The Lady Wolves basketball team returned to conference play Friday, Jan. 6 as they hosted nearby rival Iola-Scandinavia.
Both teams entered play with 0-2 marks in league play and a chance to escape the basement in the CWC-8. Both squads have struggled in recently.
All of that was forgotten as the Lady T-Birds and Lady Wolves played an entertaining game as the Lady Wolves, who trailed for most of the game, rallied in the second half to record their first conference win of the season 42-36.
The Lady Wolves received key contributions from its bench as Paige Schernecker, Wendy Kons and Ansley Block combined for 17 points.
The Lady T-Birds jumped out to a 4-0 lead before senior Katrina Wilz’s basket pulled Manawa to within one at 4-3 with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Sophomore Karina Welch’s three-pointers capped a 9-2 run by the T-Birds.
Playing a variety of defenses including a 1-3-1 trapping zone the T-Birds held their lead throughout the second quarter as the Lady Wolves were within five on three occasions. The T-Birds enjoyed their biggest lead of the half following Welch’s basket at 17-7. Senior Krista Braun’s basket capped a 5-0 run, bringing Manawa to within five at 17-12. The T-Bird lead could have been cut even further if not for a 1-4 effort at the free throw line, including missing the front end of the bonus twice. Kons drained a long three-pointer as the first half ended and the Lady Wolves trailed by only three at 20-17.
Defense would dominate the opening minutes of the second half as only one free throw was scored during the first four minutes. Wilz’s rebound basket ended the drought and started a 9-2 run for the Lady Wolves. Schernecker’s three gave Manawa its first lead of the night 24-23 with 2:02 left in the in the third quarter.
The Lady Wolves continued to pace the game into the final eight minutes as they built a 30-23 lead. Elle Maus’ free throw ended the run, but only briefly. Junior Kate Langman’s back-to-back baskets had the Lady Wolves up by ten at 34-24 with 3:58 left to play.
The Lady T-Birds refused to fold as freshman Jane Oligney hit two three-pointers to spark a 10-0 run with Oligney’s second three tying the game at 34 with 2:26 left.
Following an exchange of possessions, Schernecker’s second three-pointer gave Manawa the lead for good at 37-34 with 1:39 left to play.
Just seconds later the Lady Wolves executed their inbounds play from underneath their basket to perfection, as Block nailed a two-pointer and Block sealed the T-Birds’ fate with a lob pass for the lay in.
Welch led all scorers with 11 points, while Wilz and Schernecker totaled eight apiece. Aimee Drath led the way with 16 rebounds, while Wilz pulled down 11. From the floor the Lady Wolves were 17 of 53, and the Lady T-Birds were 14 of 45.
On Thursday, Jan. 12 the Lady Wolves host the Amherst Falcons. The JV tip-off is at 6 p.m., with the varsity getting underway at 7:30 p.m.