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Cardinals wing Rebels, 59-54

LUVERNE -- The Luverne Cardinals faced so many roadblocks Monday night that it seemed more like an obstacle course than a basketball game.

Despite a triple-double from Murray County Central's Emily Bose, and facing an uphill battle for most of the game, the Cardinals (4-3) took the lead at the right time -- earning a 59-54 victory over the Rebels (4-2) in a non-conference girls' basketball contest.

"To stick with it there in the second half where we were down eight and 10, and to come back and make a couple of shots there in the end was the nice part," Luverne head coach Jason Phelps said. "It was a fight to keep it close all night, and we made a couple of plays at the end."

Bose finished with 22 points, 16 rebounds and blocked 14 shots. Luverne had just 18 rebounds as a team.

"She had a great game," MCC head coach Tom Pryor said. "The other kids have to realize what they have to do in order to win when she's in the game. If she's outside and they are shooting long shots, she has no chance of getting the rebound, and that doesn't help us any."

Bose scored 14 points in the first half, but had limited looks in the latter part of the game.

"We did switch to where we had a little more pressure, so if they can't get the ball down the court, then they can't get it to her," Phelps said of Bose. "In the end, that was probably where we were able to get a couple easy ones."

Trailing 48-38 with nine minutes left in the game, Luverne's Liberty Robinson (22 points) hit a trey from the left corner, but Bose answered with two free throws as MCC had a 50-41 lead.

After a free throw from Luverne's Callie Sawtelle (five points, four rebounds), Kayla Raddle (nine points) hit a 3-pointer to pull the Cardinals within five -- forcing a MCC timeout.

"It's nice to see that we have that fight in us where we don't give up near the end," Phelps said. "But I'd like to see us play a little harder earlier."

Out of the timeout, Bose hit a shot to increase the Rebels' lead to seven, but with consecutive baskets from Lexi Jo Heitkamp (six points) and Amy Herman (five points), Luverne pulled back within three -- forcing another MCC timeout.

The Rebels' Abby Van Meveren (four points) and Alyssa Schmidt (10 points) each missed the front end of a 1-and-1, as the Rebels scored just four points in the final nine minutes of the game.

"We just can't turn the ball over," Pryor said. "We turned the ball over too much. We were tentative, and we looked like we were tired."

After the pair of missed free throws, Heitkamp made good on a pair from the line, and Robinson made a layup -- giving the Cardinals their first lead of the second half.

Bose answered with a jump shot, giving MCC the lead back with just less than three minutes remaining.

With good ball movement against the Rebel defense, Luverne's Robinson found some room in the right corner, and hit her third trey of the night -- giving Luverne a 56-54 lead.

"Defensively we weren't moving our feet," Pryor said. "We allowed more points tonight than we allowed all year. You have to move your feet defensively, and we didn't. We were just standing around."

The Cardinals were able to control the ball over the final minute of regulation, and with a pair of free throws from Allison Henke (eight points) and a foul shot from Robinson, Luverne held on for a 59-54 victory.

"What I was happiest about was when we got the lead the last three minutes. We got one stop, and then we were kind of able to kill the clock and make some free throws at the end," Phelps said.

With consecutive baskets from Bose, MCC had an early lead in the game, and with a jump shot from Colleen Everson (four points), the Rebels had a five-point lead early.

However, in a sign of things to come, the Cardinals battled back. Raddle scored after an offensive rebound, and hit two free throws to give Luverne a three point lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

MCC recovered and with the score tied at 17-all, the Rebels went on an 8-0 run, capped with a basket from Schmidt.

Luverne wasn't able to make up the deficit in the first half, as MCC had a 36-30 lead at half.

The Rebels came out strong to start the second half, building as much as a 10-point lead before the Cardinals made their move.

MCC will be at home tonight against Red Rock Central, while Luverne will have a long layoff before playing Central Lyon Jan. 3.

"It's a lot better going into the break with a win than a loss," Phelps said. "We can leave everything out there and play one hard ball game and then take our break. It's nice to go out on a good feeling."

MCC 36 18 -- 54

Luverne 30 29 -- 59

MCC (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) Robinson 0-2-2-6, Schmidt 0-2-6-10, Everson 0-2-0-4, Schreiber 0-4-0-8, Van Meveren 0-2-0-4, Bose 0-9-4-22. Totals 0-21-12-54.

Luverne (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) Henke 0-2-4-8, Snyder 0-0-1-1, K. Sawtelle 0-0-1-1, Robinson 3-6-1-22, Van Dyke 0-1-0-2, Herman 1-1-0-5, Heitkamp 0-2-2-6, Raddle 1-2-2-9, C. Sawtelle 0-1-3-5. Totals 5-15-14-59.

SSC 45, Ellsworth 27

ELLSWORTH -- The Ellsworth Panthers girls' basketball team had a 21-17 lead early in the second half, but couldn't hold on as the Quasars scored 30 points in the final frame to remain unbeaten in Red Rock Conference play.

With the victory, the Quasars improve to 5-0 in the conference and 7-1 overall, while the loss drops the Panthers to 2-3 in the conference and 4-4 overall.

Adri Rasche posted a double-double of 16 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Quasars. Breanna Rients added 10 points and four assists, while Brooke DeWall had six points and five assists. Erika Post posted four points and six rebounds for the Quasars.

Brooke Kix had 13 points to lead the Panthers. Brooke Kramer added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Quasars will participate in the Cedar Mountain/Comfrey tournament Thursday and Friday, while the Panthers are off until Jan. 3 when they face the Round Lake-Brewster Raiders.

SSC 15 30 -- 45

Ellsworth 15 12 -- 27

Iowa Boys Rock Valley 66, G-LR 56

ROCK VALLEY, Iowa -- The Mustangs couldn't find that extra push to get past the Rockets Monday evening in a Siouxland Conference tilt.

Mack Vandekamp led the Mustangs with 20 points, followed by Alex Hopp with 11 points. Trev Fiedler added nine points, seven assists and three steals for the Mustangs (5-2).

Jordan Dykstra led the Rockets (8-0) with a game-high 21 points.

The Mustangs host the MOC-Floyd Valley Dutchmen Friday night.

G-LR 26 30 -- 56

Rock Valley 34 32 -- 66