GIRLS BASKETBALL: Cardinals edge SWU despite 3’s from PlaceOKABENA — In a scrappily-played game Monday, visiting Luverne capitalized on a trio of second-half surges to lead most of the second half and earn a 57-54 non-conference girls basketball victory over Southwestern United.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
OKABENA — In a scrappily-played game Monday, visiting Luverne capitalized on a trio of second-half surges to lead most of the second half and earn a 57-54 non-conference girls basketball victory over Southwestern United.
The Cardinals, who improved to 10-9 on the season, came up with numerous steals throughout the contest and had runs of 8-0, 6-0 and 5-0, which gave them leads of 38-31, 46-37 and 54-48.
The Wildcats (5-12 overall) stayed close to the end, highlighted by the long-range shooting of sophomore sensation Courtney Place, who knocked two of her game-high five 3-pointers in the final 1 minute, 14 seconds, as SWU sliced the gap to 54-51 and 56-54 before time ran out on its final rally.
“She hit some amazing shots from about 30 feet out,” praised Luverne head coach Corey Nelson about Place’s late-game shots. “Fortunately, we limited her some earlier in the game and our girls did a nice job of pressuring the ball and taking a lot of passes away.”
Luverne’s MaKayla Schilling (six points, seven steals) guarded Place effectively much of the first half, when Place did not score during the game’s first 11:14.
Place’s first points came with 6:46 showing on the first-half clock when she connected on a 3-pointer off an inbounds play, capping an impressive 12-0 SWU run, which changed an 11-4 deficit into a 16-11 lead.
The Cardinals, who had stormed out to the early advantage on the strength of six driving points by Kaitlin Wohnoutka, a game-opening 3-pointer by Tara Sudenga and a basket by Schilling, regrouped after the Wildcats’ surge and posted a slim 28-27 advantage at intermission.
SWU presented a very balanced scoring attack in that first half as both Place and Sonja Peters each netted seven points, while freshman Andrea Hinkeldey was a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line and scored six points prior to the break.
Kailey Wendland (three), Autumn Hinkeldey (two) and Sarah Baumgard (two) combined for seven more Wildcat points, as six players tallied points.
“I was extremely happy with our scoring balance in the first half,” exclaimed SWU head coach Keith Place. “We had some nice passing, screening and shooting by each one of our girls, which is what we want to have happen.”
Meanwhile, Wohnoutka (12) and Sudenga (nine) had combined for 21 of Luverne’s first-half points.
Early 8-0 Luverne run gives Cardinals lead for keeps
Wendland scored on an offensive rebound, lifting the Wildcats to a quick 29-28 lead to begin the second half.
Schilling fed the ball inside to Sudenga (17 points, 10 rebounds) for a hoop, returning the lead to the Cardinals.
Place answered with a drive and with 15:23 on the second-half clock, the Wildcats had a 31-30 edge — their final lead of the game.
Sudenga scored down low twice for Luverne, Schilling scored on a drive and Wohnoutka (18 points, 12 rebounds, five steals) converted a steal and with 12:46 to play, the Cardinals were leading 38-31.
Thirty-three seconds later, Place (game-high 26 points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists) drilled her first 3-pointer of the second half and nailed another a minute later, offsetting a driving basket by Luverne’s Lexi Rust (10 points, three steals).
A huge steal and layup by Wohnoutka put the Cardinals up five, 42-37, and a nifty pass from Schilling (after a defensive rebound) to Rust completed a well-executed Luverne fastbreak, making the score 44-37 with 8:13 to play.
A drive by Sudenga increased the Cardinals’ lead to nine, but once again the Wildcats rallied.
Peters, who turned in a stellar all-around performance for SWU with 13 points, 12 rebounds and five steals, converted a pair of free throws and later scored off an assist pass from Andrea Hinkeldey, trimming the LHS lead to 46-41 with 7:16 remaining.
A long 3-pointer by Place sliced the gap to two a minute later, but Rust responded with a putback basket for the Cardinals.
Neither team scored for a couple of possessions until Andrea Hinkeldey again found Peters, who converted as the Wildcats were again within two.
After a free throw by Wohnoutka, Andrea Hinkeldey delivered her third consecutive assist, finding Place for a basket and with 3:22 remaining, it was 49-48 Luverne.
Haugen’s five points help Cardinals clinch
Twenty seconds later, Schilling’s two free throws put the Cardinals back up by three and then, at the 1:40 mark, Luverne freshman Morgan Haugen — Courtney Place’s first cousin — converted a left-side drive into a three-point play, giving her team a 54-48 advantage.
“That was huge,” declared Nelson. “That play — and Morgan’s two free throws shortly after that — is what really won the game for us at the end.”
Place sank a long 3-pointer 26 seconds later, slicing the lead to three (54-51), but Haugen (six points, eight rebounds) responded by sinking two from the line with 56 seconds left, extending Luverne’s lead to 56-51.
Place hit a 31-footer with 16 seconds left, trimming the gap to two, but two seconds later Wohnoutka made 1-of-2 free throws and a closing-seconds block by Sudenga preserved Luverne’s narrow victory.
Both teams play at home Thursday. The Cardinals host Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and the Wildcats host Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
Luverne 57, Southwestern United 54
Luverne (10-9): Wohnoutka 6 6-9 18, Schilling 2 2-2 6, Rust 4 2-3 10, Haugen 1 4-5 6, Sudenga 8 0-2 17. Totals: 21 12-19 57.
Southwestern United (5-12): An. Hinkeldey 1 4-4 6, Au. Hinkeldey 1 0-0 2, Peters 5 3-5 13, Wendland 2 1-2 5, Place 9 3-4 26 Baumgard 0 2-2 2. Totals: 18 13-17 54.
Luverne 28 29 --- 57
SW United 27 27 --- 54
3-Point Goals: Luverne 1 (Sudenga), Southwestern United 5 (Place 5)