Nekoosa gave the Waupaca Comet girls’ basketball team a late scare, but the Comets hung on for a 45-42 nonconference win over the Papermakers Thursday, Dec. 23.
The Comets also picked up their first Eastern Valley Conference win Tuesday, Dec. 21, with a 52-40 home win over Berlin.
Waupaca 45, Nekoosa 42
NEKOOSA – Waupaca led by seven points with two minutes left before the Papermakers cut the lead to one and missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
The Comets led 12-11 after one quarter, 16-14 at halftime and 33-27 after three quarters, but the Papermakers outscored Waupaca 16-12 over the final eight minutes.
Nekoosa didn’t have an answer for Kristen Fuss, who led all scorers with 24 points. Ashlie Hoffman chipped in with nine for Waupaca.
Waupaca 52, Berlin 40
The Comets defeated the Indians to improve to 1-3 in league play.
“It’s very big,” coach Brandon Temperly said of his team’s second win of the season. “The girls have been frustrated being in the last two conference games and playing Plymouth. We just weren’t able to get over the hump and we did that tonight. Even though it was a 12-point win, we won going away and felt very good about the way we played. It’s always good to get a ‘W.'”
The Comets led 13-7 after one quarter, 23-14 at halftime and 41-22 after three quarters.
Fuss and Mikaila Johnson finished in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively, to lead Waupaca. Berlin never got closer than 11 points in the second half, so Temperly was able to find plenty of court time for his bench players.
“It’s always fun when there’s a game where all girls can contribute on the floor,” he said. “On our team, all girls contribute every game, but they do it in different ways. It might be communication off the bench, it might be playing 28 minutes. It’s always good to get girls on the floor so they have a chance to score in a varsity game.”
Hoffman added nine points for Waupaca, while Katie Barlow finished with eight and Lexie Marringa scored seven. Berlin’s Callie Walker led all scorers with 20 points.
“Our transition offense was the best it’s been all year,” Temperly said. “We hustled after loose balls and that’s what I like about these girls. They enjoy working hard and they take a lot of pride in it. I thought we rebounded the ball a lot better. We still need to improve on passing and getting open. Twenty turnovers is too many, but we were able to overcome it with good defense.”
The two wins means the Comets will head into a two-week break from games on a two-game winning streak.
“That’s our mindset, to get back to 4-3, get some momentum going into the Christmas break and hit the ground running in January because that’s when the meat of the schedule starts to hit,” Temperly said. “You jump into two games a week and it’s all conference games.”
Waupaca is off until the Comets play at Ripon Tuesday, Jan. 4.
“We’ll have them in the gym over break to try to stay sharp and make sure our conditioning is where it needs to be,” Temperly said. “That’s going to be a big team-building time. We’re going to do a lot of things to get the girls to continue to improve chemistry. The good thing with the break is it should allow us to be healthy and fresh for when that conference run hits.”