PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Windom handles JCC press for WWINDOM — The Windom Eagles girls basketball team built a 20-point halftime lead Friday night en route to a 70-51 Southwest Conference victory over the rival Jackson County Central Huskies.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WINDOM — The Windom Eagles girls basketball team built a 20-point halftime lead Friday night en route to a 70-51 Southwest Conference victory over the rival Jackson County Central Huskies.
The Eagles, who improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the league, effectively broke the Huskies’ pressure throughout the game, earning themselves plenty of easy looks at the basket.
“We knew (JCC) was going to pressure and we knew that was a key,” Windom head coach Jeff Huska said. “We’ve been working on (playing against pressure) all week. I thought we did a fantastic job of passing the ball out of the press and not trying to dribble through it. I thought we did a great job of using the team concept to break the pressure and, again, we did a great job of passing.”
Windom’s press-breaking efforts, coupled with a patient offense in the halfcourt setting and a 53 percent (18 of 34) field goal percentage in the first half, helped the hosts build a 40-20 lead after 18 minutes. The Eagles finished the game with a 46 percent (30 of 65) mark.
“I think a big difference was our shot selection compared to (JCC’s),” Huska said. “Our shots in the first half and, throughout the second half, were a lot of short shots after breaking the press — getting the ‘bunnies’, getting the rebounds and putting them back in from there. That was the big difference as (JCC) was trying to shoot the ball from the outside and they weren’t falling for them (Friday).”
Jackson County Central (4-5, 1-4), which had early leads of 2-0 and 4-2, struggled from the field throughout the game, shooting 24 percent (8 of 33) in the first half and 28 percent (21 of 75) in the game.
“It wasn’t a good enough effort. We dug ourselves a huge hole and we couldn’t get out of it,” JCC head coach Tom Schuller said. “We did not shoot the ball well again (Friday) and it made things very difficult.”
The Huskies jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 4-2 in the game’s first 90 seconds following baskets by Angela Handzus and Lydia Brandt, but the Eagles claimed the lead for good with 15 minutes, 48 seconds left in the opening half when Samantha Petersen nailed a 15-foot jump shot to give Windom a 5-4 lead.
Petersen and Gina Hauge each scored 16 points to lead the Eagles, while Rachel Sorensen (11) and Holly Larson (10) also finished in double figures. Kelsey Hanefeld and Jasmine Carlson added eight and seven points, respectively.
“It was a true team effort,” Huska said. “When we do a good job of breaking the press and passing the ball like we did (Friday), we often get several girls in double figures. That’s exactly what we look for — a good team effort.”
Hauge, who did most of her scoring from the low post, extended the lead to 7-4 with a spin-and-bank from the left block with 15:25 left.
Windom built a 16-8 lead with 12:07 left as Hanefeld made a pair of runners, Petersen sank a pair of free throws and Sorensen buried a 3-pointer to counter a pair of JCC baskets by Lydia Brandt, who finished with a team-high 13 points and also collected seven rebounds.
Michelle Van Epps (eight points, seven rebounds) helped the Huskies trim the lead to 18-14 over the next 2 minutes with a pair of interior baskets and two free throws, but the Eagles closed the first half with a 22-6 spurt for the 20-point advantage at the break.
“We got down, played no defense and got down by 20 early,” Schuller said. “By the time we got around to playing hard, we couldn’t catch up. (Windom) shot the ball well — repeatedly getting inside shots, repeatedly getting layups, repeatedly beating us on the boards. We just dug ourselves a huge hole in the first half.”
The 40 first-half points were a season-high for the Eagles and the hosts extended the bulge to a game-high 31 points (60-29) with 10:25 left.
Windom’s early second-half scoring remained balanced with Petersen, Hanefeld, Hauge, Larson and Carlson all contributing.
The Huskies, who didn’t make an outside shot in the first half, received their first make from outside the arc when Julia Schumann (10 points) dialed in a 3 from the top of the key with 12:30 left.
JCC’s pressure did produce some steals for transition baskets in the final 10 minutes, but the deficit was too large to make up.
Marita Rasche claimed four steals to lead the Huskies, while also topping the JCC rebound chart with eight. Kaylee Burmeister (three assists) and Handzus (four assists, three steals) each had seven rebounds.
The Huskies return to action Thursday, when they play Minnesota Valley Lutheran in an eight-team holiday tournament hosted by St. Clair.
Windom plays Friday, when it hosts a holiday tournament. The Eagles play Martin Luther in the first round of the four-team tournament.
Windom Area 70,
Jackson County Central 51
JCC (4-5, 1-4): Schumann 4 0-0 10, Handzus 3 0-0 6, Burmeister 2 2-2 7, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Rasche 2 1-2 5, Klontz 0 0-0 0, Van Epps 3 2-2 8, S. Brandt 1 0-0 2, L. Brandt 6 1-2 13, Reed 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 6-8 51.
Windom (4-3, 2-1): Hanefeld 4 0-0 8, Sorensen 4 1-2 11, Hanson 1 0-1 2, Vollan 0 0-0 0, Symens 0 0-0 0, Petersen 7 2-3 16, Carlson 3 1-2 7, Larson 4 2-2 10, Hauge 7 2-4 16, Quiring 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 8-14 70.
Halftime: Windom 40, JCC 20. 3-point goals: JCC 3 (Schumann 2, Burmeister 1); Windom 2 (Sorensen 2). Rebounds: JCC 41 (Rasche 8); Windom 46. Turnovers: JCC 19; Windom 16.