GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Falcons fly past Quasars
OKABENA -- Senior guard Krystle Sell poured in 20 of her game-high 22 points in the first half Friday night, including 10 in a 14-0 run that sparked the Red Rock Central Falcons to a 78-49 victory over the Southwest Star Concept Quasars in a Red Rock Conference girls' basketball game.
RRC (17-3, 13-1) remains a game behind Adrian (14-0 conference record) in the league standings, while SSC is now 8-13 overall and 6-8 against league opponents.
Both teams made 21 2-point baskets in the game, but RRC made three more 3-pointers than SSC did and also held a 20-point advantage from the free-throw line -- making 24 of 28 foul shots compared to the Quasars, who were 4-for-14.
The game was tied at 20 with seven minutes left in the first half, but Sell -- who also dished out eight assists, grabbed five rebounds and had five steals -- scored seven straight points in a span of 32 seconds to spark a 14-0 surge that produced a 34-20 Falcons' lead at the 3:48 mark.
"That was a key stretch for us, as SSC was playing well and staying right with us," RRC head coach Jeff Shaner said after the game. "We forced some turnovers and held them scoreless for more than four minutes in that run, and we also created some nice offensive chances that helped us pull away a little bit."
After SSC tied the game at 20 following an offensive-rebound basket by senior Jenna Leopold (three rebounds, two steals) with 7:29 remaining, Sell swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give RRC a 23-20 lead with 6:41 to go.
Sell then came up with a pair of steals on the next two SSC possessions, going coast-to-coast for a layup following the first theft and then netting a pair of free throws after getting fouled on the second takeaway -- giving the Falcons a 27-20 lead at the 6:09 mark.
Sophomore Alyssa Fredrickson and senior Thea Engen (20 points, eight rebounds) each meshed a mid-range shot to extend RRC's lead to 31-20 with 4:52 to play, and Sell swished another 3-pointer -- this one from the left wing -- to make it 34-20 with 3:48 remaining.
A post-to-post basket (sophomore Katey Granstra to senior Michaela Rasche) by the Quasars stopped the run with 3:17 left. SSC then scored three more points to make it 34-25 with 2:18 to go, as Granstra (seven rebounds, four assists) made the first of two free throws, and freshman Connor DeWall (12 points, five rebounds in her first career varsity start) grabbed an offensive rebound on Granstra's second shot and scored a put-back bucket.
RRC, though, closed the half on an 8-1 burst to take a 42-26 halftime lead. Senior Emily Neperman (eight points), junior Nichole Schroeder and junior Jenna Smith (six assists) each hit a perimeter shot in that span, and Schroeder added two free throws with 1.3 seconds left after hustling for an offensive rebound.
Neither team scored in the first two-plus minutes of the second half, but RRC had a 20-point lead (46-26) with 15:08 to play after Neperman hit a mid-range shot, and Engen (10-for-12 at the line) sank a pair of free throws.
SSC's Betsy Voehl, a senior who scored a team-high 13 points and collected four rebounds and four assists, buried a pair of shots -- an 18-footer from the top of the key and a 12-foot pull-up jumper on the right wing -- to again make it a 16-point game (46-30) at the 14-minute mark.
However, the Falcons used a 9-0 run to open up a 55-30 bulge with 9:46 to play. Sophomore Cierra Nickel, who went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line and scored all eight of her points in the second half, sank four straight free throws before Engen scored twice in a row on a 15-foot jumper and a quick move on the left block to key that run.
Junior Stephanie Maras nailed an 18-footer off an assist from Sell, Nickel drove through the lane for a hoop, and senior Abby Furth made a free throw to help RRC build a 62-34 lead with 6:35 to play.
But SSC rallied with a 15-4 spurt and trimmed the gap to 17 (66-49) at the 3:42 mark. Senior Kelsey Beyer, junior Jenny Doherty and Rasche each had an assist to DeWall for three straight Quasar baskets in the paint.
Sophomore Cassie Cselovszki (six points) had a driving basket, and Rasche (six points) later scored two hoops in a span of nine seconds -- coming up with an offensive-rebound basket and then converting a steal into a layup. DeWall, who scored her nine second-half points in a stretch of 2:19, added a free throw and a stick-back basket for SSC.
RRC, though, scored the game's final 12 points. Nickel, Engen, Neperman, Fredrickson and junior Mariah Miller each scored in the last 3:32 to help the Falcons claim a 29-point victory.
"RRC did several things very well, including hitting all kinds of open shots and playing good defense," SSC head coach Les Knutson said. "We had some nice second-half highlights and also played very well at times in the first 10 minutes of the first half."
Granstra's offensive-rebound basket and Voehl's 10-foot shot from the right baseline lifted SSC to early leads of 2-0 and 4-3, but a pair of 3-pointers from Sell and a 12-footer along the left baseline by Neperman gave RRC an 8-4 lead at the 15:29 mark.
Neperman and Engen later had back-to-back steals and long outlet passes, which Sell tracked down and took in for layups (one right-handed and one left-handed) to give the Falcons a 14-6 lead with 12:47 left.
SSC countered with a 10-2 run to tie the game at 16 with 10:13 to play. Voehl had two straight assists -- one to junior Erika Post for a right-elbow shot and one to Cselovszki for a fast-break bucket following a steal -- and Leopold later passed to Post (seven points) for another catch-and-shoot jumper from the right elbow, which she converted into a three-point play.
Voehl swished a 3-pointer from out top to even the score at 16, and later made it 18-18 after making a backdoor cut along the right baseline and taking a pass from Granstra to score.
Leopold's offensive-rebound basket tied it again at 20, but RRC answered with its 14-0 run and started to take command.
RRC hosts Cedar Mountain/Comfrey Monday, while SSC hosts Round Lake-Brewster Tuesday.
RRC 42 36 -- 78
SSC 26 23 -- 49
RRC (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Nickel 0-1-6-8, Sell 4-4-2-22, Maras 0-2-1-5, Smith 0-1-0-2, Engen 0-5-10-20, Schroeder 0-1-2-4, Neperman 0-4-0-8, Fredrickson 0-2-0-4, Furth 0-0-1-1, Miller 0-1-2-4. Totals: 4-21-24-78.
SSC (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Voehl 1-5-0-13, Cselovszki 0-3-0-6, Rasche 0-3-0-6, Leopold 0-1-0-2, DeWall 0-5-2-12, Post 0-3-1-7, Granstra 0-1-1-3. Totals: 1-21-4-49.