Section 3A South girls basketball: Southwest, Fulda, RRC, Wabasso advance
WORTHINGTON — Southwest Christian, Fulda, Red Rock Central and Wabasso won quarterfinal contests at Worthington High School Saturday to advance in the Section 3A South girls basketball tournament.
Sub-section semifinals are in Windom Tuesday. Wabasso plays RRC at 6 p.m. and Southwest Christian plays Fulda at 7:30 p.m.
Southwest 73, Ellsworth 60
Hope Veldkamp isn’t sure which player is the star on the team.
But the way the sophomore guard played for her Southwest Christian girls basketball team Saturday, she is making her case.
Veldkamp scored 25 points for the second-seeded Eagles in a 73-60 victory against seventh-seeded Ellsworth.
“I think we shared the ball pretty well and talked more,” Veldkamp said. “That makes everything run better.”
Veldkamp added seven steals and five rebounds for the Eagles (19-5), while Tianna Top had 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Savannah Tinklenberg scored 15 points and collected 10 rebounds, giving three scorers double figures in the game.
“That’s really helpful because you can’t have a good game every time,” Veldkamp said of the balanced scoring.
Alexa Huisman scored a team-high 24 points for the Panthers (8-16), while Alissa Walters added 18 points.
SWC opened the game with an 8-2 run and maintained the lead throughout the entire first half.
By the time Veldkamp scored 12 consecutive points, her team had lead for most of the game.
“I didn’t know,” she said of her streak, which stretched six minutes between the two halves. “Once you get steals and rebounds, it gets you going more.”
Veldkamp scored the finals 10 points in the first half and hit two free throws out of the break, giving SWC a 39-31 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
“She really had a great second half,” SWC head coach Denise Nerem said. “When you have two of my juniors, almost my only upperclassmen, in foul trouble, somebody has to shoulder the load and she did a great job with that. She’s such a versatile player and has really done a great job for us this year.”
A top putback pushed the SWC lead to 20 points late. However, seniors Huisman and Walters combined to score the final 16 points for the Panthers. But it wasn’t enough in a 13-point SWC win.
“Southwest Christian is pretty good,” Ellsworth coach Dean Wieck said. “They do things right defensively and that gives us a little bit of trouble. We have four seniors who are going to be missed, so it’s going to be tough.”
The Eagles will face third-seeded Fulda at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Windom.
“This game showed our weaknesses, so we need to work on those and keep working hard in practice on Monday to prepare for the next game,” Veldkamp said.
SWC’s only Red Rock Conference loss came at the hands of Fulda on Dec. 12.
“We lost to them by one point to them,” Nerem said. “Everybody is a different team come tournament time and we need to be a different team. We need to bring our best game on Tuesday.”
Ellsworth 29 60
Southwest 37 73
Fulda 61, Edgerton 33
Melissa Gehl was ready to get the game started.
But before Saturday’s Section 3A South contest could begin, all eyes were on the senior forward for Fulda.
Taken out to center court, Gehl was awarded a plaque, medal and certificate for the being the Region 3A, sub region 10 winner for the Minnesota State High School League’s Triple A award.
“I was feeling nervous because I like to get the game started,” she said following the third-seeded Raiders 61-33 victory over sixth-seeded Edgerton. “It was a nice honor to get the Triple A award. I’ve worked pretty hard and it was nice to have everyone here. It was pretty much like a home game with all the fans here. So that was really cool.”
While Gehl joked she wanted to wear the medal she received during the game. But not even that would have slowed down the 5-8 senior. Gehl was effective inside and out, scoring a game-high 21 points to go with 10 rebounds.
“My coach always wants me to do post moves, but I like to shoot,” Gehl said. “Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. That was lucky. A lot of my teammates were working really hard to get me those shots.”
The Raiders (16-11) scored the game’s first seven points and pushed their lead to 33-14 at halftime.
“I thought we did very well,” Gehl said. “There were times we didn’t box out and didn’t run down the floor and that could have potentially hurt us, but we pulled through in the end.”
Sariah Cheadle hit a shot, Gehl made a three and Courtney Tiesler hit back-to-back three pointers out of the halftime break, giving the Raiders a 30-point lead.
“I thought we had some really great stretches and we had some bad stretches,” Fulda coach Gregg Slaathaug said. “We knew that was going to happen because they are so big. We knew this wasn’t a great matchup for us size-wise. We knew that we would have to shoot a lot and hopefully go get some offensive rebounds and we were able to do that.”
