Wolves lose to Menominee Indian
By Mike Frazier
The Manawa girls’ basketball team opened the 2015-16 season by hosting two nonconference games.
The Wolves dropped a 30-25 decision Nov. 17 to defending Central Wisconsin-10 Conference champion Menominee Indian and handed Marion a 36-33 defeat Nov. 19.
Menominee Indian 30, Manawa 25
The Eagles were hit hard by graduation, but still returned center Desirae Webster, who has been a thorn in Manawa’s side the past three years. Webster led the Eagles with 11 points, including five during the Eagles’ 8-0 run that proved to be the difference in the game.
The Eagles jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game with Webster’s putback basket capping the run.
Freshman Laynie Bessette’s free throw finally put Manawa on the scoreboard.
Despite forcing 16 first-half turnovers, the Wolves struggled from the floor by hitting only two of their first 22 shots. The Eagles also struggled offensively, but led 16-6 at halftime.
Baskets from Alexis Wepner pulled Manawa to within 18-12 with 16:43 left to play, but Webster’s three-point play triggered an 8-0 run that also included a three-pointer from Taylor Mahkimetas that gave the Eagles a 26-12 lead with 10:43 to play.
Sparked by Bessette and junior Haley Reierson, the Wolves cut the lead to 29-25 with eight seconds on the clock, but a free throw with two seconds left sealed Manawa’s fate.
Bessette and Reierson led the Wolves with 10 and eight points, respectively, while Bessette also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Manawa 36, Marion 33
The Mustangs used a 5-0 run to regain the lead until halftime, as Abby Polzin’s three-pointer gave the visitors a 15-11 lead with 6;36 remaining in the first half.
That lead would grow to 19-13 with 4;09 left on Hannah Greene-Gretzinger’s three, but the Wolves finished the half with a 6-2 run and trailed 21-19 at the break.
Another Greene-Gretzinger basket with 15;35 left to play gave the Mustangs the lead for the final time. Sophomore Sami Struzynski’s baskets triggered a 6-0 Manawa run that gave the Wolves the lead for good at 27-23 with 14:03 remaining.
Manawa later held 30-25 and 34-29 leads, but could not put the Mustangs away. Marion eventually cut the led to 34-33 with just over six minutes remaining. Manawa missed four straight free throws until Carlee Zander drained a pair with 1:41 left to play.
Zander finished with a team-high 15 points and added five rebounds.
The Wolves played at Almond-Bancroft Nov. 23 and will open Central Wisconsin-8 Conference play at Iola-Scandinavia at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1.