PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Raiders hold off CardinalsFULDA — Displaying offensive patience and solid team defensive fundamentals, Fulda held off Luverne’s second-half rally to claim a 47-37 victory in a non-conference girls basketball game Saturday.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
FULDA — Displaying offensive patience and solid team defensive fundamentals, Fulda held off Luverne’s second-half rally to claim a 47-37 victory in a non-conference girls basketball game Saturday.
The contest was part of a fundraising-tribute to long-time Fulda teacher and coach Harvey Carroll, who is dealing with Parkinson’s disease.
Carroll, who had a front row seat at the southeast corner of the packed gym, was treated to a well-played, defensive-oriented game between a pair of a strong former District 8 teams. Both squads entered the contest with identical early-season records of 4-1.
After several lead exchanges in the game’s initial 13 minutes, Fulda snapped an 11-11 tie with an 11-2 run during the final 5 minutes of the first half to take a 22-13 advantage into intermission.
However, Luverne rallied in the second half and capped an impressive 14-4 surge with a steal and a layup by senior McKayla Schilling to earn a 27-26 edge with 11:23 remaining in the game.
The Raiders, who had not scored in nearly 5 minutes, recaptured the lead at the 10:41 mark on a pair of free throws by junior forward Melissa Gehl. She had a game-high 17 points, aided by a 7 of 9 effort at the free-throw line, and added six rebounds.
Seventy-six seconds later, sophomore guard Courtney Tiesler netted two shots from the free-throw line. Fulda had a 30-27 advantage, despite not scoring a field goal since a strong putback by Gehl had given the Raiders a 26-19 lead 2:25 into the second half.
Stepping up their defensive intensity, the Raiders began to assume control. Fulda utilized a nifty drive down the lane by senior center Rachel Cheadle (10 points, five rebounds) and a beautiful feed from senior guard Brittney Hermeling to Gehl for a fastbreak layup just 19 seconds apart to grab a seven-point lead.
The Raiders capped a 10-0 run a bit later on a high-low bounce pass from Cheadle to Gehl for a 36-27 lead with 6:05 to play.
“That was a nice run we had as our girls responded well to Luverne’s run and took the lead back,” said Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug, who was well-pleased with his team’s offensive discipline. “I thought that we played a disciplined game at a slower pace than what we are used to. Luverne is very patient on offense and did a nice job of slowing the game down. But we countered with patience of our own and had the best shot selection that we have had all season.”
Luverne sophomore guard Lexi Rust (team-high 11 points, six rebounds) banked in a 2-pointer for the Cardinals to end their nearly 6-minute scoring drought, but Gehl scooped up a loose ball and fired a pass ahead to Tiesler for a basket which gave Fulda a 38-29 lead with 3:30 to play.
A 3-pointer by Luverne junior forward Tara Sudenga (three assists) trimmed the Raiders’ advantage to 40-34 a minute later, but Fulda answered with a jumper off the glass by sophomore guard Sariah Cheadle (five rebounds, team-high five assists) and her over-the-top pass to Gehl (on a sideline inbounds play) increased the Fulda lead to 10 at 44-34 with 1:05 on the clock.
After Rust banked in a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left, one free throw by Sariah Cheadle and two by Gehl secured the final 10-point win for the Raiders (5-1), who host Pipestone Area on Tuesday.
“Two keys for us were our defensive rebounding and our outstanding defense which Hermeling and Tiesler played on Kaitlin Wohnoutka, who is one of the best point guards in the whole area,” Slaathaug said. “We boxed out so well, only giving up seven offensive rebounds the whole game. There were several times when the ball hit the floor.”
Hermeling, who hit three key perimeter shots (two of them 3-pointers) in the first half, finished a marvelous all-around game of eight points, six rebounds, four assists and a team-high four steals.
“Hermeling really did do a great job of defending Kaitlin, who is our best player,” second-year Luverne head coach Corey Nelson said about the important matchup out front. “All game long, Fulda played more physical than we did. They altered our cuts and boxed out hard on our shots. We didn’t get many second shots and didn’t make enough of our perimeter shots. We did have a nice run in the second half, which started on a fastbreak pass from Wohnoutka to Alex Stanley, who did a nice of running the floor and get us going.”
Stanley, a senior forward, followed her fastbreak layup with a putback, which sliced Fulda’s second-half lead to 26-23. She scored her third straight basket on a long pass downcourt from Wohnoutka, making the score 26-25.
Thirteen seconds later, Schilling (six rebounds) converted a steal into Luverne’s fourth straight 2-pointer and the Cardinals had their shortlived advantage.
Hermeling, Schumacher help Raiders take lead
A deep 3-pointer by Wohnoutka (eight points, three assists, game-high six steals) gave Luverne an early 5-4 lead and a putback by Stanley (10 points) gave the Cardinals their largest lead of the game at 9-6.
Hermeling answered with a 3-pointer from the left corner and a 2-pointer from the left elbow, putting the Raiders ahead 11-9.
Sudenga’s pass to Rust for layup tied the score at 11, but Hermeling’s penetrating kick pass to senior guard Amanda Schumacher for a 3-pointer gave Fulda a 14-11 edge and Rachel Cheadle’s inside hoop increased the lead to five.
A free throw by Gehl was answered by a nifty pass from Stanley to Rust on a backdoor cut and with 1:56 to play in the first half, Fulda’s lead was just four (17-13).
However, the Raiders, scored the last five points before the break as Sariah Cheadle passed to Hermeling for her second 3-pointer of the game and Schumacher sank a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left after being fouled on a baseline jumper.
Luverne shot just 29 percent from the field (15 of 52) and had 24 turnovers, compared to 16 for the Raiders who were 16-of-41 from the field for 39 percent.
“That’s way fewer shots than we usually take,” Slaathaug said of his team’s total shots from the floor. “But Luverne had the ball much of the game.”
Luverne (4-2) plays another Red Rock Conference team Monday. The Cardinals travel to Hills to tangle with the Hills-Beaver Creek Patriots.