregorich and Maggie Negaard each recording five boards..
The SPASH Junior Varsity dropped a 45 – 43 decision to Merrill and the JV2 squad lost 64 – 19.
SPASH returns to action Monday night when they host Rhinelander at the Fieldhouse in a non-conference make-up, then hit the road for a game at D.C. Everest Friday, Feb. 10. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 PM starts.
Varsity: Brooke Tuszka 6; Kaylin Kostuchowski 2; Halle Gregorich 8; Rachel Sullivan 3; Maggie Negaard 17; Abby Gemza 2; Madisyn Rogan 9; Leah Earnest 4; Maelyn Mutz 2.
JV: Rachel Lummis 18; Kaylee Hintz 11; Hailey Carlson 6; Joleece Pecore 4; Izabelle Eppinger 4.
JV2: Delaynie Simkowski 9, Ariana Sotelo 8; Haley Skowronski 2