MEDFORD GIRLS BASKETBALL - Girls get it done late, get first W at Hayward
MEDFORD GIRLS BASKETBALL
Rylee Hraby and Toryn Rau made key plays in the final six minutes leading the Medford Raiders’ 12-6 game-ending stretch Thursday that secured a 42-36 victory at Hayward.
The Raiders’ first win of the year wasn’t pretty at times, but the execution in some crunch-time situations was something they were excited to see as they ended a two-year losing streak to the Hurricanes in their nonconference series. Medford led most the way in a matchup between two teams looking to rebound from one-sided losses two nights earlier. Each time Medford created a little separation, Hayward would fight back.
Tied 30-30 as the second half got under the six-minute mark, the Raiders finally were able to push ahead for good.
It started with a Hraby basket with 5:20 to go on her third try of the possession. After Hurricane Hailey Waystedt missed two free throws, Hraby sank a 3-point shot to open up a 35-30 lead with 4:47 to go.
Hraby led Medford with 13 points, putting a tough shooting night against Shawano in the opener in the rearview mirror. She hit five of 11 shots from the field, including three of six 3-pointers.
Rau made one of two free throws with 2:45, but she corralled the long rebound on her miss. She ended the long possession by cutting through the lane and scoring off a Taylor Klingbeil assist to put the Raiders up 38-30 for their biggest lead of the game.
Rau returned the favor to Klingbeil at the 1:44 mark, hitting the cutting freshman with a perfect pass for a lay-in that made it 40-32. After Hayward cut Medford’s lead to five with free throws, Hraby sealed it with a steal and score with 15 seconds left.
Rau had 10 points for Medford in the win to go with eight rebounds, six steals and three more defensive deflections.
The Raiders came out with a new look defensively, employing a 1-3-1 zone in halfcourt sets with Baumgartner and Klingbeil giving them some length at the top. They also applied some full-court pressure. Hayward turned the basketball over 28 times, twice more than Medford. The Hurricanes shot just 31.6% from the field (12 of 38), including just eight of 24 on two-point shots. Medford grabbed three early fourpoint leads and got it to five at 14-9 following a Rau basket on the baseline off a bullet pass from Kayla Baumgartner and a Baumgartner free throw off a Rau steal. Hayward finished the first half with a 5-0 run to tie at 14-14, thanks to a basket from Grace Schmidt and a late 3-pointer from Greta Schmidt.
Medford opened the second half with a 10-3 run, capped by a Hraby steal that led to a Baumgartner fast-break basket and a triple from Hraby that made it 2417. Hayward came storming back to take a 27-26 lead, following a pair of Waystedt baskets. Rau posted up and scored with her left hand, and that was followed by a Baumgartner steal and score to make it 30-27. Hayward countered with a free throw and a basket by Avery Poppe to make it 30-30 heading down the stretch.
Baumgartner had 10 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Klingbeil had six points, two rebounds and two steals. Aliyah Pilgrim added three free throws, three steals and two rebounds.
Medford was just a little better than Hayward from the field, making 16 of 38 shots (42.1%), including 13 of 28 two-point tries. Rebounding was nearly even with Medford holding a 26-25 edge. Medford outscored Hayward in the paint 26-16.
Greta Schmidt led Hayward with 12 points, while Poppe had eight.
Medford hosted Chippewa Falls Tuesday, after the early holiday deadline for The Star News. The Raiders will be busy next week, hosting Rhinelander Tuesday for the Great Northern Conference opener and then welcoming McDonell Central for a Nov. 30 non-conference game before heading to defending GNC and WIAA Division 2 sectional champion Lakeland on Dec. 1.