By Cole Walters
January 11, 2019
Wausau– On Friday January 11th, the Wausau West Warriors and Stevens Point Panthers faced off in a mid-season clash for first place in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. Both teams came into the contest at 5-0, only one could leave still unbeaten in conference play. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they fell short in a back-and-forth affair and dropped a 90-87 decision to the Panthers.
The game got started slow for both teams, as the Warriors couldn’t make a basket in the first three minutes of the game, while SPASH committed 5 turnovers in that span. With the score tied at 15 with 8:30 left in the first half, the Warriors went on their run. The Warriors went on an 18-6 run that spanned until the three minute and 24 second mark in the first half. With SPASH forward Leah Earnest in foul trouble, the Warriors took advantage with senior forward Tess Hauer getting offensive rebounds and easy put-backs, while senior guard Kadie Deaton drove the lane and found herself uncontested lay-ups to put the Warriors up 33-21.
The Panthers were looking for answers, and senior guard Madisyn Rogan stepped up. The Panthers went on a 14-3 run that spanned until the one minute mark of the first half. Rogan scored six out of the 14 points for the Panthers, but freshman forward Zoe Fink came up big for the Panthers off the bench as she hit two three-pointers to pull the Panthers within 36-35. Halftime came and both teams were tied at 38.
When the second half began, both teams continued to battle back-and-forth. Both teams went on scoring runs to prevent the other from pulling away in the game. The Panthers seemed to put the game away with an 8-1 scoring run when they were up 68-64 with six minutes remaining in the game. The Panthers stretched the lead to 76-67 with four minutes and 57 seconds remaining in the game. SPASH stretched the lead to 83-73 with three minutes remaining in the game, then came the come-back effort for the Warriors. Deaton found herself open on the wing for three and scored to pull the Warriors within 83-76 with two minutes and 59 seconds left. After a SPASH turnover, Schires went into the lane and made the lay-up to make the score 83-78.
The Panthers went up 85-78 with one minute and 45 seconds remaining. On the next Warrior possession, Deaton hit another three to pull the Warriors within 85-81 with a minute and 24 seconds remaining. After Rogan made a free-throw, Schires drained a three from the corner to make it a 2-point game at 86-84. Rogan went on to hit both free throws with 28 seconds remaining, but once again Schires hit a three from the wing to pull within 88-87 with 18 seconds remaining. Rogan got fouled again, and once again hit both of her free-throws to push the SPASH lead to 90-87 with 10 seconds remaining. The Warriors had one last chance to tie the game, but West’s final attempt clanked off the backboard and the back iron at the buzzer.
“For the fans in the stands, this was a great high-school basketball game to be a part of,” said head coach of Wausau West Tom Weinkauf. “The disappointing part on my end was that we gave up 90 points. Our defense struggled tonight inside the paint, and it’s tough to win a lot of games giving up 90 points. We can use this game as a learning experience for our defense, and we will come back ready for our next game.”
Head coach Kraig Terpstra said “Deaton and Schires are very good basketball players. It was tough to stop them. We needed that third scorer tonight and Fink stepped up to help us. Free-throw shooting from Rogan was clutch down the stretch, and it proved to be a difference.”
The Panthers improve their overall record to 11-3 overall and 6-0 in the Valley Conference, while the Warriors drop to 11-3 overall and 5-1 in the Valley Conference.
Stevens Point Scoring: Rachel Lummis 6, Joleece Pecore 3, Kaylee Hintz 5, Madisyn Rogan 34, Zoe Fink 15, Leah Earnest 27
Wausau West Scoring: Kadie Deaton 22, Kiley Deaton 3, Anna Cunningham 11, Maddie Schires 29, Tess Hauer 22