PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Dragons outlast RaidersFULDA — Holding Fulda to five field goals in the second half and sinking four free throws in the final minute Thursday night, the Adrian Dragons prevailed with an exciting 51-48 victory over the Raiders in a key Red Rock Conference girls’ basketball game.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
FULDA — Holding Fulda to five field goals in the second half and sinking four free throws in the final minute Thursday night, the Adrian Dragons prevailed with an exciting 51-48 victory over the Raiders in a key Red Rock Conference girls’ basketball game.
The two familiar foes entered the game tied for second place in the conference standings, and Adrian (11-3, 7-1) now has a slight edge over Fulda (11-4, 6-2). Southwest Christian (10-4, 7-0) is the current league leader.
“This was just your typical game between Adrian and Fulda,” Dragons’ head coach Randy Strand said. “It was a battle from start to finish like it always is when these two teams play, and we’re happy to come away with the win.”
Adrian outscored Fulda 23-14 in the second half to turn a 34-28 halftime deficit into the final three-point triumph.
“Both teams know each other so well and it was difficult to score because both teams play hard defensively,” Raiders’ head coach Gregg Slaathaug said. “Adrian was able to score a little bit better than us this time around, but we were right there until the end with opportunities to win. It certainly was a hard-fought ballgame.”
Adrian effectively slowed down Fulda with a zone defense for most of the second half, at times playing a “diamond-and-one” scheme on the Raiders’ Sariah Cheadle — who had scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the first half in a variety of ways.
The Dragons held the Raiders scoreless for the first four minutes and 38 seconds of the second half and almost always had the lead — never by more than three points — during the final 10 minutes of the game.
Baskets by Adrian’s Jordin Kopplow (11 points) and Elizabeth Thier (10 points) opened the second-half scoring to make it 34-32 before Brittney Hermeling snapped Fulda’s scoring drought with a 3-pointer at the 13:22 mark.
The Dragons’ Elissa Thier (nine points) then went 2-for-2 at the free-throw line and buried a left-wing 3-pointer to even the score (at 37) with 12:01 showing on the clock.
Adrian took its first lead since midway through the first half when Rachel Kontz (nine points) netted a 3-pointer from the top of the key, pushing the Dragons out in front (40-38) with 9:24 to go.
Cheadle answered with her only basket of the second half — a nifty open-court drive to the hoop — to pull the Raiders even (at 40) 48 seconds later.
Adrian later had a pair of three-point advantages — 43-40 and 45-42 — after Elizabeth Thier took a long defensive rebound in for a layup, and Carly Wolf swished an 18-footer from out top (with 5:30 remaining).
Fulda’s Courtney Tiesler scored the game’s next four points with an offensive-rebound basket and two free throws to put the Raiders ahead by a 46-45 margin with 3:36 to play.
Adrian’s Courtney Vaske responded with a putback basket at the 2:03 mark, as the Dragons regained a 47-46 lead.
Several defensive stops and loose-ball scrambles ensued, as neither team was able to score until Elissa Thier dropped in two free throws with 47.5 seconds left to lift Adrian to a 49-46 lead.
A second-effort offensive-rebound basket by Fulda’s Rachel Cheadle (10 points, nine rebounds) made it 49-48 with 32 seconds remaining, and Adrian missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity eight seconds later.
Fulda, though, was unable to get a shot off in the final 20 seconds. Elizabeth Thier came up with a key steal with less than five seconds to play, and she — along with Kopplow — went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line in the closing moments to seal a 51-48 victory for Adrian.
“We changed things up defensively in the second half and it happened to work for us,” Strand said. “Our girls did a nice job in the zone and took away some things that Fulda is good at.”
Adrian’s half-court man-to-man defense and its ability to hustle for offensive rebounds early in the first half helped yield a 9-4 Dragons’ lead five minutes in. Kontz and Vaske combined for three baskets underneath, while Kopplow buried a 3-pointer to spark Adrian.
Fulda countered with a 3-pointer from Myah Holinka and a backdoor basket from Amanda Schumacher (Melissa Gehl assist) to pull even (at nine) at the 12:18 mark. The Raiders earned a 13-12 lead when Rachel Cheadle fed Gehl for an interior basket with 10:24 remaining.
Hoops by Kopplow and Elissa Thier gave the Dragons a 17-15 lead with 8:38 showing, but the Raiders launched a 13-0 run over the next several possessions to build a 28-17 lead at the 5:58 mark.
Sariah Cheadle scored the first seven points in that burst, drilling a 3-pointer from the right corner before sinking an 18-footer from out top and then driving along the left baseline for a bucket.
Rachel Cheadle followed with a pair of baskets in the paint, and Hermeling capped the surge with a weak-side offensive-rebound basket.
“We played very well during that stretch,” Slaathaug said. “Our half-court man-to-man defense was solid, and we started to rebound better. We also executed well offensively to get good shots.”
Adrian rallied with eight straight points to trim the gap to three (28-25) with 3:37 remaining. Brooke Wenzel had an offensive-rebound basket and two free throws to highlight the Dragons’ run.
Baskets by Schumacher and Gehl put Fulda up 32-25, and the Raiders maintained the advantage (up 34-28) heading into halftime.
Adrian hosts Mountain Lake Area Tuesday, while Fulda hosts Edgerton Saturday.
ADRIAN (11-3, 7-1): Elissa Thier 2 4-5 9, Elizabeth Thier 3 3-7 10, Kopplow 4 2-4 11, Kontz 4 0-1 9, Wolf 1 0-0 2, Wenzel 2 2-4 6, Vaske 2 0-2 4. Totals: 18 11-23 51.
FULDA (11-4, 6-2): B. Hermeling 2 0-0 5, Schumacher 3 0-0 6, C. Tiesler 1 2-2 4, Gehl 2 1-2 5, S. Cheadle 6 2-2 15, Ra. Cheadle 4 2-2 10, Holinka 1 0-0 3. Totals: 19 7-8 48.
Adrian 28 23 — 51
Fulda 34 14 — 48
3-Point Goals: Adrian 4 (Elissa Thier, Elizabeth Thier, Kopplow, Kontz); Fulda 3 (B. Hermeling, S. Cheadle, Holinka). Rebounds: Adrian 31; Fulda 26 (Ra. Cheadle 9, Gehl 5, Schumacher 4). Assists: Adrian 13; Fulda 10 (B. Hermeling 3, Gehl 3). Steals: Adrian 10; Fulda 9 (B. Hermeling 3, Gehl 3). Turnovers: Adrian 22, Fulda 15.