Tiesler finished with 15 points and nine assists, while Cheadle scored 13 points.
“We’ve had balanced scoring all year,” Slaathaug said. “We like to pass the ball around. We have numerous girls who can get hot on any given night. We’re all going to pull the trigger when its time to let it fly. I thought we had really good shot selection tonight.”
Tanner Gunnink, who led the Dutchmen with 10 points and 15 rebounds, answered with an offensive rebound and a putback.
However, the Fulda defense was stingy and didn’t allow Edgerton to find a rhythm offensively.
“We just didn’t play well offensively today,” EHS coach Andrew Fleischman said. “We got a lot of good shots early in the game and we didn’t connect. Fulda played great defense and they kind of wear on you.”
Edgerton, which had four wins a year ago, finishes its season 12-12. There are no seniors on the Dutchmen’s roster.
“Our goal next year is to make another leap like we did this year,” Fleischman said. “We have a lot of work to do. We are very proud of our girls and we’re not satisfied where we’re at, but we’re proud of the accomplishments that we had this year.”
Coming off the section victory, the Raiders will face second-seeded Southwest Christian at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Windom.
“We did pretty good on defense,” summed up Gehl. “We sometimes struggle with boxing out and they get a lot of second chances. We need to work on that for our next upcoming game, but we were pretty solid on defense, I would say.”
Edgerton 14 33
Fulda 33 61
RRC 73, MCC 38
The matchup between Red Rock Central and Murray County Central had little in common with the game the two teams played just five days earlier.
The Falcons, who earned a three-point win Monday night against the Rebels, used an 11-0 surge to open up a 22-point first half lead, and RRC mostly cruised from there to post a 73-38 triumph.
It was solid outside shooting that gave the Falcons a significant boost early. Junior Erika Rogotzke and freshman Taylor Price each connected on treys in the opening moments for a 6-0 RRC edge, and senior guard Brooke Rasmussen would hit for three three-pointers and Price and an additional two before halftime.
“We just were a lot moe confident in our shooting,” said Kylie Dauer, RRC’s head coach, in comparing Saturday afternoon’s game to Monday’s. “Our inside game got going and that really helped with our outside shooting, and our outside shooting just got the momentum going for us.”
Rebels senior Rebekah Nysetvold had nine points in the first 18 minutes to lead MCC, which faced a halftime deficit of 42-21 also due in large part to the interior play of sophomore Olivia Bittner (15 points, mostly in the paint, before the break).
The fourth-seeded Falcons (15-10) didn’t wait long to re-establish themselves in the second half, quickly going on a 10-0 run to grab a 52-21 cushion at the 14:43 mark. Keying RRC in the second half was the inside play of senior guard Melanie Kedl, who tallied all of her game-high 17 points after intermission - with several of her buckets coming on put-backs of missed shots.
“We’ve blown 20-point leads before, and we talked at halftime about finishing the second half as strong as the first,” Dauer said.
While the Falcons advance to a 6 p.m. Tuesday game against top-seeded Wabasso, No. 5 MCC concludes its season with a 10-14 mark.
MCC 21 38
RRC 42 73
Wabasso 69, H-BC 45
Strong ball movement and an overwhelming defense by the Wabasso Rabbits brought an end to the season of the Hills-Beaver Creek Patriots.
The Rabbits established their full-court press defense right from the start of the game. They rarely allowed the Patriots to gain their offensive zone, and if they did, they were instantly harassed by Rabbit players, sometimes covering one player with three of their own. This defense caused many Patriot turnovers, which started an 8-0 run for the Rabbits, and they kept rolling from there, leading by double digits throughout most of the first half.
The Patriots went into the halftime break down by 15 points, with the score at 34-19. They came out a different team after the half, pulling together a string of three-pointers and playing stronger defense, to come within eight points of Wabasso with seven minutes left in the half.
That was as close as the Patriots got, however, as the Wabasso defense came together to play strong once again. The Rabbits put away all hope for H-BC in the final minutes by gathering more and more steals, and keeping the ball out of the hands of any Patriot players.
Senior guard Larissa Rohlik led the Rabbits in scoring, finishing the game with 16 points. Fellow senior Chelsey Guetter followed with 15, and Morgan Frank finished with 10.
For the Patriots, Taylor Wingert led the team with 13 points, followed by Tessa Klarenbeek with eight.
Wabasso goes on to play Red Rock Central on Tuesday at 6 in Windom.
Wabasso 34 69
H-BC 19 45