By Robert Whitmire
The SPASH Girls Basketball team pulled out a 65 -64 nail biter over Great Northern Conference opponent Rhinelander at the fieldhouse Monday night.
The win leaves SPASH with a 7 – 11 overall record, 5 – 4 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. Rhinelander drops to 5 – 10 overall, 3 – 6 in the Great Northern Conference.
It was Teacher Appreciation night at the fieldhouse and team members were introduced with their favorite teachers during pregame festivities.
The Panthers jumped out to a quick 5 – 0 lead and built that margin to 12 points, leading 35 – 23 at the half.
Rhinelander put together a 10-11 run midway through the second period to close the gap to two points at 46 – 44 and with 4:12 remaining closed that gap to one at 59 – 58. SPASH managed to keep the Hodags at bay and pull out the win.
“It felt great to get back playing again and I have a new appreciation for this great game,” said junior Maggie Negaard, who was playing just her second game of the season.
Negaard led all scorers with 35 points including several clutch shots down the stretch for the Panthers. Rachel Sullivan and Madisyn Rogan each added 11 points and Leah Earnest 10.
The Hodags were led in scoring by Kaly Kostrova with 20 points and Ali Schickert with 15.
“Everyone really worked together and stuck through the adversity,” said Negaard. “We all fought back and played team basketball.”
The Panthers hit 24 of 53 from the field including 3 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc and 14 of 21 from the charity stripe. Rachel Sullivan, Madisyn Rogan and Leah Earnest each cleared five boards and Negaard pulled down 4 to lead the Panther rebounding.
SPASH returns to action Friday, Feb. 10 when it travels to D.C. Everest to face the league leading Evergreens in a 7:30 PM game. The Panthers will turn right around and welcome Everest to the SPASH Fieldhouse Monday, Feb. 13 in a 7:30 PM make-up clash.
The Panther JV team took a 58 – 55 win over the Hodags. Kaylee Hiintz led the Panthers with 15 points. Kelsie Kostuchowski and Rachel Lummis each dropped in twelve.
The JV2 squad dropped a 40 – 33 decision. Ariana Sotelo was leading scorer with 15 points. Delaynie Simkowski rang up 13 points and Dennessa Kohel dropped in 8.
Varsity: Maggie Negaard 25; Madisyn Rogan 11; Rachel Sullivan 11; Leah Earnest 10; Kaylin Kostuchowski 4; Brooke Tuszka 2; Abby Gemza 2.
JV squad: Kaylee Hintz 15; Rachel Lummis 12; Kelsie Kostuchowski 12; Hailey Carlson 6; Izabelle Eppinger 6; Joleece Pecore 5; Kirsten Hill 2.
JV2: Ariana Sotelo 15; Delaynie Simkowski 13; Dennessa Kohel 8; Allison Cobian 2; Haley Skowronski 1.