PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Eagles rally past RaidersFULDA — In a key Red Rock Conference girls’ basketball game that was much closer than the final score indicates, the Southwest Christian Eagles rallied to claim an exciting 80-71 victory over the Fulda Raiders after recording 18 of the final 21 points — including the last 12 in a row — during the closing four minutes of action Friday night.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
FULDA — In a key Red Rock Conference girls’ basketball game that was much closer than the final score indicates, the Southwest Christian Eagles rallied to claim an exciting 80-71 victory over the Fulda Raiders after recording 18 of the final 21 points — including the last 12 in a row — during the closing four minutes of action Friday night.
SWC outscored Fulda by a 20-7 margin from the free-throw line and erased a six-point deficit with its strong finishing kick, improving to 13-4 overall and remaining atop the conference standings with a perfect 10-0 mark.
Fulda (13-5, 8-3; third place) ran the floor very well and led for a large portion of the second half, surging to a 68-62 advantage with 4:24 remaining on the strength of several fast-break baskets, along with lots of hoops in the paint off solid interior feeds.
“We played about as well as we are capable of at this point in the season,” Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug said after the game. “We had an opportunity to win down the stretch, but SWC is a very good team and a tough matchup for us. They certainly won the last three or four minutes of what was a fast-paced game.”
The action-packed ballgame featured a little bit of everything — from extended runs by both teams to multiple lead changes — and wasn’t decided until SWC’s impressive 18-3 burst to end it.
“We did a nice job of persevering throughout all 36 minutes of the game,” SWC head coach Denise Nerem said. “It was back-and-forth a lot and we had confidence to rally after Fulda took a late two-possession lead. We were able to do so and earned a very nice win on the road.”
SWC’s Amber Pater (eight rebounds, six assists) scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half. She hit three straight shots to help trigger the Eagles’ clinching run, and her basket off a nifty inside move put SWC up 72-71 at the 2:24 mark.
Pater nailed an 18-footer from the top of the key and meshed a 12-footer along the right baseline prior to that hoop, all of which followed a left-elbow jumper by Morgan Van Hulzen (14 points, nine rebounds) that made it 69-66.
Sariah Cheadle (16 points, seven rebounds and six assists) sank a pair of free throws to keep Fulda up by three (71-68) with 3:07 to go, but Pater’s string of buckets — combined with a couple of turnovers and missed shots on the Raiders’ part — put the Eagles in front for good.
Jennifer Schmidt (14 points, six rebounds) put SWC up 75-71 with a 3-point swisher at the 1:28 mark, and the Eagles went 5-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final 34.9 seconds to secure a nine-point victory.
Hannah Van Dyke, who was 7-for-10 at the foul line and finished with 14 points, knocked down three of those free throws, while Van Hulzen buried the other two.
“We had great scoring balance with six girls between 19 and seven points,” Nerem said. “Our seniors really did a nice job and played to their strengths, which is scoring inside and getting offensive rebounds.”
SWC used a trio of offensive-rebound baskets to extend its 41-39 halftime lead to 50-44 early in the second half. Van Hulzen, Pater and Kelly Tinklenberg (eight points, nine rebounds) each had putback baskets to help pace the Eagles in the first three minutes after the intermission.
Fulda, though, launched an 11-3 run to claim a 55-53 lead at the 11:21 mark. Brittney Hermeling (18 points, four assists and three steals) connected on a right-wing 3-pointer off an assist from Amanda Schumacher to get the Raiders going.
Sharing the ball and finding the open player, the Raiders scored four straight baskets — in the paint or on the break — to assume a 57-54 lead with 10:37 remaining.
Rachel Cheadle (nine points, 15 rebounds) scored off an interior feed from Courtney Tiesler (14 points) and then passed to Melissa Gehl (eight points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals) for a hoop down low.
Sariah Cheadle hit Hermeling with a lead pass for a fast-break basket before Laura Williams made an over-the-top, high-low pass to Rachel Cheadle for a basket underneath, as the Raiders were clicking.
Then, a bit later, Schumacher and Rachel Cheadle hooked up on a sweet pick-and-roll, clearout play. Cheadle scored inside, was fouled and completed a 3-point play to give Fulda a 60-56 lead with 9:23 remaining.
Sariah Cheadle later passed to Hermeling and Tiesler for breakaway baskets and also scored twice herself on dazzling drives through the lane to put the Raiders up 68-62 at the 4:24 mark — preceding the ensuing rally by the Eagles.
“We passed the ball very well and got lots of good looks,” Slaathaug said. “I’m proud of our effort, and even though we came up short, I can’t be upset with the way we played or with how we competed. We played very hard from start to finish.”
The lead changed hands a total of nine times in the initial five minutes of the game, and neither team gained separation during the first half until SWC used an 8-0 run to go up 21-14 with 11:53 showing on the clock.
Tianna Top and Savannah Tinklenberg each had a basket to aid the Eagles in the early stages of the game, as SWC was able to score well — from a variety of sources — in the low-post area.
SWC maintained the lead and was up 32-23 at the eight-minute mark. Pater, Schmidt, Van Hulzen, Van Dyke and Kelly Tinklenberg all scored to help create the nine-point margin in favor of the Eagles.
However, Fulda answered with a 14-2 run to earn a 37-34 lead with 5:06 to go. Hermeling and Schumacher both dialed in a 3-pointer, while Tiesler and Gehl each scored on drives in the open court to help spark the Raiders.
SWC regained the lead thanks to two free throws by Kara Homandberg and was up 41-39 at the midway point.
The Eagles play Red Rock Central at Jeffers Thursday, while the Raiders play Summit, S.D. today in Madison, S.D.
SOUTHWEST CHRISTIAN 80,
SOUTHWEST CHRISTIAN (13-4, 10-0): Homandberg 0 2-2 2, Van Dyke 3 7-10 14, Top 1 0-0 2, S. Tinklenberg 2 3-4 7, Pater 9 1-2 19, Van Hulzen 6 2-2 14, Schmidt 5 3-3 14, K. Tinklenberg 3 2-3 8. Totals: 29 20-26 80.
FULDA (13-5, 8-3): B. Hermeling 8 0-0 18, Schumacher 2 1-2 6, C. Tiesler 6 0-0 14, Gehl 3 2-4 8, S. Cheadle 6 3-4 16, Ra. Cheadle 4 1-1 9, Williams 0 0-1 0. Totals: 29 7-12 71.
Southwest Christian 41 39 — 80
Fulda 39 32 — 71
3-Point Goals: Southwest Christian 2 (Van Dyke, Schmidt); Fulda 6 (B. Hermeling 2, C. Tiesler 2, Schumacher, S. Cheadle). Rebounds: Southwest Christian 41 (Van Hulzen 9, K. Tinklenberg 9, Pater 8, Schmidt 6); Fulda 45 (Ra. Cheadle 15, S. Cheadle 7, Gehl 6). Turnovers: Southwest Christian 21, Fulda 21.