UW-Marinette’s Rhiannon Larmay drives to the basket during Wednesday’s home win over Fox Valley Tech. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
UW-Marinette’s Rhiannon Larmay drives to the basket during Wednesday’s home win over Fox Valley Tech. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
MARINETTE - A little halftime motivational speech never hurt a basketball team.

It surely didn't hurt the UW-Marinette Lady Bucs, who surged to as 66-53 win over Fox Valley Tech Wednesday.

After watching their team spin its wheels for a half, UW-Marinette coaches Jeff Sunstrom and Ted Story had seen enough.

"We were lethargic," Story said. "We had a really good practice last night. We don't know what happened."

Tech was in the bonus for more than half of the first half. A 10-1 run gave the Foxes a 24-19 lead, and they took a three-point lead into the intermission.

"We went in at halftime and had a nice conversation," Story said. "Challenged some people to step up."

Message received. Following three lead changes, the Lady Bucs surged ahead for good.

"We came back with a lot of intensity," Lady Bucs freshman guard Paige Vincent said. "I think we realized we need to rebound as a team. We needed to box out more."

Vincent, a 5-foot-4 guard, played a lot taller than her height. She pulled down seven rebounds, made three steals and was four of six from 3-point rang to score 14 points.

"Paige has a lot of basketball knowledge," Story said. "She did shoot the ball well, and she kind of commandeers everybody when she's out there. She's a good leader."

Vincent drained a 3-pointer, then drove to the basket to give the Lady Bucs a 45-37 lead with 9:11 remaining. She hit two more threes in the final 4:41 to help fend off the Foxes.

Fox Valley Tech (1-4) didn't have a women's basketball team last season but played well much of the night against the Lady Bucs (3-2).

"If that's the case, obviously their record doesn't show their ability," Story said. "Very impressed with the way (Fox Valley Tech) played."

The Foxes threw a man-to-man and 2-3, 1-3-1 and matchup zones at the Lady Bucs.

"The man worked the best when we hustled," Tech coach Joe Springer said.

Their main intention was containing reigning Wisconsin Collegiate Conference player of the year Lindsey Krajewski, and it worked. She was held scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

"We fronted her," Springer said. "We forced them to inside/out. When it got in, we dug it out. You've got to pick your sword to fall on. You can't stop everything."

Nevertheless, Springer was unhappy with his team's second-half defense.

Shannen Ganter converted a three-point play with 3:35 left to double Marinette's three-point lead. Jessa Belland added a jumper and Amanda Lesandrini canned two free throws with 33 seconds left.

Ganter finished with 12 points and three steals and Gloriann Waube added 10 points and four rebounds.

"I think it brought the whole team a lot of confidence," Vincent said. "I felt like we really worked our butts off and played as a team tonight."

Fond du Lac product Taylor Penning had a huge game (31 points, 11 rebounds) to lead Tech.

UW-FOX VALLEY (53) - Lo 0, Ellestad 8, Pingel 1, Gotz 6, Fields 0, Peterson 1, Patton 6, Penning 31. FGs: 20-66; FTs: 11-24.

UW-MARINETTE (66) - Ganter 12, Wery 0, Connor 2, Schaut 4, Lesandrini 8, Larmay 2, Belland 5, Vincent 14, Waube 10, Krajewski 9. FGs: 22-71; FTs: 15-25.

Halftime score: Fox Valley Tech 30, UW-Marinette 27
EagleHerald sports writer

MARINETTE - The UW-Marinette men's basketball team took a step in the right direction on Wednesday.

The results weren't in the Buccaneers' favor as they fell to Fox Valley Tech 88-85, but their play left coach George Hayes happy with the performance.

"Overall, we played much better tonight then we have so far this season," Hayes said. "Our defense had some letdowns that we need to clean up."

It was a battle for most of the contest, but the last couple of minutes brought the most excitement.

With 1:50 remaining and the Bucs trailing 81-80, Devonte Coe stole a Fox Valley Tech pass and took it full-court for an acrobatic layup to put UW-Marinette up 82-81.

Fox Valley Tech forward Darius Banks caught the Bucs napping and drove in a for an easy basket to put the Foxes up 83-82.

That basket was followed by a turnover and a foul by the Bucs as Alan Waukau drained two free throws to extend the Foxes' lead to 85-82 with 58.2 seconds left.

The Bucs missed a shot with 38.2 seconds remaining, but regained their own rebound and called a timeout as Hayes drew up a play to try to tie the game.

The call was a shot for Jonte Wells in the corner. Wells got open for a brief second and attempted the shot, but was blocked on the play.

Coe snared the ball away from the Foxes defense and put on two cross-over dribbles before stepping back and draining the game-tying three-pointer with a defender in his face with 19.2 seconds remaining.

"That was a cold-blooded shot that we needed desperately," said Hayes.

With the crowd on the feet in excitement, Quadry Smith quieted the gym as he drew a foul driving in the lane with 7.2 seconds to go.

After missing the first, Smith knocked down the second.

The Bucs tried a full-court pass-play, but it was knocked out of bounds. They eventually turned the ball over twice at the end and the Foxes sank two more free throws to win the game.

"That was a well-played, action-packed basketball game," Fox Valley Tech coach Jordan Hummel said. "Two athletic squads that shot the ball very well. It was fun to watch."

Three-point shooting highlighted the evening as they two teams combined to go 21-29 from beyond the arc.

UW-Marinette shot 12-15 from three-point range and made seven threes in the second half.

"In all my years of coaching, I don't think I've seen that good of a shooting performance from behind the three-point line," Hummel said. "I give Marinette a lot of credit. We held a lead most of the night, but they hit some clutch shots when they needed them most."

The Bucs trailed 43-41 at the half and at one point, were down 61-53 with 13:36 left in the second half.

Free throw shooting was the difference for both teams as Fox Valley Tech made 21 of 30 attempts from the line while UW-Marinette converted on just seven of 15 attempts.

"That was a big factor in this game," Hayes said. "I think we missed three free throws in a row during one stretch. We needed to make more and not send them to the line as much."

Banks led the Foxes and all scorers with 34 points and Smith poured in a career-high 21 off the bench.

"Darius is averaging over 20 points a game for us and is just having a great season," Hummel said. "I thought Quadry provided a great spark off the bench tonight."

Wells led the Bucs with 29 points, 16 in the second-half to go along with 10 rebounds. Coe finished with 16 points (13 in the second half) and Casey Wilson also finished with 16 points.

"I thought Jonte had an excellent night for us and collectively, we played much better basketball," Hayes said. "We have several things to still work on, but we're on the right path."

Fox Valley Tech improves to 4-1 while UW-Marinette drops to 1-4.

FOX VALLEY TECH (88) - Williams 5, Banks 34, Smith 21, Beriau 2, Mwiluki 0, Erhard 2, Rieth 7, Waukau 17, Marcis 0; FGs: 29-62; FTs: 21-30; Fouls: 18

UW-MARINETTE (85) - Juette 3, Martin 6, Dunbar 5, Pollard 0, Wells 29, Wilson 16, Beal 7, Coe 16, Biehl 0, Raminger 0, Conine 0, Heise 3; FGs: 33-70; FTs: 7-15; Fouls: 24

Halftime score: Fox Valley Tech 43, UW-Marinette 41