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Fulda pulls away from H-BC, claims 66-42 victory

WORTHINGTON -- Fulda's Courtney Hulstein and Sam Raddle buried back-to-back three-pointers in the final 32 seconds of the first half Saturday afternoon, lifting the Raiders to a 25-16 halftime lead in their 66-42 victory over Hills-Beaver Creek in a Section 3A South girls' basketball quarterfinal round matchup.

Second-seeded Fulda (17-9) advances to the semifinals Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Luverne, where the Raiders will play third-seeded Southwest Star Concept. Tenth-seeded H-BC ends the season with a 6-19 record.

"I liked how we played today, as we defended well and attacked the basket," Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug said afterwards. "We started to make more shots in the second half and had good offensive balance with six players scoring between nine and 12 points."

H-BC's Ashley Bucher (15 points) and Brittany Helgeson (11 rebounds, eight points) each scored in the paint to give the Patriots an early 4-0 lead at the 16:11 mark of the first half.

Fulda came back and took a 5-4 lead with 14:33 left when Raddle (10 points, eight assists) scored inside and found Amy Paulzine (10 points, 10 rebounds, four steals) for a basket on an inbounds play, and Brooke Kuehne sank a free throw to spark the Raiders.

Bucher made a free throw with 13:46 left to tie it at 5, and after Fulda's Brittany Hulstein's putback bucket 19 seconds later, H-BC's Jayme Plimpton later drove down the lane for a basket to make it 7-7 with 9:50 left.

However, the Raiders outscored the Patriots 10-2 over the next five minutes to build a 17-9 lead with 4:43 remaining.

Brittany Hulstein (11 points) made two free throws and a layup off a steal and assist by Lane Gehl (10 points), while Courtney Hulstein (12 points) fired in a pair of three-pointers to highlight that Fulda surge.

H-BC sliced the gap to 19-16 with 1:32 to go, as Jocelyn Bucher meshed a 17-footer from the right wing, Ashley Bucher came up with a steal and layup, and Plimpton knocked down two foul shots to fuel the Patriots.

Fulda, though, regained control when Courtney Hulstein drilled a left-wing three-pointer with 32 seconds left, and Raddle connected from behind the arc in the left corner with seven seconds left to give the Raiders a 25-16 halftime advantage.

"That was the turning point of the game right there," H-BC head coach Jason Blosmo said. "Fulda's confidence increased in the second half and they started to pull away, but we played hard and had some nice moments throughout the game."

Helgeson nailed a three-pointer from the right wing just 12 seconds into the second half, but Fulda went on a 12-2 run over a five-minute stretch to build a 37-21 bulge with 12:47 to go.

Raddle went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in that span, while Paulzine was 2-for-4 from the stripe and scored in the paint before Brittany Hulstein hit a trey from the right corner to trigger the Raiders.

Ashley Bucher, Helgeson and Jocelyn Bucher each scored to help pull H-BC within 11 (38-27) with 11:23 left, but Fulda's Mari Holinka (12 rebounds, nine points) made two straight baskets, and Courtney Hulstein netted her fourth three-pointer of the game to extend the Raiders' lead to 45-28 at the 9:29 mark.

Gehl then made it a 22-point spread when she swished a three-pointer in the left corner and later drove to the basket and converted a three-point play to produce a 51-29 score with 7:35 left.

The margin was never closer than 20 points the rest of the game, as Fulda won the last seven minutes 15-13.

Natalie Stueven had made two free throws earlier in the half for H-BC, while Brooke Tilstra sank an 18-foot jumper, Kelsey McGuire scored in the lane, and Ashley Bucher scored six of her team-high 15 points in the final five-plus minutes for the Patriots.

H-BC 16 26 -- 42

Fulda 25 41 -- 66

H-BC (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): J. Bucher 0-3-1-7, Plimpton 0-1-3-5, Tilstra 0-1-1-3, A. Bucher 0-7-1-15, Helgeson 1-2-1-8, Stueven 0-0-2-2, McGuire 0-1-0-2. Totals: 1-15-9-42.

FHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): C. Hulstein 4-0-0-12, Raddle 1-1-5-10, Kuehne 0-0-1-1, A. Wilkening 1-0-0-3, B. Hulstein 1-3-2-11, Holinka 0-4-1-9, Gehl 1-2-3-10, Paulzine 0-4-2-10. Totals: 8-14-14-66.