Cardinals stop Speedgirls


Pat Krause/Daily Globe photo

Bessemer's Allyson Metas, left, goes in for a layup as Wakefield-Marenisco's Saundra Libertoski defends during Friday night's game at the House of Noise in Bessemer.

BESSEMER - Wakefield-Marenisco needed a huge fourth quarter to defeat the Bessemer Speedgirls 57-38 in a physical, hard-fought Copper Mountain rivalry game in the House of Noise on Friday.

As the third quarter ended, Bessemer's Caitlyn Lynch and W-M's Darienne Korpi both made a 3 the old-fashioned way with a field goal and a free throw.

The Speedgirls held a 36-35 lead after three quarters and it had been a close game for 24 minutes of intense basketball.

But the Cardinals stepped up their game in the final quarter and out-scored Bessemer 22-2 to win going away.

"It was your typical Wakefield-Marenisco-Bessemer rivalry game," W-M coach Bruce Mahler said. "It was physical and aggressive. We played extremely well tonight. The difference in the game was I asked the girls at halftime if they were tired and they said, 'no.' I told them at some point Bessemer would get tired a little bit and the girls should be ready to run. We don't match up size-wise with teams, so we have to run. Our first hour of practice we run and sprint. We never let up tonight and we forced 21 turnovers in the second half. And we were getting 3 on 1 and 3 on 0 (fast) breaks in the fourth quarter."

Bessemer coach Gerry Pelissero knew the fourth quarter was decisive.

"We had three starters with three fouls in the first half and I had to sit two of them," Pelissero said. "But we played three good quarters. The score was not indicative of the close game it was. We have to play like we did the first three quarters. We need to find points from players other than Rachel (Emery), who give us 15-20 points a game.

"In the fourth quarter, we got a little tired-we had used up a lot of emotion in the first three quarters, We had wide open shots and missed them. They scored on lay-ups and set up their press and we forgot how to break the press. We did the same thing last year when we went up by 10 and lost by two or three points."

Early in the fourth quarter, Ebanie Delich found herself all alone under the basket and put in a shot off the glass. Mikayla Mahler followed with a score off an inbounds play with 6:07 remaining.

The Cardinals went up 39-36 and momentum was beginning to swing.

Allyson Metas scored Bessemer's only points of the quarter on a put-back and Korpi was fouled on a drive to the basket and sank two free throws. Korpi passed to Alexa Jilek for a four-foot shot and Saundra Libertoski scored on a left hand lay-up to increase the W-M lead to 44-38 with 2:44 left.

The Cardinal rally was on and W-M's press was taking its toll on the Speedgirls. Bessemer's press could not hold back the Cardinals and Korpi picked up a loose ball at mid-court and was fouled on a lay-up attempt. Korpi and then Delich made four free throws on four attempts as W-M widened their lead to 49-38.

Libertoski sealed the deal with a score to make it 53-38 with 45.5 seconds remaining.

To start the game, the Speedgirls went through W-M's press like a hot knife through butter, mainly due to the efforts of Metas. Emery and surprise starter, Emily Matonich, picked up the scoring load as Bessemer went up 16-11.

The Cardinals whittled down the Speedgirl lead in the second quarter, but Megan Peterson and Metas splashed 3's to keep W-M at bay. When Emery went to the basket and scored with 8.1 seconds left, Bessemer went into halftime with a 28-26 advantage.

The Speedgirls built up their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter at 33-26. Bessemer broke the press and Lynch scored and then Matonich drained a triple from the right wing with 4:24 remaining.

Metas had to leave the game for awhile after hitting the floor hard and it was then that W-M started on the comeback trail.

Mahler said Korpi, Libertoski and Delich "really played well" and Rachel Obradovich "played big inside." He said Mikayla Mahler played some tough defense on the inside.

Emery topped Bessemer's scoring with 15 points, including 12 in the first half, while Matonich added nine points.

Korpi and Libertoski really came on in the second half and scored 15 and 14 points respectively. Delich notched nine points.

The Cardinals (1-1) will host Ontonagon on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Bessemer (0-2) will travel to Hancock on Tuesday at 6:20 p.m.

W-M won the junior varsity game 49-33.

W-M - Darienne Korpi 15, Rachel Obradovich 6, Saundra Libertoski 14, Alexa Jilek 2, Ebanie Delich 9, Mikayla Mahler 6, Allie Goodman 3. FT's: 18-29, Fouls: 16, Fouled out: none, 3-pointers: Allie Goodman 1.

Bessemer - Megan Peterson 3, Allyson Metas 7, Emily Matonich 9, Caitlin Lynch 5, Rachel Emery 15, Karli Trcka 2. FT's: 9-13, Fouls: 21, Fouled out: Allyson Metas, Rachel Emery. 3-pointers: Allyson Metas 1, Emily Matonich 1.

W-M 11 26 35 57

Bessemer 16 28 36 38


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