CWS Sports Desk
February 3, 2019
Wausau– The stage is set for the renewal of one of central Wisconsin’s best girls basketball rivalries as the Newman Cardinals will face off against Assumption in Wisconsin Rapids on Tuesday night.
Here’s the game info and a look at how the two teams match up by the numbers.
Where: Assumption High School, Wisconsin Rapids
When: 7:15 p.m.
Records: Newman 16-3, Assumption 15-4
The big stat here in terms of overall records is 1-0 in favor of Newman. The Cardinals knocked off Assumption 62-52 on December 11. That was a lifetime ago and both teams have shown steady improvement. Assumption has suffered two losses to Marawood-South opponent Stratford. Newman lost two early games to Eau Claire North and Wausau West, respectively, and also has a loss to Stratford. The Cardinals own an eleven-game winning streak heading into Tuesday’s contest. Assumption has won six in a row.
State Ranking: Newman #4, Assumption #6
The WSN Week 10 coaches poll bumped Newman up to the #4 slot after checking in at #5 in Week 9. The Cardinals have not slipped out of the top ten in Division 5 all season. Meanwhile, Assumption shot up to #6 in week 10 after holding down the #9 spot in Week 9.
Points Per Game: Newman 59.7, Assumption 54.9
Assumption is led by Madalyn Bohn and Elle Leberg, while Jessie Grundhoffer and Emily Bohn can also do damage. The bigger takeaway for Assumption is that because they lack individual superstars, they have to play well as a team– which they have done this season. Newman’s line up is the stuff of nightmares for opposing teams. Jadelyn Ganski can score from inside as well as from three point range. Julia Seidel is a three point maven. Lauren Shields and Mackenzie Krach are also serious scoring threats. Shields thrust a dagger into Assumption last year with a last second overtime shot to end Assumption’s season. Krach is fresh off a career night in which she scored 26 points against Chequamegon.
According to WSN, Newman has given up 806 points to their opponents this season, while scoring 1134 points. Newman gave up 75 points to Wausau West on November 27, but that was an outlier against one of the better Division 1 teams in the area. Newman has held six opponents under 40 points or under: Augusta, Marathon, Prentice, Edgar, Stratford and Chequamegon. Assumption has scored 1042 points while giving up 793. The Royals limited Abbotsford to just 24 points on November 29 and held Chequamegon to 22 points on January 4. The Royals held Columbus Catholic, Abbotsford, Edgar (twice), Chequamegon, Rib Lake and Pacelli, respectively, under 40 points.
CWS Staff Views on the Game
There aren’t any secrets between these teams– Assumption and Newman know each other inside and out– and when that’s the case, it usually comes down to execution. Which team does a better job of protecting the ball? Which team can make free throws down the stretch? I think Assumption’s best chance to win is to take it to Newman right from the tip and build up an early lead, really send a signal that they’re not going to back down. Assumption also has to be the more physical team, and with their line up, I think that’s something they can do. I think the nightmare scenario for Assumption is that Newman gets out to a fast start, nails a bunch of early three pointers and really seizes momentum in the first half. That would be tough to come back from against a team as offensively gifted as Newman’s.
Assumption vs. Wausau Newman has always been one of the most classic rivalries in central Wisconsin. I could make a case that it is the best rivalry in the surrounding area. Newman comes in at 12-1 in conference play where a win against Assumption will clinch the Marawood South outright. The Royals come in at 10-3 in conference, and look to spoil Newman’s chance to clinch the conference outright. The take I have is that if Wausau Newman can prevent Elle Leberg and Assumption from getting hot from three-point range, they will force the Bohn sisters to score a lot of points in the paint. If Newman can race out to a double-digit lead at halftime, the Royals will find themselves in trouble and it will be difficult for them to come back. The Royals will look to slow down the Cardinals fast-paced offense by forcing them to run their half-court offense. If the Royals can limit fast-break points and keep the game low-scoring, that will favor the Royals throughout the game. A big key for both teams: who can make more free-throws and who can limit turnovers. The game is expected to be another classic with a lot on the line for both teams.
These two rivals have been at the top of the Marawood for as long as most can remember. Assumption enters the game looking to spoil Newman’s chance at an outright title, and in essence, that puts more pressure on Newman. Neither team has an edge in coaching. Jason Vanden Elzen has established quite a program at Newman since he took over the reins, and Ryan Klein was a part of Assumption’s coaching staff when the Royals were state-bound year after year. I’m not sure either team can be rattled, with the experience they each have out on the floor. Assumption’s keys are real simple. The Royals need to feed the ball into the post and capitalize on open shots. If they do that, and keep the score close, it’s a toss up down the stretch. Newman has so much firepower that if they can get out to a sizable lead, it will be difficult for the Royals to get back into the game.
It comes down to rebounds. In the first game, the Cardinals boxed out and negated the clear size advantage the Royals had in the paint. They limited Assumption to several one-shot possessions. And once Newman made some shots Assumption had to play catch up, it was too late. If the Royals can do better on the boards and still utilize their size they can change the outcome.