GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Cardinals fly past RaidersROUND LAKE — Getting back-to-back steals and coast-to-coast layups to start the first half Monday night, the Luverne Cardinals set the tone early and rolled to a 41-17 halftime lead before picking up a 67-48 victory over the Round Lake-Brewster Raiders in a non-conference girls’ basketball game.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
ROUND LAKE — Getting back-to-back steals and coast-to-coast layups to start the first half Monday night, the Luverne Cardinals set the tone early and rolled to a 41-17 halftime lead before picking up a 67-48 victory over the Round Lake-Brewster Raiders in a non-conference girls’ basketball game.
Eight players scored for Luverne (6-10), including six who finished with at least eight points. The Cardinals also forced 29 Raiders’ turnovers (18 steals) and lost possession of the ball just nine times.
“We played very good team defense in the first half, as I thought we applied good pressure and limited their looks at the basket,” Luverne head coach Jason Phelps said after the game. “Our full-court press helped us get some easy baskets, but we also defended well in the half-court settings.”
Junior Alyssa Stegenga, who scored all eight of her points in the first half and also collected six rebounds and three assists for Luverne, stole the ball on the game’s opening possession and went end-to-end for a layup 32 seconds in to give the Cardinals a quick 2-0 lead.
Sophomore Katlyn Sawtelle (nine points, eight steals, six rebounds) made a similar play on RL-B’s next possession, converting a steal into a layup to make it 4-0 at the 17:06 mark of the first half.
Junior Liberty Robinson, who scored a team-high 16 points on a 7-for-12 shooting night, made it 6-0 Luverne with a driving layup in transition and forced RL-B to call a timeout with 16:30 showing on the clock.
Senior Kayla Raddle (nine points, six assists, five rebounds) gave Luverne a 9-0 lead with a 3-pointer from the left wing, and Robinson was the third Cardinal to steal the ball and go coast-to-coast for a layup in the initial three minutes — increasing the lead to 11-0 with 15:22 remaining.
RL-B (4-13) scored its first points on its eighth possession, as senior Katy Johnson (seven rebounds, six points) grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 11-2 with 14:58 left.
Junior Karen Schmitz, who blocked at least six shots and charted a double-double (19 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs), provided the Raiders with another offensive-rebound basket 50 seconds later to make it 13-4.
Luverne, though, stretched its lead to 21-8 with 8:43 to play. Junior Meghann Stanley, who scored all eight of her points in the first half and pulled down six rebounds, sparked the Cardinals in that span with an 18-footer from the right corner and a quick step-through basket on the right block.
The Cardinals continued to extend the margin in the last eight minutes, as Robinson sank two free throws and swished a 17-foot jumper on the right wing to help Luverne open up a 31-10 advantage with 5:04 to go.
Junior Callie Sawtelle, who scored nine of her 13 points in the second half, hit a 10-foot shot in the lane to give Luverne a 33-12 lead, and Stegenga, Stanley, junior Kelsey Wessels and Katlyn Sawtelle all scored a bucket in the final 3:13 — increasing Luverne’s cushion to 24 (41-17) at halftime.
However, RL-B — which had a 38-30 rebounding advantage and outscored Luverne 31-26 in the final 18 minutes — went on a 7-2 run to start the second half and trimmed the gap to 19 (43-24) at the 16:14 mark.
Schmitz hit a 12-foot turnaround shot in the lane eight seconds into the period, and senior April Wallace (15 points, all in the second half) netted a pair of perimeter shots — a 17-footer along the left baseline and a 3-pointer from the right wing — to spark that surge.
Luverne maintained a lead of about 20 points for the next six minutes before pushing it to 25 (55-30, largest of the game) with 9:59 left following a nifty steal and driving basket through the lane from Robinson.
Also keeping the Cardinals in command during that sequence included a post-to-post basket (Raddle to Callie Sawtelle), a fast-break hoop (Stegenga to Robinson) and a 3-point swisher from the top of the key by Katlyn Sawtelle.
RL-B, though, scored 10 straight points to slice the Cardinals’ lead to 15 (55-40) with 7:49 remaining. Wallace nailed two 3-pointers from the left wing and converted a steal into a layup to trigger that rally, while sophomore Ceilia Schmitz meshed an 18-footer in the left corner.
“We played much better on both ends of the floor in the second half,” RL-B head coach Eric Murray said. “We’ve struggled to play well for an entire game all season, but it was nice to see the girls come out with a good all-around effort in the second half.”
Raddle answered Wallace’s second trey in that stretch with a 3-pointer of her own to make it 58-40 at the 7:30 mark, and then passed to both junior Chelsey Javner and Callie Sawtelle for a basket apiece to help the Cardinals re-take a 20-point lead (62-42) two minutes later.
RL-B scored six of the game’s last 11 points, as Ceilia Schmitz fed Karen Schmitz for a hoop in the paint, sophomore Olivia Stanton scored inside off a pass from Johnson, and Wallace hit a 10-foot runner along the baseline.
Senior Chelsea Meyer (four points, four assists) and sophomore Mara Eichenberger (six rebounds) were among the other players to contribute for the Raiders.
Luverne visits Hills-Beaver Creek tonight, while RL-B plays at Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin Thursday.
Luverne 41 26 — 67
RL-B 17 31 — 48
LHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Wessels 0-1-0-2, K. Sawtelle 1-3-0-9, Stegenga 0-3-2-8, Robinson 0-7-2-16, Raddle 2-1-1-9, C. Sawtelle 0-3-7-13, Stanley 0-3-2-8, Javner 0-1-0-2. Totals: 3-22-14-67.
RL-B (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Meyer 0-2-0-4, C. Schmitz 0-1-0-2, Wallace 3-3-0-15, K. Schmitz 0-8-3-19, Johnson 0-3-0-6, Stanton 0-1-0-2. Totals: 3-18-3-48.