By Tim Johnson
WAUSAU – Behind the play of Addie Baierl, the Marshfield Columbus Catholic girls basketball team scored eight of the game’s 13 points over the opening six minutes of play Monday to grab some early momentum in a WIAA postseason game.
The next points for the Dons came early in the second half, and by then they trailed Newman Catholic by more than 30 points.
The Cardinals held Columbus Catholic scoreless for nearly 16 minutes of game play on the way to a 57-29 win in a Division 5 girls basketball regional final. Newman Catholic went on a 35-0 run during the Dons’ drought to put an end to any doubt of the outcome.
“That’s the game,” Columbus Catholic coach Ron Wilczek said. “I thought our effort was good early and we were active in our (defensive) zone. We just couldn’t buy a basket. (Newman Catholic) is very, very good and they are well-coached. A lot of those shots that didn’t go were because of good defense, too. That’s basketball sometimes – you take good shots and you don’t make them.”
Julia Seidel and Jadelyn Ganski both had 15 points to lead four Newman Catholic players in double figures.
Lauren Shields and Kenzie Krach added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Marawood Conference South Division champions.
“You pick your poison with them,” Wilczek said of the Cardinals’ scoring options. “They’re a good team.”
The top-seeded Cardinals (22-3), who reached the state semifinals last season, face No. 2 Wisconsin Rapids Assumption in a sectional semifinal game on Thursday at Wausau West. Newman beat Assumption 62-52 at home on December 11 and 61-52 in Wisconsin Rapids on February 11.
“Our motto is, ‘We don’t have practice tomorrow, we get to practice tomorrow,’” Seidel said. “We’re just looking to come into practice tomorrow with a new fire and working hard to accomplish our next goal.”
Baierl had a team-high 13 points for fifth-seeded Columbus Catholic, which finishes the season with a 14-10 mark. Maren Seefluth and Annika Brown added eight and six points, respectively.
Baierl had the first four points of the game and had six in the first half as the Dons jumped out to an 8-5 lead. Newman Catholic ended the half on a 22-0 run.
The Cardinals scored the first 13 points after the break to build a 40-8 lead before Baierl’s field goal with 13:55 left in regulation finally ended the run.
“(Columbus Catholic) came out and hit some shots right away and countered our pressure pretty well,” Newman Catholic coach Jason Vanden Elzen said. “But a couple timeouts, we adjusted and before you know it’s a 30-0 run.
“We know (Haley Roehl) and (Baierl) are their two best players and that (Katie Hall) is solid for them too. We know its going to be 36 minutes of (the Dons) zone defense, whether it is 2-3 or 1-3-1. What we wanted to do is not face zone. We wanted to push the tempo.”
The Cardinals, who took the lead for good with 10 minutes left in the opening half, struggled from the field early in regulation and missed their first four 3-pointer attempts before they hit four of the next five.
Seidel hit two 3-pointers in that stretch as the Cardinals took control. Newman Catholic finished with seven 3-pointers for the game.
“We knew (Columbus Catholic) would come out in zone and we knew we had to break them down,” Seidel said. “Right away we took a couple bad shots, a couple rushed shots, but we got settled in and got our defense going with our press. Everything settled down, we started getting the looks that we wanted and getting fast-break points.”
Cardinals 57, Dons 29
Columbus Catholic 8 21 – 29
Newman Catholic 27 30 – 57
COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (29): Annika Brown 6, Maren Seefluth 8, Meghan Kibbel 2, Addie Baierl 13. FG: 13. FT: 2-4. 3-pointers: 1 (Baierl 1). Record: 14-10.
NEWMAN CATHOLIC (57): Kenzie Krach 10, Jaida Heinz 4, Lauren Shields 12, Jadelyn Ganski 15, Julia Seidel 15, Angela Rougeot-Donath 2. FG: 21. FT: 9-13. 3-pointers: 7 (Ganski 3, Seidel 3, Heinz 1). Record: 22-3.