PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: MCC holds off MLAMOUNTAIN LAKE — A strong start and a good finish helped Murray County Central lead nearly the entire game and earn a 55-45 Red Rock Conference girls basketball victory over Mountain Lake Area on a frigid Thursday evening.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
MOUNTAIN LAKE — A strong start and a good finish helped Murray County Central lead nearly the entire game and earn a 55-45 Red Rock Conference girls basketball victory over Mountain Lake Area on a frigid Thursday evening.
The Rebels (9-9, 7-5) utilized their depth well and put eight players in the scoring column, including double-figure performances from senior guard Jenna Ness (20 points, three assists) and sophomore guard Jade Giese (10 points, four clutch free throws in the last 35 seconds).
“We’ve struggled from the line at times this year,” first-year MCC head coach Laura Jenson said after the game. “So, it was nice to knock them down at the end of this one.”
MCC rattled off runs of 10-0 and 7-0 in the first half to claim a 25-21 advantage at intermission.
Then, after MLA’s Janessa Peters (20 points, 10 rebounds) scored eight consecutive points to open the second half and a strong left-side drive by Stacey Harder knotted the score at 31-all with 13 minutes, 47 seconds to play in the second half, the Rebels surged again.
A pass from Michaela Hartle to Ness for a 3-pointer broke the tie 25 seconds later and after a defensive rebound by Haley Bose (team-high 10 rebounds), a pass from Ness to Bose increased MCC’s lead to 36-31.
Bose scored again on a Rebel’s inbounds play, capping MCC’s second 7-0 run of the game.
“We understand that both teams will have scoring runs in most games,” summed up Jenson, a former collegiate basketball player at Southwest State University in Marshall. “The momentum swings both ways. I thought our girls did a nice job of handling Mountain Lake’s runs and responding with surges of our own.”
A nice pass from Mikayla Falk (four assists) to Peters resulted in a three-point play for the Wolverines with 10:36 on the clock, slicing the gap to four.
But, MLA went nearly seven minutes before scoring again.
Meanwhile, the Rebels built their lead to 47-34, as Giese sank a field goal from the free throw line, Taylor Schreier (four assists) fed Ness for a basket, Giese scored on a putback, Schreier sank a free throw and Bose came through with a huge offensive rebound basket.
MLA’s Paige Brown (nine rebounds, seven points, two steals) sank a pair of free throws with 3:47 remaining to put the brakes on MCC’s 16-3 run, which finished with a 9-0 burst since the Wolverines last scored.
“We went way too long without scoring,” reflected MLA head coach Wayne Klassen. “We took care of the ball pretty well most of the game and had some of the shots we wanted. But, we missed too many good shots — especially in the first half — and we gave up too many second shots to MCC, which is a versatile team with both inside and outside scoring ability.”
The Wolverines (9-9, 5-7) did rally as Brown scored on a putback, slicing the lead to nine and — after Taylor Moline converted a layup for the Rebels — scored seven unanswered points, coming within four (49-45) with 1:36 remaining.
Whitney Klassen (six points, three assists, two steals) swished a pair of free throws and then Peters netted a 3-poiner from the corner, trimming the lead to 49-43 with 1:55 on the clock.
Nineteen seconds later, Brianna Soutthivong deflected a pass, which was scooped up by Brown and passed ahead to Soutthivong who converted the well-executed play and the Wolverines were back in business.
“We rallied nicely there,” praised Klassen. “We kept battling and when Janessa made that 3-pointer and Brianna and Paige teamed up on that steal, we were rolling.”
MLA forced another turnover 13 seconds later and had the ball back with 1:23 left.
But MCC’s defense stiffened and the Wolverines were unable to score the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, the Rebels finished on a 6-0 run as Giese sank four straight high-arching free throws and Ness converted on a steal and layup to produce the final 10-point spread.
“We defended well at times during the game and closed out well on their shooters, getting stops at the end when we needed to,” concluded Jenson, who had her team switch defenses several times during the contest and effectively rotated lots of players.
“We had a lot of girls step up tonight and do nice things for us. Each one of them contributed.”
MCC hosts Westbrook-Walnut Grove Tuesday night, while MLA travels to Jeffers to tangle with Red Rock Central.
MURRAY COUNTY CENTRAL 55,
MOUNTAIN LAKE AREA 45
MURRAY COUNTY CENTRAL (8-8, 7-5): Bose 3-5 0-0 6, Behrends 2-6 1-2 5, Giese 3-6 4-6 10, Schreier 2-6 1-2 6, Ness 8-12 3-4 20, Schmitz 2-4 0-0 4, Nysetvold 1-2 0-0 2, Moline 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-47 9-14 55.
MOUNTAIN LAKE AREA (9-9, 5-7): Falk 1-1 0-0 2, Dukes 0-7 2-2 2, Klassen 1-5 4-6 6, Kispert 0-1 0-0 0, Peters 9-21 1-1 20, Harder 2-2 0-0 4, Soutthivong 2-6 0-1 4, Brown 2-8 3-5 7. Totals 17-51 10-15 45.
Murray County Central 25 30 — 55
Mountain Lake Area 21 24 — 45
3-Point Goals: MCC 2 (Schreier, Ness), MLA 1 (Peters). Rebounds: MCC 42 (Bose 10, Behrends 9, Schmitz 7) MLA 30 (Peters 10, Brown 9, Klassen 4). Assists: MCC 12 (Schreier 4, Ness 3) MLA 14 (Falk 4, Klassen 3). Steals: MCC 6, MLA 8 (Soutthivong 2, Brown 2, Klassen 2). Turnovers: MCC 13, MLA 15.