GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Rebels top rival Raiders
WORTHINGTON -- Before Saturday afternoon's Section 3A South tournament game in Worthington, Alyssa Schmidt was on the verge of puking.
A junior guard for Murray County Central's girls' basketball team, Schmidt was overcome by nervousness before taking the floor to face Fulda in a must-win game.
"I got light-headed, and I thought I was going to throw up," she said. "I was thinking, 'Oh, man, this could be the end of my season right here.'"
MCC junior center Emily Bose was dealing with similar conditions.
"We all were really nervous," Bose said. "But, after two minutes into the game and you start running, everything goes away."
Once the game started, the nervousness subsided. Instinct took over. And so did MCC.
Bose had a game-high 24 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, and Schmidt added eight points and seven assists to lead the fourth-seeded Rebels to a 61-48 victory over the fifth-seeded Raiders.
MCC will face top-seeded Adrian at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Luverne to determine which team will advance to the sub-section championship game.
After the victory Saturday over one of their biggest rivals, the Rebels' conditions had changed dramatically.
"There's nothing better than beating Fulda," Bose said, smiling. "They're such good rivals, and the fans really get into it. It's just the way it is."
The teams split the regular-season series, with each winning on their home floor. Like any game in the rivalry, Saturday's matchup didn't disappoint.
Fulda took a 29-25 lead into halftime, and there were three ties and six lead-changes in the first 4:52 of the second half before MCC went on a 14-0 run to take the lead for good.
"You just have to be mentally tough," MCC coach Tom Pryor said. "The kids know each other pretty well, and the programs know the programs well and what they're going to do and stuff. It's just a matter of execution."
Each team seemed to execute only in stretches.
Bose made four of her first five shots from the field and scored eight points in the first 7:04 to help the Rebels take a 14-6 lead.
But MCC committed four turnovers, missed four consecutive shots and scored just one point in the ensuing 5:20, and Sabrina Raddle immediately followed a steal with a 3-pointer to cap a 13-1 run that gave the Raiders a 19-15 lead and forced the Rebels to call a timeout.
The Raiders took a four-point advantage into the intermission, but they didn't keep the lead for long.
Fulda committed turnovers on its first five possessions of the second half, and Abby Van Meveren capped a 6-0 run on her second basket in the first 2:04 to give MCC a one-point lead.
Amy Paulzine ended a scoring drought that spanned 2:35 with a three-point play to give Fulda a 32-31 lead, and Lane Gehl made 1 of 2 free throws to stretch the lead to two points. Bose answered with two free throws, and MCC regained the lead on a free throw by Colleen Everson.
After Paulzine went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line, Heather Nepp hit a floater to again give MCC a two-point lead. But Gehl responded with a deep 3-pointer from the left wing to give Fulda a one-point advantage.
It turned out to be the Raiders' final lead of the game.
Bose responded with a putback basket, and after a steal by Kate Robinson, she scored off an assist from Schmidt.
After Gehl went 0-for-2 from the charity stripe, Schmidt was fouled. After drilling her first attempt, she missed her second but got her own rebound and was fouled again. She then made 1 of 2, and Everson promptly recorded a steal and dished to Schmidt, who drilled a baseline jumper.
Fulda committed a turnover on its ensuing possession, and Bose responded with a jumper over Paulzine. Schmidt then recorded a steal and dished to Bose for another bucket, and Everson drilled a pull-up jumper a minute later to cap a 14-0 run in a span of 3:52, during which Fulda committed turnovers on four consecutive possessions.
MCC took its largest lead of the game, 53-39, after a putback basket by Robinson with 8:49 remaining, and Fulda was unable to cut the deficit to single digits.
"I think we had more fire; we played with a lot more intensity in the second half," Bose said. "We didn't change our defense at all; we didn't change what we were doing. We just did it better."
Fulda committed 16 turnovers and shot just 19.2 percent (5 of 26) from the field, including 11.1 percent (1 of 9) from beyond the arc, in the second half. The Raiders finished the game 16-of-52 (30.7) percent from the field, 3-of-18 (16.6 percent) from beyond the arc, and 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) from the free-throw line.
Paulzine, who had seven rebounds and four steals, scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from both the field and the free-throw line to lead the Raiders. Gehl scored 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds, and Courtney Hulstein added five points on 2-of-13 shooting and dished out three assists.
Robinson scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds, and Van Meveren went 3-for-5 from the field and scored six points. Everson added eight steals and four assists for the Rebels, who shot 56.5 percent (13 of 23) in the second half. MCC, which had 22 turnovers, finished the game 23-of-47 (48.9 percent) from the field, 0-for-3 from beyond the arc, and 15-for-30 (50 percent) from the free-throw line.
Fulda 29 19 -- 48
MCC 25 36 -- 61
FHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): C. Hulstein 1-1-0-5, Goedtke 0-0-1-1, B. Hulstein 0-1-0-2, Holinka 0-2-0-4, L. Gehl 1-2-4-11, Raddle 1-0-0-3, K. Wilkening 0-0-2-2, Kramer 0-1-0-2, Paulzine 0-6-6-18. Totals: 3-13-13-48.
MCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Robinson 0-3-3-9, Schmidt 0-2-4-8, Everson 0-4-2-10, Nepp 0-2-0-4, Van Meveren 0-3-0-6, Bose 0-9-6-24. Totals: 0-23-15-61.