Minnesota West: Men and womens hoops sweep Dordt JV
The men and women’s basketball teams hosted Dordt College’s junior varsity squads. The two games closed out a two day Sanford Worthington Basketball Classic.
The Lady Jays defeated the Defenders 62-52. The men followed with a win of their own, defeating Dordt 73-63. Both teams will be in action next Nov. 13, at Mount Marty College in Yankton.
Lady Jays 62, Dordt JV 52
A lot can change through the course of a basketball game. The Lady Jays survived a legitimate threat late in their women’s basketball game with Dordt JV Saturday night.
The Defenders worked back from a 16 point deficit early in the second half and cut the game to just a 55-50 spread late. West hung on when it mattered, defending its home court with a win.
“It’s good to get a split over the weekend. We were looking forward to this weekend,” Lady Jays coach Mike Fury said. “We had a pretty nice first half. In the second half, the turnovers got pretty ugly. You still look at the scoreboard and see a win, so we’re pretty happy about that.”
West rolled up a lead of as many as 11 points early against Dordt, yielding pivotal buckets from freshman Bailey Tish as well as sophomores Kristen Andersen and Lindsey Drooger. The Lady Jays led 29-16 at halftime only to see Dordt slowly work its way back into the game in the minutes following.
Careless turnovers and early season mishaps plagued West with the ball early in the second half. A steady defensive effort that simply outhustled Dordt was how the team pulled through its woes.
“Other than those turnovers against the press, we played pretty well,” Fury admitted. “We played good defense all the way through. Our aggressiveness and being all over the ball was good. That is how we want to play all year.”
Up by just nine points with 8:23 to go in the game, Drooger connected for a key six point swing for the Jays. She coupled three free throws with a three-pointer in the stretch to help squelch a pair of three-pointers from Dordt inside eight minutes to go.
The Lady Jays finished the game 17-of-27 from the charity stripe. Seven of those came in the game’s final four minutes, where the final result still remained very much in question.
Drooger and Anderson each summed up 20 points for the Lady Jays to co-lead all scorers. Drooger’s 20 points were powered by four three-pointers. Tiffany Gehl added eight. Dordt freshman Paige Engbers led the Defenders with 11.
“I thought we played a lot better than Friday night and had a lot less turnovers than last night,” Drooger said after the win. “We worked really well together tonight.”
The Lady Jays will regroup and work out kinks, having nine more days off before their next outing (Nov. 13).
“It’s a good win. They’re all good. We have a good break now that will give us some time. We kind of hurried to get ready for the weekend. Now we have some time to work on things,” Fury said. “After two games, we’ve found some things to work on. That’s a good thing.”
Bluejays 73, Dordt JV 63
Minnesota West sophomore Jackson Seitzinger finished with two three pointers in the second half to help vault his team past Dordt’s JV squad Saturday night in men’s basketball action in Worthington.
The Bluejays (1-1) fought to earn their first men’s basketball victory in a newly renovated gymnasium and succeeded. West downed Dordt JV 73-63 to rebound from a Friday night loss to Northwestern College JV.
“It comes down to that our guys have to believe in each other. That is what our early season is going to be (about),” West coach Justin Heckenlaible said. “We have a lot of guys who haven’t played together. We had some moments tonight where we did (believe in each other). That’s a positive.”
The first half’s edge teetered between West and Dordt on numerous occasions. Bluejay sophomore Jordan Thomas and freshman Derek Buysse each offered field goals in the first half that helped the Jays cling to a 33-30 edge at the intermission.
Most of all, defense fed into the offense for the Bluejays. That’s how it is supposed to work, Heckenlaible said.
“We were finally able to string some stops together and got to the free throw line. That was the key to it,” he said. “We got them up tempo and got them to take the shots we wanted them to.”
That same defensive tenacity the Jays imposed carried over to the second frame. Down the stretch, Dordt finished well at the free throw line. The Defenders were down by just five points inside three minutes to go.
West led 66-61 with 60 ticks to go when Seitzinger drained his second three-pointer, from the top of the key, which helped hold on to the early season win.
“It was kind of a broken down play,” Seitzinger said after the game. “Cyrell (Hodges) kicked it out to me; I looked at the shot clock and saw there were three seconds left. It put it up and it went in I guess.”
The fact his team had to hang on for the win is one that provides Heckenlaible and his crew something to work on going forward. It is good that happened now rather late in the season, the coach said after the game.
“We obviously need to work on end of the game situations, but those are hard to simulate in practice,” Heckenlaible said. “The positive of us doing it now is that we can look back on it later on film and use it as a teachable moment.”