With second place in the GNC on the line, the Lakeland girls’ basketball team traveled to Mosinee for a road game.
Mosinee used a big second half to win 67-52 on Tuesday night. The Thunderbirds were down two starters — senior captains Abby Parris and Vivian Trapp were out due to illness.
“The game plan was to try and continue without them, as tough as that sounds,” coach Melissa Ouimette said. “You lose Abby Parris you lose your outside 3-point shooting, you lose your defense on the top of the press and those nice little steals. With Vivian, you lose rebounding and she’s just a smart player and aggressive and she talks non-stop.”
The Thunderbirds couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game. The Thunderbirds led 17-3, turning good defense into offense. Here’s how they got there:
Julianna Ouimette went coast-to-coast for a layup, weaving around Mosinee’s defenders. Then, she assisted Joeli Koehler for a basket.
On another drive to the hoop, the referees called a charge on Julianna Ouimette. That didn’t prevent her from going right back to the basket, scoring and drawing a foul, making her free throw.
“They came out and they just took off and I was proud of them,” coach Ouimette said. “I thought we came out and did a great job to start with.”
Next, Camille Quade scored on a layup after Julianna Ouimette poked it loose. The Thunderbirds forced Mosinee into taking their first timeout.
Later, Julianna Ouimette and Hailey Curtis hit back-to-back 3-pointers. The score went up to 17-3.
“We’re used to (Mosinee) and we’ve beaten them every time that we’ve played them,” coach Ouimette said. “That made (Lakeland) feel good and perked them up a little bit because I could tell that we were down, that they were missing two key starters.”
Mosinee started to climb back into the game after that. They hit a 3-pointer to break their drought and were clawing back in it.
“And then (Mosinee) caught up a little bit here and there,” coach Ouimette said.
Before they were completely back in it, Julianna Ouimette went the length of the floor for two baskets, giving the Thunderbirds some offense.
With four minutes left in the first half, the game was tied at 22-22. Mosinee was in the middle of a 19-5 run.
Julianna Ouimette continued her scoring in the first half. She went coast-to-coast once again for a layup. She scored 20 points in the half.
“I thought the first half she was phenomenal,” coach Ouimette said.
Quade added a free throw before the end of the half. Mosinee led by a close score of 29-28.
Koehler got the Thunderbirds on the board in the second half with a basket. She then made both of her free throws as the Thunderbirds settled in.
An injury to Koehler forced her out for the rest of the game. Coming in to replace her, Tiearney Beltz scored her first points of the evening.
Then Mosinee went on a run. Their lead grew to 48-36 and hovered around there for the rest of the game. The Thunderbirds were turning the ball over and struggling to find a rhythm.
“We made a couple bad choices with passing there towards the end of the second half but we kept it together and kept plugging away,” coach Ouimette said.
Julianna Ouimette went on one more hot streak in the second half, though she found it harder to score. She scored seven straight points, one of them a 3-pointer. She finished with 31 total points on 13 made field goals.
“The second half she still kept working hard,” coach Ouimette said. “You get tired when you got 2-3 people after you and we were trying to get the ball up the court and I think we were playing a little timid in that second half.”
Quade also scored as the Thunderbirds made one more run at it. Mosinee proved too tough and made their shots as well. Paige Wicklund led Mosinee with 22 points.
“We were looking more to try to go backwards instead of forward. You have to go forward and attack,” coach Ouimette said. “So we’re going to work on all that at practice.”
Now down 14, Amaya White found the basket twice towards the end of the game.
Their next game comes tonight at home against Medford starting at 7:15 p.m. Both teams come into the game 4-2 in the GNC. Coverage of that game will be in the Jan. 21 edition of The Times
Then they play Tuesday, Jan. 21 against Merrill at the Lakeland fieldhouse starting at 7:15 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]