The Northland Pines girls basketball team lost to Mosinee 78-40 Friday night in a Great Northern Conference (GNC) game that was postponed Jan. 25 due to poor weather.

The Eagles trailed 42-26 at the half and got outscored 36-14 in the second half.

“We really played a nice first half against Mosinee and showed a lot of growth from the first time we saw them,” said Pines coach Josh Olivotti. “As coaches, we were really proud of them in how they executed on offense and competed at a high level. Mosinee has a ton of depth and speed, so to handle their defense for the most part and move the ball the way they did was excellent.” 

A big difference in the first half was the Eagles’ ability to draw fouls. 

“In so many games this year we panic in our attack and commit turnovers, but against Mosinee we were stronger with the ball and more confident,” said Olivotti. “We went to the line for 14 free throws in the first half.”

The Eagles trailed by nine points with 2:40 to go in the half and then Pines gave up a run to end up down 16 at the half. 

“This was tough because we had really played well up to that point, but we couldn’t keep up on defensive rotations and they knocked down shots,” said Olivotti. “We have to be quicker on defense and get out on shooters better.”

Offensively, coach Olivotti said Teresa Kopanski and Samantha Huelskamp were very solid in the first half.

“They were moving the ball and keeping Mosinee’s defense moving,” said the coach. “Taylor Olivotti was moving well off the ball and they were finding her on the inside for good looks at the basket. We have developed a lot in getting the inside game going and a big part of that is our guard play.”

Taylor Olivotti led Pines with 15 points and five rebounds. Kopanski had 10 points, five assists and four rebounds. Huelskamp and Lucy Lurvey each had five points and two assists.

Heather Wyatt also was a big part of the game plan against Mosinee, as coach Olivotti. matched her with Megan Priest’s rotations.

“Priest is one of the most effective post players in our conference and Heather did an outstanding job on her,” said Olivotti. “Heather was very physical and did not allow her to get many clean touches.”

Priest had two points in the first half and finished with six.

“Lucy and Lizzy (Elizabeth Gauthier) gave us a lot of solid minutes and moved the ball well on offense. They are looking to attack more and we are still looking for more shot attempts out of them,” said Olivotti. “On defense they both do a really nice job in their zone responsibilities and move well when the ball is in the air.”

Olivotti said the Eagles never recovered from the run Mosinee had at the end of the half.

“We couldn’t produce enough offense. We need to produce more shots overall and convert a higher percentage from our basket attacks,” said the coach. 

The Eagles also lost to Phillips 70-56 in a nonconference game last Monday night at the field house.

“This was a fun, competitive game where we played pretty well on Parents Night,” said Olivotti. “We match up pretty well with Phillips overall, but Jada Eggebrecht is tough and we couldn’t slow her down. She put up 36.”

Olivotti said junior Paige Hickson had a nice game for the Eagles.

“Phillips likes to play a little tempo and we did well with that, especially when we kept the ball moving through the air on the back end of transition,” said Olivotti. “Paige really had a great game in this area and showed she could use her speed and remain poised. Not only did she score in transition, but she saw the floor well and created many shot opportunities. It was great to see her have such a strong game from start to finish.”

Northland Pines got outscored 36-30 in the first half and the Loggers had a 34-26 advantage in the second half.

“We gave up a little run at the end of the first half to go in down six and I think if we could have controlled that better we could have gone in tied or even up two,” said Olivotti. 

The Eagles were led by Kopanski with 13 points, followed by Taylor Olivotti with 12 and Hickson with six. 

“Overall, our guard play was pretty strong throughout and we distributed the ball well. Teresa had a nice game from the point position. She was very patient overall and made good decisions on when to attack the basket and when to take the jump shot,” said coach Olivotti. 

“We get out best offensive balance and production when our interior scoring is present. Taylor has been very consistent for us lately when she is getting touches,” said the coach. “We battled well in the second half, but had a few untimely turnovers and gave up some offensive rebounds to Phillips that cost us.”

Pines, 0-9 in the GNC and 1-15 overall, was scheduled to host the Merrill Bluejays in a nonconference game on Tuesday of this week and will play at Tomahawk in a GNC game this Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:15 p.m. 

The Eagles will host Rhinelander next Monday, Feb. 11, at 7:15 p.m. in a game rescheduled from Jan. 31.

“Overall, we had a good week and the girls played high-energy, competitive basketball,” said Olivotti. “We need to finish the last couple of weeks of the season this way and keep improving.”