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H-BC outscores Luverne in girls basketball opener

Hills Beaver Creek vs Luverne S 2
Luverne High School's Brooklynn Ver Steeg (3) drives in for a shot against Hills-Beaver Creek Friday night. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

LUVERNE -- Whitney Elbers could see the pre-game jitters in her team.

And that was to be expected from Elbers and Hills-Beaver Creek in Friday’s season-opening game against Luverne.

“It started off really slow at the beginning. But we pushed through and finished at the end,” said Elbers, a senior for H-BC. “I think it was just pre-game jitters. We just had to calm down.”

Behind a dominant second half from Elbers, the Patriots broke away from a close game to earn a 61-32 victory.

The Patriots are coming off a 25-1 season, but are still looking to find their place this year.

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“We do have a younger team. I think we all need to step up and know our roles and know what we need to get done,” Elbers said. “I think we can be pretty good if we keep working.”

The second half on Friday was a step in the right direction.

“Last year we knew who we were as a team,” H-BC head coach Kale Wiertzema said. “This year, it’s different. We have an opportunity to grow from the beginning of the year much more than we did last year. Last year, we knew where we were at and we were going to stay pretty steady. This year we have a lot of room for growth.”

Elbers is expected to be a big factor in this year’s success. The 6-4 post finished with 20 points -- including 18 in the second half -- and collected 12 rebounds. Junior Taryn Rauk added 16 for the Pats.

“We talked about that in the locker room, last year we had the confident scorers in Sidney Fick and Grace Bundesen, who we knew what we were going to get out of them every single night,” Wiertzema said. “This year it’s going to be a little different. It’s going to be someone different every single night. That’s a good thing.”

On the opposite side, Luverne is experiencing a youth movement.

“We have two seniors, two juniors, five sophomores and the rest are all freshmen. Out of 21, we have 11 or 12 that are freshmen. The freshman class, they like to play. They are getting their chance earlier than they thought they would,” LHS head coach TJ Newgard said. “Hills is a good team, they are going to be a good team in that section, so it’s not like we lost to a team that’s not going to win a lot of basketball games. We’re going to use this as a meter and work on the things we didn’t do very well and try to build on the things that we did well and go from there, and hopefully get better as the year goes on.”

H-BC led 17-13 at halftime and the game remained close (33-28) midway through the second. But the Patriots went on a 16-0 run to put the game away.

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“We were taking better shots,” Elbers said. “We weren’t just shooting right away. We took better reversals and more reversals and waited for a great shot, not a good shot.”

Brooklynn Ver Steeg led the Cardinals with 16 points.

Hills-Beaver Creek 17 61

Luverne 14 32

Hills Beaver Creek vs Luverne S 1
Hills-Beaver Creek girls basketball player Tess Van Maanen (35) coils for a shot against Luverne's Elise Ferrell (22). (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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