By Scott Williams
January 18, 2019
Rosholt–Sarah Mueller would make a great poker player.
The Pacelli senior center never changes her expression as she runs up and down the basketball court. You never know if she is happy, frustrated or worried.
When Mueller received a feed into the post late Friday night and turned to the basket for a lay-up to put Pacelli up four points, a big smile spread across her face. There may have even been a “Lets go” uttered.
Mueller spent most of the Central Wisconsin Conference-South matchup with title contender Rosholt inflicting all sorts of damage in the paint en route to a game-high 22 points in a 50-47 victory for the Cardinals.
Pacelli swept the regular season series with the Hornets and now owns a two-game lead atop the standing with five games remaining.
“We’re really excited for this one,” Mueller said. “We knew coming in they do not have the same size we do. We were really aggressive to pound the ball inside to me or Amanda (Klasinski).
“There was a little bit of nerves towards the end, but we trust everyone on the team and court or bench, and know we can get it done.”
In the first meeting Dec. 4, the Hornets jumped on top early only to have Pacelli rally for a 51-49 win.
This time the Cardinals gave every indication they were going to run and hide from the Hornets.
Pacelli scored the first 11 points and owned a 15-2 lead with 7:10 left in the opening half.
Jenna Trzebiatowski and Ashley Studzinski, who shared scoring honors with 12 points apiece, along with Justine Ganksi, refused to let that happen.
A 15-5 spurt to close out the first half got Rosholt back in the game. The Hornets kept hanging around, but could never get over the hump and take a lead.
Still, Studzinski had a chance to send the game into overtime, however, her 3-point attempt at the buzzer came up short and Pacelli celebrated another down-to-the-wire win in the rivalry.
“We dug a little too big of a hole to start with, but the girls didn’t put their heads down. They kept at it and we crawled right back in the game,” Rosholt coach Stacey Krogwold said. “My kids played one heck of a game. They put their hearts on the line.
“I’m sad we lost the game, but I’m proud of my girls.”
Ganski, who was saddled with foul trouble attempting to cope with the Cardinals’ potent 1-2 inside presence of Mueller and Klasinski, chipped in with 11 points in limited minutes.
In the end, the Hornets had no answer for the height advantage Pacelli possessed on the interior. If Mueller wasn’t owning the paint, Klasinski was causing Rosholt all sorts of fits inside and out.
Every time Rosholt put together a little push to close the gap, Klasinski, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, had the response for the Cardinals. She knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and hit the offensive glass for several put backs.
Klasinski scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half.
While a two-game lead with five conference games to play is nice, no one has to tell Pacelli that nothing has been determined quite yet.
“A conference win on the road against these guys when you know you’re going to get everything they have, you can’t ask for much more,” Pacelli coach Jake Jalling said. “When you look at big picture, this is one we had circled knowing if we do this it does put us in the driver’s seat (in the conference).
“These are fun ones. The girls were jacked up coming into the game. Credit to those guys. They have girls that come at you all night long. You have to love the way they get after it. And that’s huge for us (seeing that) and helps us as well.”