By David Stenklyft
January 25, 2019
Wausau– In a first place showdown for the Marawood-South Conference lead, Wausau Newman bested the visiting Stratford Tigers 59-47 on Friday night.
“I was really proud of our effort tonight,” said Newman Head Coach Jason Vanden Elzen. “Stratford had not been outscored in the second half all year, and we managed to do that. We’re happy for the win over a really good, well coached team.”
The tilt started as expected, with both teams trading leads. Newman’s Julie Seidel found the range for three early, hitting two, followed by another by Jadelyn Ganski.
Seidel, who was sporting a fresh shiner on her cheek after the game, also thought the emphasis on defense was instrumental on the win
“We knew they had some taller players, but if they can’t get to the ball, it doesn’t matter.”
Being in first place was also a plus for Seidel.
“We had this as one of our goals and it’s great to reach that. It brings energy and we want to keep that up.”
Stratford’s talented sophomore Breanna Ackley also did her share, scoring seven points to give the visitors a 17-16 lead with 10:41 to play in the half.
A long three for Newman’s Jada Heinz gave the hosts a 19-17 lead and soon the game would be changed, with Ackley collecting her second foul that sent her to the bench with eight minutes to go.
“That was a big opportunity for us,” said Vanden Elzen. “ And we were able to get the ball inside and take advantage.”
Newman then went on a 12-4 run, highlighted by four points from Ganski and some tight defense by the Cardinals, forcing long offensive possessions and wearing down the Tigers.
Vanden Elzen added, “We weren’t able to press or play defense we’d like to play, on the last game with them. Our press isn’t a turnover type, we just want to wear the other team down.”
Newman reached the bonus at the charity stripe at the four minute mark and Seidel and senior Mackenzie Krach each dropped two free throws, followed by a late basket by Lauren Shields, and the hosts lead at the half 33-22.
“Mackenzie does so many little things for us, she’s scrappy, diving on the floor, took a hit to the face tonight, I going to really miss her next year, and a role model for the younger players,” said Vanden Elzen.
Shields credited the game preparation for the big win.
“We wanted to play with attitude and energy, everyone stepped up and it was a really good game. We really communicated well on defense, boxed out, played with discipline and it worked.”
Stratford’s Macie Schillinger scored six straight to keep the pace with the Cardinals, but more importantly, Heinz and Shields picked up their third fouls and Stratford reached the bonus at the 8:52 mark and a comeback plan by the visitors seemed attainable.
They drained four free throws, but did not take full advantage of the gift and the deficit grew to sixteen at 51-35. Seven different players scored in the early second half, showing the balance of the Newman squad.
However, the Tigers had a bit of fight left in them.
They scored nine straight points to trim the lead to six, 53-47 with 1:38 to go.
Stratford was then forced to foul and the Cardinals were shooting the double bonus at the free throw line. That sealed the game for the hosts, with three each by Krach and Seidel to make the final 59-47.
Stratford Head Coach Tammie Christopherson was very proud of the fight her squad had late in the game.
“This team never gives up. I wouldn’t want to be a coach of any other team. They fight until the end. When we got down by sixteen, we could have laid down, but they kept at it.“
Stratford Scoring: T Schillinger 10, Lindner 5, M Schillenger 15, Ackley 17
Newman Scoring: Krach 5, Heinz 7, Shields 12, Ziemetz 2, Frankel 6, Seidel 17, Rougeot-Donath 2, Ganske 8