PREP GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Fulda cruises by Russell-Tyler-Ruthton for 73-35 winWORTHINGTON — Starting with a pair of free throws by senior Tiffany Gehl and finishing with a steal and layup by senior Courtney Hulstein, the top-seeded Fulda Raiders opened the 2012 Section 3A South high school girls’ basketball tournament with a 25-6 run on Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Saturday morning at the Worthington High School gym in the first of four quarterfinal games.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Starting with a pair of free throws by senior Tiffany Gehl and finishing with a steal and layup by senior Courtney Hulstein, the top-seeded Fulda Raiders opened the 2012 Section 3A South high school girls’ basketball tournament with a 25-6 run on Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Saturday morning at the Worthington High School gym in the first of four quarterfinal games.
The contest was barely eight minutes gone, but it was apparent early who the superior team was.
Continuing to score at a torrid pace in a variety of ways, the Raiders — who are the defending sub-section champions — rolled to an impressive 45-21 halftime lead and an eventual 73-35 victory.
Hulstein sank five 3-pointers in the game and finished with 29 points, eight steals, eight rebounds and five assists to lead Fulda (22-5) to its seventh consecutive win and a trip to Tuesday night’s semifinals, earning a chance to tangle with fourth-seeded Wabasso.
The Rabbits (22-4) rallied to defeat Edgerton, 64-59, in Saturday’s second game.
Having advanced beyond “Super Saturday,” Fulda and Wabasso will return to the WHS gym for a 6 p.m. tipoff in the first of two games Tuesday.
“I was really happy with our intensity and our overall effort,”exclaimed Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug after Saturday’s win. “We played at a high level and I thought that Rachel Cheadle and the Gehl sisters — Tiffany and Melissa — really dominated the glass, allowing us to get our transition game going.”
The Raiders scored the game’s first seven points and held a 19-4 lead with 11:34 to play in the first half after a strong offensive-rebound basket by sophomore Melissa Gehl, who scored 10 timely points.
“Melissa had one of her best games of the year,” praised Slaathaug. “She was all over the place.”
Cheadle, a 5-11 junior center, was a force on the boards and in the paint for Fulda, finishing the game with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
She scored three times in a span which helped the Raiders overcome a 6-0 run by the Knights and extend a 28-15 lead into a 36-19 advantage with 3:53 to play in the first half.
Tiffany Gehl, who had the assist to Cheadle on one of those baskets, had a stellar game of her own as she contributed nine points, six steals and six assists.
“I like playing the top of our press,” declared Tiffany, who also excels in both cross country and track. “Playing defense and passing the ball to the post are things I like, too. Basketball is super fun because you have a team to share it with.”
Holding a 24-point lead at the break, the Raiders opened the second half with a smooth post move by the left-handed Cheadle and a 3-pointer by Hulstein, extending the lead to 50-21.
Hulstein sank two more long 3-pointers and Brittney Hermeling, a hustling 5-6 junior guard, scored on a strong drive to highlight Fulda’s finish in the one-sided contest.
Ninth-seeded R-T-R, which finished its season 7-18, advanced to Saturday’s round by playing very well in a 57-47 win over eighth-seeded Westbrook-Walnut Grove in Thursday’s “pigtail” action.
But, Fulda’s overall talent, experience and fundamental skills were simply too much for the Knights to match.
“We were intimidated by Fulda’s aggressiveness on defense,” said R-T-R head coach Darin Dahle. “Their fullcourt press rattled us and it was hard for us to compete against that overall level of talent and skill.”
Sophomore forward Kaylie Nielsen and senior forward Jenae Minett paced nine R-T-R players in the scoring column with eight and six points, respectively.
R-T-R 21 14 — 35
Fulda 45 28 — 73
R-T-R (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) J. Possail 0-2-0-4, Daniels 0-0-1-1, Knudsen 0-0-2-2, Strand 0-0-3-3, Willert 0-1-3-5, Minett 0-2-2-6, Pochardt 0-1-0-2, Mensen 0-2-0-4, Nielsen 0-3-2-8. Totals 0-11-13-35.
Fulda (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Hermeling 0-1-0-2, Hulstein 5-5-4-29, M. Gehl 0-4-2-10, S. Cheadle 0-2-0-4, R. Cheadle 0-7-5-19, T. Gehl 0-1-7-9. Totals 5-20-18-73.