WORTHINGTON -- Two games won’t make or break a basketball season, but the Minnesota West women’s and men’s teams believe they’ve got a better grasp of where they’re at and what they can do in 2021-22 after their Sanford Classic experience.

The Lady Jays and the Bluejays both lost a pair of Sanford Classic games last weekend in Worthington -- the Lady Jays falling to Northwestern JV 82-63 and Dordt JV 68-56, and the Bluejays losing to Northwestern JV 80-55 and to Dordt JV 80-78.

“Overall, I really think there were some positives,” said veteran West women’s coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka. “These were two pretty good teams to start with.”

Similarly, first-year men’s head coach Brian Stoebner saw some things he can work with.

“I think last night, we really showed we could beat somebody,” Stoebner said Sunday morning after the two-point Dordt loss. “It’s only been two games. A lot of growth will still be done.”

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The Lady Jays were still within 10 points of Northwestern heading into the fourth quarter of their Friday contest, but were outscored 23-14 down the stretch.

Tia Murray led Minnesota West with 18 points. Hunter Garcia had 12 points and four assists, Jadyn Lessman had 10 points, and Dannyn Peterson pulled down nine rebounds.

The locals were hurt by poor outside shooting.

In the Saturday game against Dordt JV, West held leads of 18-11 in the first quarter and 31-26 at halftime before being outscored 42-25 in the second half. Again, poor outside shooting hurt the Lady Jays. They were 1-for-10 from 3-point range.

Dordt switched to a zone defense in the third quarter, and Hayenga-Hostikka said her team didn’t handle it well.

Madison Huisman, a Worthington High School grad, led West in scoring with 15 points. MacKensie Post, who graduated from George-Little Rock, finished with 11 points. Peterson had six rebounds, but Dordt out-rebounded the hosts 56-38.

“That was the story, rebounding and poor outside shooting,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “We hustled. We did a good job on defense. We ran the floor well at times.”

For the Lady Jays to be successful this year, Hayenga-Hostikka explained, “I think we have to be up-tempo. We have to push the ball. We have to use our depth. We have to hit our outside shots when teams are going to pack it in.”

The Bluejay men got 21 points from Tyvorous Lawton and Amos Alford against Northwestern JV, but they were held to just 27 percent shooting from the field and were just 4-for-27 from beyond the arc. Northwestern also held a 54-38 rebounding advantage.

Ryan VandeHaar had 15 points, Keyton Moser added 13 points and Grant Veenstra 11 to pace Northwestern.

The Dordt game went down to the wire. Minnesota West had the ball and a chance to win but a 3-point try was missed with about five seconds remaining.

Second-year player CJ Ligon had 16 points for West in Saturday’s game. Alford had 14, Koor Kuol 13, Jabril Muktar 12, and Harris-Lake Park grad Brody Sohn 11.

The Bluejays shot better against Dordt, hitting 43.2 percent of their field goals and winning the rebounding war 48-41.

Tyson DeBoer had 25 points for Dordt.

Stoebner, who was an assistant coach for Minnesota West for three years before taking over for former head coach Taylor Lupton this season, says his Jays possess some good shooters and they hope to win by playing solid defense and forcing opponents to take tough shots.

“We have some big guys (including 7-footer Arjun Bassi),” Stoebner said. “The group right now, they’re really trying to meet each other. And I started late; it wasn’t until October. My biggest thing is if we go out there and compete, we’re going to be there every single night.”

Toughness is the key.

“We didn’t play very good as a team on Friday. We could have come out (on Saturday) and not been very good. We could’ve just said, ‘Naw,’ and just went home. The guys battled their butts off,” Stoebner recalled.

Minnesota West’s next action is Wednesday at Iowa Central. The Lady Jays play their game at 5 p.m. and the men follow at 7 p.m.