By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield girls basketball team played perhaps its best game of the season defensively on Friday night against D.C. Everest. Offensively? Not so much, but the Tigers made two big shots in the closing minutes, forced a needed turnover, and escaped with a 54-52 win at the Chips Hamburgers Fieldhouse at Marshfield High School.
Marshfield shot just 29 percent from the field, but made its final four attempts, including the game-winner from junior guard Dani Minsaas with 13 seconds left to even its record at 3-3 and improve to 2-1 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference.
The game was tight throughout as it was tied 26-26 at halftime and the lead changed hands 12 times in the second half.
D.C. Everest senior Kira Hammond scored her team’s final 16 points, including three of four free throws in the final 1½ minutes, to tie the game at 52-52 with 27 seconds to go.
Minsaas sank a jumper from the right side of the lane to give the Tigers the lead with 13 seconds left, then helped force a turnover near midcourt and Marshfield was able to run out the clock after a jump ball possession arrow went in its favor with less than a second left.
Following an 0-2 start, Marshfield has won three of its last four and coach Taylor Varsho said she likes what she sees from her team thus far.
“We do a lot of the extras, extra shooting in the morning when they don’t have to be told, the way Scott (assistant coach Scott Scheuer) trains the team, that has a lot to do with it,” Varsho said. “We practice hard and practice the way we play. We came out ready to play and hit a couple of big shots at the end.”
D.C. Everest built a 44-39 lead after Hammond took over, scoring all eight points of an 8-0 run.
Marshfield scratched back as Minsaas scored, Ayana Bousum scored on an offensive rebound, and Minsaas followed that with a 3-point to give the Tigers a 46-44 lead with 3:15 left.
Hammond had a three-point play and another basket following a Tigers’ turnover, before Marshfield went ahead again with three free throws and a jumper from Raella Schueller from 18 feet.
“(Schueller) has been struggling, she’s been in a slump,” Varsho said. “She stepped up and hit that shot like she has in practice many, many times. We’re getting better on offense and getting better on defense and that’s what it’s all about. We want to be playing our best basketball at the end of February.”
Hammond, who finished with 30 points, hit three of four free throws to tie the game at 52-52 before Minsaas’ game-winner.
Marshfield shot just 20-for-68 from the field, but forced 23 turnovers and had 17 offensive rebounds in the victory.
Minsaas finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Bousum added eight points for the Tigers.
Marshfield will play at Wausau East and D.C. Everest will host Stevens Point in Wisconsin Valley Conference games on Tuesday.
Tigers 54, Evergreens 52
D.C. Everest 26 26 - 52
Marshfield 26 28 - 54
D.C. EVEREST (52): Braelyn Beiler 2-12 1-2 6, Katie Schulz 0-0 0-0 0, Kira Hammond 11-15 8-9 30, Riley Zuleger 1-1 3-4 5, Brenna Lehrke 0-1 0-0 0, Kennedy Stowell 1-6 1-2 3, Lauryn Wimmer 0-1 0-0 0, Abby Kislow 1-5 4-6 6, Ella Pavlovich 1-3 0-0 2. FG: 17-44. FT: 17-23. 3-pointers: 1-7 (Beiler 1-6, Lehrke 0-1). Rebounds: 30 (Hammond 6). Turnovers: 23. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: none. Record: 4-4, 1-1 Wisconsin Valley Conference.
MARSHFIELD (54): Madison Voss 1-4 0-0 2, Sophia Gruenling 0-1 0-0 0, Zaida Kolbeck 2-6 1-2 7, Dani Minsaas 6-18 3-4 16, Abby Ongna 1-5 4-6 6, Raella Schueller 2-9 0-0 5, Ashley Grancorvitz 2-6 0-0 4, Loryn Jakobi 3-9 0-0 6, Ayana Bousum 3-10 1-1 8. FG: 20-68. FT: 9-13. 3-pointers: 5-23 (Kolbeck 2-4, Schueller 1-4, Bousum 1-5, Minsaas 1-9, Voss 0-1). Rebounds: 39 (Minsaas 9). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Grancorvitz. Record: 3-3, 2-1 Wisconsin Valley Conference.