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Lady Jays, Bluejays split doubleheader against Northland

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Lexi Ramsey (30) of Minnesota West steals the ball from Northland Friday night. She took it to the hoop for two points. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- The Lady Jays turned the second half into a physical battle, but lost in the end. The Bluejays led throughout including the end, but it was closer than it should have been.

In Friday night’s college basketball doubleheader at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington, the end result was a 61-54 loss for the women’s team and a 62-59 win for the men against visiting Northland. The women fell to 1-6 on the season and the men improved to 4-1.

Northland 61, Lady Jays 54

This 2019-20 women’s basketball campaign is not looking like a ballet, but more like a mud fight for the Lady Jays. Head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka’s squad continues to struggle shooting the ball. Offensive flow was herky-jerky as well on Friday.

“We’ve got a lot of things we still gotta figure out. We just aren’t on the same page,” said Hayenga-Hostikka after the game. “We’re not executing like we should. I’m not disappointed with the effort. It’s just that we don’t listen very well, we don’t adjust very well at all -- yet.”

Despite that, the Jays emerged from a 38-24 halftime deficit Friday playing aggressively and throwing the Pioneers off their game a bit. They scored the first 11 points of the half to get within 38-35.

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Northland, however, managed to stay in front throughout.

West connected on just nine of 40 shots in the first half for 23 percent, finishing with 27 percent accuracy for the game.

Carly Mekash led the winners with 25 points, and teammate Janie Wunderlich scored 14 points.

For Minnesota West, Lexie Ramsey finished with 17 points, but no other Jay reached double figures. Freshman Evelyn Othow had seven points to go along with 10 rebounds, and another Worthington High School grad, sophomore Emily Shaffer, finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

Northland 21 38 44 61

Lady Jays 10 24 39 54

NORTHLAND (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Skyberg 0-1-2-4, Wunderlich 0-6-2-14, Duaden 0-1-1-3, Greene 0-0-2-2, Mekash 0-10-5-25, Waling 1-2-1-8, Steer 1-1-0-5. Totals 2-21-13-61.

LADY JAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Othow 0-3-1-7, Cadassou 0-0-1-1, Brandt 0-3-2-8, Ramsey 3-1-6-17, Shaffer 1-2-1-8, Bernazeau 0-1-0-2, Silke 1-0-0-3, Goetzinger 0-4-0-8. Totals 5-14-11-54.

Bluejays 62, Northland 59

Depth helped the Bluejays keep Northland well at bay over the first 39 minutes. One of the keys to victory was 6-8 sophomore Emmanuel Akot, who has taken a few games to look like his old self.

Akot had six first-half points to help West lead 23-17 at the half, but more importantly his eight rebounds produced a 30-16 edge in that department going into halftime. He finished the game with eight points and 11 rebounds, plus three blocks.

Foot and knee injuries, and some personal issues, held Akot back in November. But he’s feeling much better now.

“I’ve had some things going on in my head,” said the second-year Bluejay after Friday’s contest. “Lately I’ve just been more confident in my game. My teammates have been on my side, with my foot injury and things. My teammates have been a big help to me. They’re going to be a big help the rest of the way.”

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Minnesota West led Northland by 11 points under the six-minute mark of the second half on Friday, and by 10 with 3:00 to go. But with 30 seconds remaining, the lead was cut to 59-57. The Pioneers were never able to pull even, however.

“West head coach Taylor Lupton was pleased with the overall effort.

“We rebounded the ball well,” he said. “We forced them to drive and make shots. Akot did a real good job down low on the help side.”

Chris Morales led the Bluejays with 15 points, and Xavier Dixon scored 10. Christophe Bwanya had four assists and Morales had three. Elijah Williams led the team with 13 rebounds to help the Jays to a 53-36 advantage there.

Northland 17 59

Bluejays 23 62

NORTHLAND (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Gubara 2-6-0-18, Nasir 0-3-2-8, Altene 1-3-0-9, Lee 2-0-0-6, Garcia 2-3-2-14, Blackstone 0-0-2-2, Placide 0-1-0-2. Totals 7-16-6-59.

BLUEJAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Morales 2-2-5-15, Cheek 1-1-0-5, Bwanya 0-2-0-4, Williams 0-4-1-9, Akot 0-4-0-8, Dixon 2-2-0-10, Robinson 1-0-2-5, Stoudemire 0-2-0-4, Hearon 0-0-2-2. Totals 6-17-10-62.

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Minnesota West's Alanna Goetzinger (54) fights for the ball Friday against Northland defenders Carly Mekash (41) and Macy Skyberg (4). (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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