Marshfield's Eleni Seitz drives past Newman's Taylor Thomas during the second quarter of the nonconference girls basketball game Wednesday at Marshfield High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)
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By Paul Lecker
Click for full interview with Marshfield coach Heidi Michaelis
MARSHFIELD – There was no miracle comeback for the Marshfield girls basketball team on Wednesday.
A day after rallying with a 14-0 run to close out a nine-point win over Pulaski, the Tigers fell behind early against Wausau Newman Catholic and never could get back to even, losing 57-48 in the championship game of the Marshfield Holiday Invitational at the Marshfield High School Fieldhouse.
Newman (9-0) used a relentless, full-court pressure defense to force Marshfield into 24 turnovers, including six in the first quarter as it built a 14-9 lead.
Marshfield (4-2) got as close as two but never could figure out a way to consistently solve the Cardinals’ defense.
“We talk about it all the time, if you don’t take care of the ball, it’s hard to win games,” Marshfield coach Heidi Michaelis said. “Give Newman all the credit. The pressure they have is relentless and constant, and they do a very good job of what they do well, which is to make you uncomfortable on the offensive end.”
The Tigers, who struggled shooting for most of the game against Pulaski, did again in the first half against Newman, making 8 of 23 shots from the field.
After Eleni Seitz scored four of her 12 points early in the second quarter to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 19-15, Marshfield missed on six straight possessions before Leah Ripp hit a jumper at the 2:58 mark to make it 19-17.
Taylor Varsho, who had a game-high 20 points, had a steal and layup to again cut Marshfield’s deficit to two, Newman closed the half with six straight points – four from Taylor Thomas from the free-throw line – to grab a 27-19 lead at the break.
Marshfield found its shooting touch in the second half, making 11 of 20 shots, but got no closer than five points of the lead as it committed 11 more turnovers and allowed nine second-chance points in the third quarter.
“It’s not something you can simulate in the practice,” Michaelis said of Newman’s defense. “For us, that’s obviously the most pressure we’ve seen all year. That’s what Newman does. It’s a matter of kids being poised and disciplined and realizing that what Newman is trying to make you play fast and hurry.”
Newman led by as many as 11 when Sarah Connolly hit a 3-pointer and Lauren Tubbs scored off a rebound, giving the Cardinals a 44-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Seitz scored four straight points to make it 51-46 with 3:48 left. The Cardinals made a comeback possible, missing six of 12 free-throw attempts in the final 3:17, but Marshfield turned it over twice and missed its final five shot attempts.
Marshfield is off until Friday, Jan. 7, when it hosts D.C. Everest in a Wisconsin Valley Conference game.
Notes: Pulaski won the third-place game, beating Green Bay Preble 57-38 … Newman beat Marshfield in the JV tournament championship game 47-41. Pulaski also beat Preble in the third-place game, 34-30 … Varsho, Brittni Wirtz of Pulaski, Thomas and Erica Hartke of Newman, and Mackenzie Perttu of Preble were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Cardinals 57, Tigers 48
Newman 14 13 17 13 – 57
Marshfield 9 10 14 15 – 48
NEWMAN (57): Megan Connolly 3-7 2-4 8, Terese Dlobik 1-1 0-0 3, Sarah Connolly 2-6 3-5 8, Lauren Tubbs 4-12 1-1 10, Erica Hartke 2-4 4-8 9, Taylor Thomas 3-10 6-6 12, Brianna Jehn 3-8 0-0 7. FG: 18-48. FT: 16-23. 3-pointers: 5-10 (Hartke 1-1, Dlobik 1-1, Jehn 1-2, Tubbs 1-2, Connolly 1-2, Thomas 0-2). Rebounds: 28 (Tubbs 6, Connolly 5). Turnovers: 18. Total fouls: 15. Fouled out: none. Record: 9-0.
MARSHFIELD (48): Taylor Varsho 9-21 0-1 20, Tiffany Stargardt 1-4 0-0 2, Leah Ripp 3-8 0-2 7, Sarah Wolff 0-0 0-0 0, Alyssa Brenner 3-5 1-2 7, Courtney Bauer 0-0 0-0 0, Eleni Seitz 3-5 6-6 12. FG: 19-43. FT: 7-11. 3-pointers: 3-10 (Varsho 2-8, Ripp 1-2). Rebounds: 28 (Seitz 8, Varsho 7, Benner 6). Turnovers: 24. Total fouls: 22. Fouled out: Varsho. Record: 4-2.