Raiders shoot well in win over Jays, not so well in Friday loss
MEDFORD GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Medford Raiders took advantage of a rescheduled date with Merrill and regained some momentum heading into the WIAA Division 2 tournament with a 51-36 win over the Blue Jays Tuesday at Raider Hall.
Originally scheduled to be played Feb. 3 but forced to be postponed when illness hit the Jays hard, the make-up date gave the Raiders a game in what would have been a completely open week and allowed them to wash away the frustration from a Friday loss at Mosinee.
Medford ended the regular season 16-6, while Merrill fell to 6-12 with the loss.
The seventh-seeded Raiders will get one more game at Raider Hall this coming Tuesday when they host 10th-seeded Rice Lake (6-15) in the regional opener at 7 p.m. The winner earns a trip to secondseeded Onalaska (16-5) for a Feb. 28 regional semifinal.
Shooting was a big story in Tuesday’s win. The Raiders executed well in the first half with its five-out motion offense as patience led to creases in the Merrill defense that the Raiders eventually exposed with hard drives to the basket. Marissa Fronk’s 3-pointer put Medford up 5-4 and the Raiders never trailed again.
Rynn Ruesch, Katie Brehm, Sierra Hanson and Fronk all scored by attacking the basket in a 17-2 run that was capped by an Autumn Krause steal and a Fronk basket off a Hanson assist. The run ended with Medford up 19-6.
The lead grew to 24-8 on a right-corner 3-pointer by Krause before the Raiders settled for a 27-13 halftime lead.
In the first 18 minutes, the Raiders were 11 of 21 from the field (52.4%) and had nine assists on those 11 made shots.
The Raiders led by as many as 18 in the second half at 42-24 and weren’t seriously threatened. It wasn’t always pretty, but they managed to control the ball and kill the clock down the stretch when Merrill increased its pressure and they hit enough free throws to keep the lead in double digits.
For the game, Medford made 12 of 24 free throws, outrebounded Merrill 36-20 and made 18 of 47 shots overall (48.6%), including three of nine 3-pointers.
Merrill, conversely, was a frigid eight of 40 from the field (20%) and missed all 15 of its 3-point attempts. Merrill did make 20 of 26 free throws, but that wasn’t good enough to stay close.
Fronk led all scorers with 20 points as she made seven of 12 shots from the field and five of eight free throws. She grabbed five rebounds. Brehm had a solid night in the post with eight points and four rebounds. Krause scored nine with a pair of 3s and had a team-high three steals.
Ruesch attacked the basket well and finished with eight points, six rebounds and two assists before fouling out. Hanson had four points, five rebounds and a team-high six assists. Laurissa Klapatauskas had an early bucket, 10 rebounds and three assists while getting the start for the Raiders, who were without senior Brynn Rau.
Courtney Krueger led Merrill with 11 points. Reese Mrachek and Ashley Prebeg scored eight apiece.
Mosinee 41, Medford 34
The Raiders entered Friday’s Great Northern Conference finale at Mosinee still holding a chance to share second place, but an abysmal shooting night led to them dropping to fourth in the final standings with a 41-34 loss to the Indians.
Despite shooting just 22% from the field (13 of 59), the door was open late for Medford to complete a comeback from an 11-point deficit. The Raiders pulled within 32-30 on a steal and score by Hanson with 5:06 left and had the ball afterwards with a chance to tie or take the lead. A good look inside rimmed out, leading to a Paige Wicklund free throw for Mosinee with 4:07 left. Hanson hit a runner with 3:33 left to pull the Raiders within 33-32.
But Wicklund hit two free throws 15 seconds later and after a couple more missed offensive opportunities, Kate Fitzgerald scored from the left baseline with just under 1:30 left and, after a Raider turnover, Jenna Placek sealed it, scoring off a sideline inbound lob to make it 39-32 with 1:10 left.
Medford had a 4-1 lead early after a jumper by Brehm but a nearly sevenminute scoring drought, followed by another drought that lasted over five minutes put the Raiders behind for good.
However, the Raiders limited Mosinee to just 28% shooting from the field (14 of 50), which allowed them to stay in it.
Krause’s 3-pointer was the only made shot between those two early droughts and got Medford within 11-7 at the time. A three-point play by Brehm, followed by a Hanson 3-pointer and a Klapatauskas free throw got the Raiders as close as 16-14 before Mosinee hit two of four free throws to take an 18-14 halftime lead.
The Indians opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 27-16 lead. Wicklund hit two key 3-pointers early in the half to keep the lead in double digits until Medford started chipping away down 30-20 with eight minutes left. Brynn Rau got loose for an easy one in the lane and Fronk hit a 17-foot jumper before Placek hit a right-wing jumper to make it 32-24. Krause hit two free throws and assisted on a Klapatauskas bucket to cut Mosinee’s lead to four with 5:35 left.
Hanson led the Raiders with nine points and added seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Fronk scored eight points and led the team with four steals while grabbing three rebounds. Krause and Brehm scored five points each. Krause had six rebounds. Brehm had three steals. Rau and Rynn Ruesch scored two points each. Rau had four rbeounds. Ruesch had three rebounds and two assists.
Wicklund’s 15 points and nine rebounds led Mosinee. Lexi Freiboth added nine points, 10 boards and four assists.
Mosinee (8-3 GNC, 15-4 overall) had a slight 42-39 rebounding edge. Medford committed 17 turnovers, while the Indians had 20. Medford was just two of 15 on 3-point shots and seven of 27 on shots in the lane.