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Columbus Catholic's Hailey Zimmermann works inside for a shot during the Dons' win over Rib Lake in their 2021-22 season opener Tuesday at Columbus Catholic High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/Zaleski Sports)

By Paul Lecker

Zaleski Sports

MARSHFIELD – The Columbus Catholic girls basketball team clamped down on defense from the start, led the entire game and pulled away with a 40-point second half to defeat Rib Lake 66-39 in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday night at Columbus Catholic High School.

The Dons scored the game’s first six points and led 19-6 after 3-pointers from Hailey Zimmermann and Sam Casperson.

Rib Lake cut it to seven with a 12-4 run led by Danielle Mann’s nine points and Columbus took a 26-16 lead into halftime.

“For the first game of the year, I thought we played exceptional,” Columbus Catholic coach Ron Wilczek said. “I thought we were solid defensively, we rebounded better than I thought we would. Girls were making contact, keeping contact, and grabbing rebounds. And offensively, we did a good job of moving the basketball and making good decisions.”

Columbus Catholic came out shooting in the second half, making five 3-pointers in the first 6½ minutes to open up a big lead.

Jenna Kibbel had two 3-pointers and a three-point play, and Maggie Callaghan drilled three from long range to push the Dons’ lead to 53-26.

“I challenged them at halftime a little bit,” Wilczek said. “I thought we relinquished the lead we had in the first half because we lost our focus. We had a lead and started coasting a little bit. I said we have to play it through all the time. It was good to see us come out with that intensity.”

Columbus led by at least 25 the rest of the way.

Callaghan finished with 16 points, Kibbel had 16 points and eight rebounds, Casperon added 12 points and Lily Stratman had six points and eight rebounds in the win for Columbus Catholic.

Mann had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Rib Lake, which shot just 22 percent (11-for-50) from the field and committed 19 turnovers.

Columbus Catholic will be back in action next Tuesday, Nov. 23, with a home game against Colby in its Cloverbelt Conference East Division opener.

Dons 66, Rib Lake 39

Rib Lake 16 23 - 39

Columbus Catholic 26 40 - 66

RIB LAKE (39): Reagan Reinhardt 2-9 4-6 910, Kamryn Annala 0-2 2-4 2, Danielle Mann 6-17 5-6 19, Josie Scheithauer 1-10 0-0 2, Addison Gumz 1-7 3-4 5, Hannah Schuh 0-0 0-0 0, Molly Heiser 1-3 0-0 2, Emily Rodman 0-2 0-0 0. FG: 11-50. FT: 14-20. 3-pointers: 3-11 (Mann 2-3, Reinhardt 1-3, Gumz 0-2, Scheithauer 0-3). Rebounds: 33 (Mann 13). Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: Annala. Record: 0-1.

COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (66): Maggie Callaghan 6-16 1-1 16, Mira Torbey 0-7 0-0 0, Gracie Wilczek 2-6 1-6 5, Sam Casperson 5-10 0-0 12, Hailey Zimmermann 3-9 0-0 7, Lily Stratman 3-7 0-2 6, Courtney Sommer 2-2 0-0 4, Jenna Kibbel 6-12 2-5 16. FG: 27-69. FT: 4-14. 3-pointers: 8-22 (Callaghan 3-6, Kibbel 2-5, Casperson 2-5, Zimmermann 1-5, Stratman 0-1). Rebounds: 44 (Kibbel 8, Stratman 8). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: none. Record: 1-0.

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