By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports
MARSHFIELD – Loyal figured out its offensive woes in the second half, while Marshfield Columbus Catholic could not.
In a game marred by nearly five dozen turnovers, the Greyhounds were able to overcome their ball-handling problems and used a big second-half run to pull away to a 49-34 win on Monday night at Columbus Catholic High School.
The Dons led 21-18 with 14:39 to go after a basket by Addison Baierl. From there, it was all Loyal.
The Greyhounds embarked on a 14-0 run, and after a 3-pointer from Columbus’ Holly Dean, they scored the next 10 to open up an 18-point lead and cruised from there.
“Both teams really focus on and prioritize defense,” Columbus Catholic coach Ron Wilczek said. “I think we played incredible defense early and when they went on a little run, I think we just didn’t battle through some adversity, looked at the scoreboard and started worrying a little bit and panicking.
“I was proud of our effort. Our biggest Achilles’ heel is putting the ball in the hole, and we had a hard time doing that against a very good defensive team.”
Despite 18 turnovers in the first half, Loyal managed to earn a 15-14 lead by halftime.
Columbus was just 5-for-18 shooting and Bailey Bravener’s 3-pointer with 1:35 to go gave Loyal the lead.
A 3-pointer by Dean and two baskets by Baierl put the Dons back on top before Loyal heated up.
The Greyhounds (10-2, 7-1 Cloverbelt East) made 10 of their final 16 shot attempts and were 11-for-14 at the free throw line over the final 14:21 to win going away.
After pushing into a tie for first place in the Cloverbelt Conference East Division with Loyal and Neillsville, the Dons (6-7, 5-4 Cloverbelt East) since have lost three in a row – to the two co-leaders and Colby – falling into fifth in the standings.
“I love our effort, we’re pretty together, and we’re in a lot of competitive games,” Wilczek said. “I think sometimes the final score doesn’t indicate how close of a game really was. We’ve had a hard time getting over the hump against some really good teams. We had a tough stretch here with Neillsville, Loyal and Colby. We just have to find a way to score some points, hence why we press, trying to get some offense through our defense.”
Remi Geiger led Loyal with 13 points and Bravener finished with 10.
Baierl had 19 points for the Dons, despite shooting just 6-for-21 from the field. Dean added eight points.
Columbus Catholic hosts Spencer and Loyal will be at Greenwood in Cloverbelt East action on Thursday.
Greyhounds 49, Dons 34 Loyal 15 34 – 49 Columbus Catholic 14 20 – 34 LOYAL (49): Katlyn Lindner 3-8 3-3 9, Remi Geiger 4-9 2-2 13, Mckenna Schley 0-0 0-0 0, Savannah Schley 1-3 2-2 4, Abrial Kubista 3-3 0-0 6, Natasha Tellock 2-3 1-2 5, Kayla Bremmer 1-1 0-1 2, Bailey Bravener 3-7 3-4 10. FG: 17-34. FT: 11-14. 3-pointers: 4-14 (Geiger 3-6, Bravener 1-3, S. Schley 0-2, Lindner 0-3). Rebounds: 28 (Bravener 5, Lindner 5, Geiger 5, S. Schley 5). Turnovers: 34. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: S. Schley. Record: 10-2, 7-1 Cloverbelt Conference East Division. COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (34): Annika Brown 0-3 4-8 4, Addison Baierl 6-21 7-9 19, Emmalee Jicinsky 0-2 0-2 0, Meghan Kibbel 0-2 1-4 1, Kelsey Moore 1-3 0-0 2, Holly Dean 3-7 0-0 8, Jenna Kibbel 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 10-38. FT: 12-23. 3-pointers: 2-8 (Dean 2-3, Baierl 0-4, Moore 0-1). Rebounds: 18 (Jicinsky 5). Turnovers: 24. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Brown. Record: 6-7, 5-4 Cloverbelt Conference East Division.