By Robert Whitmire
STEVENS POINT — The SPASH girls basketball team pulled out a 71 – 67 win over Wausau West Friday night at the fieldhouse to improve their Wisconsin Valley Conference record to 6 – 1, 14 – 2 overall. West drops to 4 – 3 in the WVC, 11 – 4 overall.
The Panthers jumped out to a 16 – 8 lead early in the first half before West put together an 8 – 0 spurt to knot the score at 16 – 16 with 8:38 showing on the clock.
SPASH outscored the Warriors 19 – 6 down the stretch to take a 35 – 22 lead into the break.
The Warriors battled back in the second half outscoring SPASH 32 – 18 over the first 9 minutes of the period and taking a 54 – 53 lead with just over six minutes remaining. SPASH regrouped and held on down the stretch with a clutch steal and layup by senior Halle Gregorich providing the spark.
“I knew we all needed to bring energy and keep our composure down the stretch,” said Gregorich. “Half way through the season we continue to work hard on our game and preparing for each battle. January is where champions are made,” Gregorich noted.
Maggie Negaard led the Panther scoring with 22 points. Leah Earnest dropped in seventeen and Madisyn Rogan added twelve for SPASH. Rachel Sullivan pulled down seven rebounds.
The SPASH junior varsity squad dropped a 63—54 overtime decision to West. Izabbelle Eppinger led the Panthers lighting up the board with 16 points. The JV2 team took a 49 – 45 win over the Warriors led by Sami Huebner’s seventeen points.
The Panthers return to action January 23 at Marshfield. Opening tip is scheduled for 6:00. The SPASH boys will take the floor in the second game of the evening at Marshfield High School.
SPASH: Maggie Negaard 22; Leah Earnest 17; Madisyn Rogan 12; Halle Gregorich 10; Rachel Sullivan 6; Maddie Fink 4;
West: Kadie Deaton 32; Tess Hauer 14; Maddie Shires 12; Shelby Samz 6; Malena Tonelli 3
SPASH JV: Izabelle Eppinger 16; Joleece Pecore 12; Hailey Carlson 11; Faith Weddle 7; Kelsie Kostuchowski 4; Rachel Placeway 2; Kylie Klismith 2.
SPASH JV2: Sami Huebner 17; Tia Livernash 9; Nakia Keenlance 8; Ayla Woyak 6; ana Vasserot 3; Meagan Egner 2; Megan Bonikowske 2; Mack Hetzel 2.
The boys basketball team rolled over West 71 – 31 at West. The win improves the Panther record to 5 – 1 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference.
Panther senior Drew Blair led all scorers with 24 points. Blair dished out six assists and cleared five boards for the Panthers. Evan Vollendorf and Drew Cullen each added 11 points. Cullen finished the night with eight rebounds and four assists.
SPASH Scoring: Drew Blair 24; Drew Cullen 11; Evan Vollendorf 11; Darren Zwicker 8; Adam Willoughby 6; Max Hofmeister 4; Brenna Mueller 3; Nolan Blair 3; Joe Bergquist 2.
West: David Bagby 7; Drew Schoch 5; Mitchell Michalske 5; Nick Adrian 4; Logan White 3; Bobby McGacken 3;Brandon Clauson 2; Matt Wittenberg 2.