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Junior Paige Wagner is one of several Spartans who can knock down open outside shots.

Martell scores 36 points, Spartans maintain lead in MBC girls basketball

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Somerset senior Ashley Martell scored what is believed to be a Spartan single-game record 36 points last Tuesday in a 57-30 win at Prescott.

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The Spartans continued their winning ways on Friday, earning their seventh straight victory in a landslide 61-25 win at New Richmond.

The wins put Somerset at 7-1 in the Middle Border Conference race. Durand began the week in second place with a 5-2 record.

Martell's monster game in Prescott kept the Spartans at a comfortable lead throughout the game. Martell scored 16 points in the first quarter. Somerset coach Kendrick Livers said it was clear from the opening minutes that Martell was having a special night.

"She was on a mission," Livers said.

Livers rested Martell for much of the second quarter, where she scored two points. She came back with the same gusto in the second half, scoring 11 points in the third quarter and seven more in the fourth quarter.

Paige Wagner scored 12 points for the Spartans at Prescott. Karli Solum had another strong floor game, finishing with 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals.

Prescott tried to use a full-court zone press against the Spartans. By knowing when and where to pass the ball, the Spartans moved the ball cleanly through the press, with very few turnovers.

The depth on the Spartan roster has made them the most challenging team in the MBC to defend. Against teams with strong guards like Prescott and New Richmond, the Spartans can match opponent's quickness at guard. When they face teams with taller lineups, the Spartans can adjust their rotation to neutralize any height advantage opponents might have.

When the Spartans played at New Richmond last Friday, they were playing a team with good depth and quickness at guard. The Spartans were able to deal with New Richmond's press, scoring often in transition in the 61-25 win.

What gets lost in the Spartans' success is the quality of their defense. The Spartans are allowing the fewest points of any MBC girls team.

The Spartans started Friday's game by building a 14-2 lead. At halftime their lead stood at 26-6.

The scoring was well balanced on Friday, with Wagner and Martell each scoring 13 points to lead the team. Laura Wells finished with 10 points.

This week's schedule holds two opponents that will supply tough tests for the Spartans. Somerset will try to avenge its only MBC loss on Thursday when the Ellsworth girls visit. The Spartans will be on the road next Tuesday, facing an Osceola team they beat 46-42 in the first round of conference play.

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Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
(715) 243-7767 x242
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