Big South Showcase: Marshall edges SWC in overtime

BY LES KNUTSON The Globe WORTHINGTON -- In an overtime thriller, the Class AAA Marshall Tigers edged Class A Southwest Minnesota Christian by a final score of 83-79 in the sixth of seven high school girls' basketball games played Saturday as part...

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Southwest Minnesota Christian player Hannah Nerem (35) makes a jump shot in Big South Conference Crossover Classic action against Marshall High School. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)



The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- In an overtime thriller, the Class AAA Marshall Tigers edged Class A Southwest Minnesota Christian by a final score of 83-79 in the sixth of seven high school girls’ basketball games played Saturday as part of the Big South Conference Crossover Classic.

St. James, Waseca, Luverne, Blue Earth Area, New Ulm and Worthington were the other six teams which won games in the early-season showdown, which pitted teams from the east division against opponents from the west division. With seven teams in the west and just six in the east, an extra team was needed to complete the seven-game challenge.


Southwest Christian, which is a perennial power in the 11-team Red Rock Conference, was selected to tangle against Marshall in a clash between two programs who year after year are contenders for league championships.

Marshall 83, SW Christian 79 (OT) In a contest which featured 12 lead changes and seven tied scores -- including a 72-72 deadlock at the end of regulation -- Marshall prevailed in the extra four minutes by outscoring the Eagles 11-4 over the first 3:43 of the overtime.

Southwest Christian senior forward Brooklyn DeKam tied the game by sinking three straight free throws with five seconds remaining in regulation, extending the well-played game. DeKam made 10-of-14 free throws and finished with a team-high 27 points, along with nine rebounds, for the Eagles who once owned an 11-point lead. Southwest led 39-26 early in the second half.

The Tigers, however, sparked by five second-half three-pointers by 5-3 junior guard Kaia Sueker rallied and eventually held a 67-62 advantage, following a pair of consecutive Eagle turnovers,with 1:50 left. The Eagles responded and DeKam, after being fouled on a three-point shot attempt, sent the game to overtime with her accuracy at the line.

Jordyn Hilgemann, a 5-8 freshman forward, scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Tigers, while Sueker rifled in 24 points before fouling out early in the overtime. Lenei Estrada, a 5-5 sophomore guard, finished with 15 points (11-of-17 at the line) and six assists for Marshall, which won its opening game of the new season.

Hannah Nerem, a 5-10 junior, played a strong inside game for the Eagles, finishing with a double-double (18 rebounds, 15 points) and Jazlynn Prins, a 5-8 sophomore guard, drilled a trio of three-pointers among her 16 points.

The loss was SWC’s first this season after opening with a 57-45 victory over Hills-Beaver Creek at Hills on Friday night.

SW Christian       36  72  79                                                                                                                                                                             


Marshall                   28  72  83

Luverne 63, Fairmont 55 A swarming team defensive effort and an 8-0 run to end the first half were a couple of keys to Luverne’s eight-point win in a battle of the Cardinals.

A steal and layup by Gabi Ferrell gave LHS a 23-22 edge in the closing minutes of the first half and Luverne held the lead the rest of the game -- once by as much as 13 points, 40-27, with 13:34 to play in the second half.

Fairmont, which had a noticeable size advantage, rallied and sliced the gap to three (52-49 with 3:40 to go), but Luverne was able to pull away as Ferrell and Sierra Schmuck each sank back-to-back free throws and Schmuck converted a layup after a steal and an assist pass from Joci Oye, giving the Cardinals a 58-49 lead with 2:30 left. A driving layup by Mallory Thorson and a trio of free throws by Jadyn Anderson helped preserve the lead.

Schmuck, a 5-7 senior point guard, played a stellar all-around game for LHS, including scoring a game-high 19 points. Ferrell and Mackenzie Petersen finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively, for Luverne which improves to 3-0 for the season.

Fairmont opened up a 9-3 lead early in game, but Luverne -- which had only five fouls and just five turnovers in the entire first half -- took a six-point advantage into intermission as six players scored for LHS in those first 18 minutes.  In the second half, a three-pointer by  Oye and a three-point play by Schmuck capped a 20-5 Luverne run which changed a 20-22 deficit into its 40-27 lead.

Fairmont   22 55                                                                                                                                                                                 

Luverne    28 63


Waseca 70, Pipestone Area 39 Capitalizing on turnovers and missed shots by the Arrows, Waseca dominated the early minutes of the day’s second game with a 15-0 run and once --- midway through the second half -- held a 34-point lead.

Madison Gehloff, a 5-10 junior forward, was impressive for the Bluejays (3-1) as she scored 17 points, along with nine rebounds, six steals and three assists.

Mandi Miller, a 5-3 junior guard, came off the bench and led Pipestone Area in scoring with 11 points, including a pair of three-pointers. She also had four rebounds and two steals for the Arrows, who are 1-1 on the season.

Zoe Velde had a team-leading six rebounds for PA, while MacKenzie Haroldson, Kaitlyn Draper and Miranda Hulstein each claimed five rebounds. Haroldson contributed three steals and Shelby Bloemendaal scored six points.

The Arrows shot just 24 percent from the field (14-of-58) and had 26 turnovers.

Windom Area 50, St. James 38 In the day’s first game, Windom Area's Maurissa Isaacs scored a game-high 20 points to help her team beat St. James. Renata Hernandez led the Saints with 12 points.

Freshman post Delaney Smith scored nine points and pulled down 14 rebounds for Windom Area. Isaacs contributed six rebounds and sophomore post Autumn Hauge scored seven points for Windom.

St. James  20  38                                                                                                                                                                          

Windom   22  50

New Ulm 72, JCC 65 New Ulm’s Joey Batt, a quick-driving 5-6 junior guard, took control of the contest in the closing minutes offsetting a strong offensive performance by Jackson County Central.

Batt scored 26 of her day-high 37 points in the second half as the Eagles took the lead late and held off the Huskies by making free throws down the stretch. Batt, who scored 30 points for New Ulm in an earlier 74-36 victory over Sibley East, was 11-of-13 at the line Saturday.

A trio of five-foot-six guards -- senior Lauren Murphy (18 points),  junior Melissa Brandt (13) and sophomore Alaina Wolff (11) -- combined for 42 of JCC’s points, while both Murphy and Brandt also each did a nice job of rebounding for the Huskies, who led most of the game.

JCC (1-2) was 28-of-44 at the free throw line for 64 percent and the Huskies took a seven-point lead into intermission after holding to Batt to 11 first-half points.

JCC             37 65                                                                                                                                                                                                       

New Ulm  30 72


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