Girls basketball: Fulda Raiders overcome 15-point deficit
SLAYTON — Overcoming a 15-point deficit Friday evening, the scrappy Fulda Raiders utilized contributions from all nine players who saw action and held off a strong counter rally by the host Murray County Central Rebels in a closely-contested Red Rock Conference high school girls’ basketball game between the longtime rivals.
The Raiders, who trailed for the game’s first 23 minutes and 38 seconds, took the lead for keeps with back-to-back three-pointers from senior guard Dani Hermeling and freshman guard Randi Tiesler and earned a 57-53 advantage with 8:29 left in the fast-paced and high-scoring contest.
Holding off several challenges by the Rebels, who three times rallied to within one point, the Raiders (4-2, 3-0) left the gym with a hard-fought 72-70 victory.
“I thought MCC played amazing and I was proud of how our girls were so resilient through the whole game,” summed up Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug. “We played hard even when things were not going in our favor and we had so many players step up and contribute.”
While Fulda’s two returning veterans —junior guard Sariah Cheadle and senior post Melissa Gehl —combined for 45 points, the Raiders certainly proved they are much more than a two-girl team.
Junior guard Courtney Tiesler scored six timely points, claimed eight rebounds and distributed four assists —a couple of them quite spectacular.
Sophomore post Katelyn Renneke defended well and came up with nine rebounds, including an offensive carom which set up Hermeling’s three-pointer from the left corner with 9:04 to play, putting the Raiders up 54-51.
Renneke also scored six points for Fulda, including two key free throws —after snagging a rebound —which increased her team’s lead to 63-60 just inside the five-minute mark.
Besides drilling her timely three-pointer, Randi Tiesler sank a free throw for the game’s final point after being fouled on a defensive rebound — off of MCC’s second missed shot attempt in the closing seconds.
Sophomore guard Ruth Cheadle scored eight points, including a three-pointer, before fouling out with 7:15 to play.
“They all have the green light to shoot,” declared Slaathaug. “Ruth, Dani and Randi hit some big shots for us.”
Sariah Cheadle, who was seven-of-eight at the free throw line, finished with a game-high 31 points as she converted on her patented driving jump shot numerous times. She also had three steals and did the bulk of the ball-handling for the Raiders.
Gehl was a force underneath, pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds and scoring 14 points.
The Rebels, who built early leads of 6-0, 16-6 and 30-15, were led in scoring by the trio of senior forward Rebekah Nysetvold (19 points), junior center Morgan Behrends (16 points, 14 rebounds, five steals) and junior guard Jade Giese (12 points, six assists).
Nysetvold drilled a three-pointer off a set play with 25 seconds left, slicing Fulda’s lead to 71-70.
Behrends scored 13 of her points in the first half, including converting off of dandy passes from Giese, along with senior forward Angela Dahlgren and junior guard Sierra Van Iperen — who each dished off four assists in the game.
“We handled Fulda’s press well in the first half and shot great,” summed up MCC head coach Laura Jenson. “Later in the game, we gave up too many second chances (offensive rebounds) and missed too many free throws.”
The Rebels (2-4, 2-1) were just 10-of-25 at the free throw stripe.
Fulda rallied with a 19-9 run over the last six minutes of the first half to trim MCC’s halftime lead to 39-34.
Both teams play next at Southwest State in Marshall.
MCC plays Ortonville Dec. 27 and Fulda tangles with Lincoln HI Dec. 28.
Fulda 34 72
MCC 39 70
Fulda (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Hermeling 1-0-0-3, R.Cheadle 1-2-1-8, C.Tiesler 0-3-0-6, R.Tiesler 1-0-1-4, Gehl 0-5-4-14, S.Cheadle 0-12-7-31, Renneke 0-2-2-6. Totals 3-24-15-72.
MCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Nysetvold 1-6-4-19, Schmitz 0-3-0-6, Giese 0-5-2-12, Dahlgren 1-2-0-7, Moline 0-2-0-4, Behrends 0-6-4-16, Loosbrock 0-3-0-6. Totals 2-27-10-70