Girls basketball: Pipestone Area wins 16th

WORTHINGTON -- Pipestone Area's ability to control the glass made a world of difference Friday.The Arrows improved to 16-1 on the season after a game that was close throughout, but ended in a 63-56 Big South Conference victory over Worthington. T...

2292508+WHS Arrows Girls bb Web.jpg
TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE Worthington Trojans senior Emma Gerber (24) slips past Pipestone Arrows defenders to make a layup Friday night.


WORTHINGTON - Pipestone Area’s ability to control the glass made a world of difference Friday.
The Arrows improved to 16-1 on the season after a game that was close throughout, but ended in a 63-56 Big South Conference victory over Worthington. The most notable difference: Pipestone’s 49-36 edge in the rebounding department.
“Rebounding is very important,” said Arrows’ 6-2 junior center Alexis Evans, who finished with a game-high 13 boards. “If we don’t get a body on someone, they’re going to get the ball and score.”
Worthington coach Eric Lindner agreed.
“The biggest thing that stuck out to me was our lack of rebounding,” he said. “There’s really no excuse for it. We have a tall team so we just need to get in there and mix it up.”
In fact, an offensive board by the Arrows proved to be the pivotal moment in the game. The Trojans finished the first half on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 27-all going into the break. That run continued during the first four minutes of the second with Worthington building a 31-27 lead. With 15:08, Evans went to the free throw line in an attempt to complete an old-fashioned three-point play.
Her shot was off the mark, but Shelby Bloemendaal got into the lane, grabbed the rebound and put it back to tie it up at 31-31. That started a 16-3 surge that put the Arrows on top 43-34 with 8:33 to play. Evans and Zoe Velde combined for 11 of those points.
“When we were behind we really emphasized working hard on defense, stopping them and finishing on the other end,” Evans said. “(In the second half) we switched some things up and tried to get it into the post. When they were fronting me, my teammates did a nice job of getting that lob pass down to me.”
The home team wasn’t ready to go away. Emma Gerber, who had 10 points and eight rebounds, left the game midway through the second half with an apparent head injury. Emma Thuringer played a big role in picking up the slack.
The sophomore guard completed a three-point play to cut the Arrow lead to 45-42 with 7:15 to play, finishing off an 8-2 Trojan swing. Rachel Skyberg and Evans answered with buckets on back-to-back Pipestone Area possessions to push its lead back to seven at 49-42.
“That hurt, but the other kids have enough reps they should be able to step in,” Lindner said of Gerber’s injury. “For us to improve we need to value our possessions better and, when they’re in a zone, find a way to score. We need somebody that can step up and be that consistent outside shooter. Right now our defense is keeping us in games but our offense just isn’t doing enough.”
From there the Trojans were playing catch-up. It became a game of free throws and the Arrows weren’t missing many. Ahmitara Alwal made a nice play with a putback and the and-one, but by then it was already a nine-point Pipestone lead.
The first half was tight early with Anneke Weg’s three-point play for Worthington making it an 11-11 ballgame. Bloemendaal answered with a triple, but after Emily Shaffer buried a trey on the other end, the Trojans were still within two.
Five quick points by Mackenzie Haroldson - including a 3-pointer - put the Arrows on top 27-20. But a three-point play for Allie Bruns along with buckets for Gerber and Thuringer tied the game going into halftime. It appeared the Trojans had all the momentum.
“We really had trouble talking in the first half,” Evans said. “At halftime we just said we had to talk more and play defense. We did that and got into a game where we were both shooting free throws. Free throws can win a game for you and that’s what we did tonight.”
Evans led the Arrows with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Skyberg also scored 17 with six boards while Velde put 12 on the board and grabbed seven caroms. Kirsten Houg also had seven rebounds for Pipestone.
Thuringer finished with 12 points and five rebounds to lead the Trojans. Gerber ended with 10 and eight despite leaving early. Alwal also checked in with 10 points.
Pipestone Area (16-1 overall, 9-1 Big South) travels to Jackson County Central on Tuesday. Worthington (10-8 overall, 5-3 Big South) will try to snap its current three-game skid on Monday when it travels to Luverne.
“We’re just playing good teams,” Lindner said. “We’re cutting our teeth and understanding that we can be there with these teams. We just need to get something clicking with our offense, because I think our defense is pretty good.”
Pipestone 27 63
Worthington 27 56
PIPESTONE AREA (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) - Skyberg 1-3-8-17, Houg 0-0-1-1, Bloemendaal 1-2-0-7, Velde 1-2-5-12, Haroldson 1-1-4-9, Evans 0-6-5-17. Totals 4-14-22-63.
WORTHINGTON (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) - Alwal 1-1-5-10, Thuringer 0-4-4-12, Bruns 0-1-4-6, Gerber 0-4-2-10, Heidebrink 0-1-1-3, Weg 0-1-1-3, Mulder 0-0-2-2, Shaffer 1-3-0-9. Totals 2-15-20-56.

What To Read Next
ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota West women’s basketball team eased to victory over host St. Cloud Tech on Saturday, 93-40. But it was St. Cloud Tech getting the better of the West men’s team, 84-64.
WORTHINGTON -- Morris-Benson started well in both games, sweeping the Worthington Trojans girls and boys hockey teams on Saturday.
The Worthington Trojans earned their highest ever place at a Minnesota Class A True Team meet with a score of 174.525. Big Lake won the meet with a score of 176.2.
Friday night high school sports roundup: