Antigo challenges tough Merrill team but falls in end 40-29|
Antigo may no longer be a competitor in the tough Wisconsin Valley Conference but the Lady Robins gave it their best shot against one of that league’s predicted favorites Friday night.
Making the trek to Merrill, the Robins — now a member of the Great Northern Conference — did most of what it set out to do. A big part of that centered on stopping senior Renee Sladek — a Northern Illinois college recruit — in her own tracks.
Antigo succeeded, at least somewhat, in the task, but in the end, the Bluejays snagged the victory, 40-29.
“The kids executed our game plan which was trying to control her,” Antigo coach Dennis Duchac said. “She scored 16 points but they were a hard 16. We didn’t make it easy.”
Trouncing Medford by 31 a week ago, Merrill got off to a surprisingly slow start as Antigo held a slim 13-11 lead at the close of the first quarter. By the break, the Bluejays had taken a 21-17 advantage.
Down by only four, the Robins battled hard and kept the game close. At the end of three, Antigo was still within six, 29-23. Merrill got an 11-6 edge in the fourth quarter to take the win.
“We lost some offensive flow. They made some adjustments and exploited us,” Duchac said, giving partial credit to the Bluejays’ suffocating defense for its less-than-stellar 29 percent shot success rate (11-for-37).
In turn, Merrill shot 17-for-42 (40 percent) from the field and were 5-for-9 at the line. Antigo shot 5-for-8 at the stripe but won the war on rebounds, 24-19.
The Robins’ Sarah Duff and Brittney Wald tied on the boards with five each. Wald led the team in points with a hard-fought 13 followed by Steph Hanke with six. Mikayla Nelson and Mandy Petts both had three while Chelsea Payant and Duff each chipped in two. Perhaps getting the short straw in earning Sladek’s attention on defense, Tasha Voytovich was zeroed out on points but gained notice for her hard work.
“She plays a lot bigger than she is,” Duchac said.
In fact, she was one of a handful getting the positive nod.
“All of our kids did what they needed to do, from our starters to our subs,” Duchac said, admitting that the loss was a “tough one.”
“We were right there,” he said.
It was Antigo’s third loss against tough Valley teams this season with defeats also coming to D.C. Everest and Wausau West — two other pre-season favorites. It’s only win came over Clintonville, another non-league competitor.
“We are learning and are getting better every day. And we are competing,” Duchac said. “The girls need to believe that. Hopefully the wins will start coming.”
Antigo will travel to Northland Pines next Friday.
Antigo vs. Merrill
Bluejays 40, Lady Robins 29
Dec. 6, 2013
AHS 13 4 6 6 — 29
MHS 11 10 8 11 — 40
Scorers: Brittney Wald 5-14 3-5 13; Steph Hanke 2-6 2-3 6; Mikayla Nelson 1-4 0-0 3; Mandy Petts 1-5 0-0 3; Chelsea Payant 1-2 0-0 2; Sarah Duff 1-1 0-0 2; Tasha Voytovich 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 11-37 5-8 29. Three Point Shooting: 2-12 (Petts 1-2; Nelson 1-3). Rebounds: 24 (5 offense).
Scorers: Renee Sladek7-15 2-3 16; Lauren Hojan 5-8 0-0 10; Dawn Leland 2-7 1-1 6; Reegan Byer 1-2 2-5 4; Morgan Marnholtz 1-1 0-0 2; Mariah Turenne 1-7 0-0 2; Emily Page 0-1 0-0 0; Morgan Wilde 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-42 5-9 40. Three Point Shooting: 1-4 (Leland 1-3). Rebounds: 19 (10 offense)
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