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College basketball: Lady Jays jab Vermilion; men cold in 75-59 loss

CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Lady Jays forward Kristin Andersen (40) shoots through traffic during the first half of Friday’s womens college basketball game in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON — Minnesota West split a college basketball doubleheader Friday night at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington. The Lady Jays defeated Vermilion 88-62 in the first game and the Ironmen beat West 75-59 in the men’s game.

With the win, the Lady Jays improved to 5-2 and host Mesabi Range this afternoon at 1 p.m. The men dropped to 4-3 overall and play in the second game of today’s doubleheader against Mesabi Range.

Lady Jays 88, Vermillion 62

Basketball coaches tend to preach two things: defense and free throws. There are clear reasons why. They win games.

The Minnesota West Lady Jays basketball team earned its 88-62 win over Vermilion with the help of an impressive brand of both. While Lady Jays coach Mike Fury didn’t think his team played as impressively as the score indicated, the game had certainly gotten out of hand by night’s end.

“It seems like at times we really struggled. But they got into foul trouble and we were able to take advantage of that,” Fury said. “I didn’t think we played really smooth but it was a good win for us. We did some good things.”

The Lady Jays used an outside-inside game through the first half, hitting six three-pointers before the break to build a lead of as many as 15 points. Bridget Kramer, Lydia Kemper, Tiffany Gehl, Lindsey Drooger and Kristen Andersen each sank long range shots early while Andersen and Gehl each worked the inside later on to push the lead.

The Lady Jays shot a nearly automatic 14-of-16 from the charity stripe in the first half.

Minnesota West led 50-37 early after halftime, using a suffocating defensive presence that collected 12 team steals to keep Vermilion at bay until they pulled back with a run of their own, pushing the issue to a nine point game at its closest. In both halves, Vermilion quickly went into the double bonus.

“We got some pressure on them and did pretty well on the boards too,” Fury said. “In the first half, we hit some of those threes but were able to take advantage of a few of those mismatches inside. We took advantage of it, got to the free throw line a few times and got there a lot. We have to shoot them well, and we did.”

The Lady Jays shot 36-of-47 from the free throw line overall to help blow open the game. Gehl led the Lady Jays with 26 points on the night. Andersen and Kemper each scored 16 and Drooger added 15.

After the game, Gehl was pleased with her team’s win. The team hopes to continue to improve as it moves on.

“In the first half tonight I felt like we were playing to their level,” Gehl said. “We weren’t able to do the fast paced game we like to do but, in the second half, we really picked it up. It was a good win. It’s always good to play at home.”

Vermilion 33 62

Lady Jays 44 88

Vermillion (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) McDonald 1-5-3-14, Guervara 0-4-4-12, Brooks 0-3-5-11, Linnell 0-4-1-9, Birmingham 0-1-2-4, Thompson 1-1-1-4, Wright 1-1-0-3, Zeitler 0-1-1-3, Murphy 0-1-0-2. Totals 4-21-16-62.

Lady Jays (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Gehl 7-1-11-26, Kemper 2-5-4-16, Andersen 1-3-9-16, Drooger 1-3-8-15, Kramer 1-2-2-7, Hermeling 0-1-2-4, Tish 0-2-0-4. Totals 6-23-36-88.

Vermilion 75, Bluejays 59

A late first half surge by Vermilion was too hard to recover as West’s mens basketball team dropped the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader. The Ironmen posed a successful fast-paced plan that countered a slow and balanced style West tried for. It created issues for the Bluejays all night as shots were hard to come by.

“We did not shoot it very well tonight. We had some opportunities though,” Bluejays coach Justin Heckenlaible said. “As poorly as we shot, we did have a chance to win it. We just need to share the ball more and trust each other more.”

Both teams struggled from the field in the first half, a period that saw three lead changes and a pair of ties. Vermilion settled the pace as West shot just 19 percent from the field in the opening half and struggled with a 35-20 hole to dig out of at halftime. Shooting woes for the blue-and-white continued as the game progressed.

The Ironmen led by as many as 16 points in the second half before the Jays finally put together a run they needed.

Jordan Thomas dispatched a long range jumper to cut the game to a 40-32 spread just inside 17:00 to go. Cody Harris sank a pair of shots for the Jays as the run went on. Harris’ shots brought West within six points at two times in the homestretch but Vermilion found answers. Three-pointers from both Q. McFadden and Derek Meager aided the Ironmen in building a 12 point lead again at 53-41 with less than 12 minutes to go. Meager also put down a pair of two-handed dunks in the second half for the Ironmen.

Minnesota West fell to an even 3-3 overall with their loss while Vermillion improved to 5-1. Thomas scored 22 points for West and Harris chipped in 12. Vermillion had three players in double figures with Meager scoring 24, Jerrod Briscoe scoring 17 and Devonta Brooks scoring 14.

Going into this afternoon’s game against Mesabi, one thing is for sure, Heckenlaible said:

“We’re going to have to shoot it a lot better.”

Vermillion 35 75

Minnesota West 20 59

Vermillion (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) Meager 2-10-2-24, Briscoe 0-7-3-17, Brooks 0-5-4-14, Lucas 1-1-4-7, Wells 0-3-0-6, Roddy 0-2-0-4, Crawford 1-1-0-3. Totals 4-29-13-75.

Bluejays (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) Thomas 4-6-6-22, Harris 1-5-1-12, Seitzinger 0-3-2-8, Fischer 0-3-0-6, Buysee 1-2-0-5, Hodges 0-2-0-4, Bennett 0-0-2-2. Totals 6-21-11-59.

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson is the Daily Globe sports writer. He hails from southwest Iowa and served as sports editor at the Audubon County Advocate Journal there for 2 ½ years before moving to Worthington in October 2013. Caleb trys to enjoy life and everybody that he meets. He enjoys music, playing guitar and drums, and is an avid sports fan. 
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