Section 3A girls basketball: Wabasso outlasts H-BC

Aaron Hagen Daily Globe WORTHINGTON -- Hills-Beaver Creek wanted to be playing its best basketball at the end of the season. And after winning its final two regular-season games and then upsetting third-seeded Edgerton, the sixth-seeded Patriots ...

AARON HAGEN/DAILY GLOBE Hills-Beaver Creek’s Hattie Van Wyhe (51) shoots against Wabasso’s Morgan Frank (45) Friday in section girls basketball action.

Aaron Hagen
Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON - Hills-Beaver Creek wanted to be playing its best basketball at the end of the season.
And after winning its final two regular-season games and then upsetting third-seeded Edgerton, the sixth-seeded Patriots girls basketball team was doing just that.
However, their season ended Friday night at the hands of second-seeded Wabasso 63-49 in the Section 3A South semifinals.
“We talked about it all year that we want to be able to play our best basketball at the end of the year,” H-BC head coach Kale Wiertzema said. “Our last four games of the regular season and into the tournament, we definitely have been.”
In a sub-section dominated by Red Rock Conference teams, it will be the Tomahawk Conference Rabbits that advance.
“They are very familiar with each other,” Wabasso head coach Neil Dolan said. “When you play each other all year long, sometimes you get a feel for a team. I look at that as maybe an advantage for us. They don’t exactly know us that well. Every team in the world knows (Morgan) Frank, so they are going to try to take her out. The other kids have to step up and they have lately.”
The Rabbits will play top-seeded Southwest Christian at 6 p.m. Monday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall for the sub-section championship.
“It’s definitely a formidable challenge,” Dolan said. “Heron Lake did, Edgerton played them to overtime, so we feel like we have to weather the first five minutes with them. They are such a quick starter. If we can weather the first five minutes, we’ll be OK, I think. But they are a great No. 1 team.”
The Patriots hung right with the Rabbits (18-9) for most of the game Friday night.
“We played OK,” Wabasso head coach Neil Dolan said. “Hills-Beaver Creek, for a six seed, they were on a nice roll. You have to give them credit. They worked really hard. They played tireless defense in the middle. But our girls weathered the storm.”
Frank finished with 17 points to lead Wabasso, while Jocelyn Rothmeier had 15, Becky Franta had 12 and Kacie Rothmeier finished with 10 points.
For H-BC, eighth-grader Sidney Fick finished with a team-best 14 points. Sophomore Avery Van Roekel scored 13.
“The future looks pretty bright, but we are definitely going to miss these seniors,” Wiertzema said. “Their attitude and their encouragement, they are great role models for our younger girls.”
Early in the game, H-BC was answering every basket the Rabbits would make. Trailing 12-8, the Patriots went on an 8-0 run as Fick scored twice and Kelli Esselink added two more buckets.
“Coming in, we felt like this was a game we should win,” Wiertzema said. “Seeds don’t really matter when you get to the tournament. Our seniors have a lot of heart and they didn’t want to go down without a fight.”
The Rabbits answered with a pair of free throws and scored off a steal and layup, tying the game. The pressure proved to be a problem for the Patriots throughout the game as Wabasso was able to wreak havoc on the defensive end.
“Once we broke their pressure, we were fine in the first half offensively,” Wiertzema said. “Getting through their quickness was a battle for us. Once we got into our half-court offense, we could get good shots. They didn’t fall tonight as they have been the past few games, but we were shooting pretty well.”
Wabasso led 25-23 at the break, but never trailed in the second half. The Rabbits continued to push the lead, but H-BC was within striking range.
The Patriots were within seven points in the final eight minutes, but a 3 by Franta pushed the lead to 10. Wabasso was able to hold off H-BC in the final minutes to advance with the 14-point victory.
H-BC 23 49
Wabasso 25 63
HILLS-BEAVER CREEK (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) – M. Fick 2-1-0-8, Bork 0-0-2-2, S. Fick 0-7-0-14, Esselink 0-4-0-8, Van Roekel 0-5-3-13, Van Wyhe 0-1-2-4. Totals 2-18-7-49.
WABASSO (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) – J. Goblirsch 0-1-2-4, Wotschke 1-0-0-3, Franta 2-2-2-12, J. Rothmeier 3-3-0-15, K. Rothmeier 0-3-4-10, Benz 0-1-0-2, Frank 0-5-7-17. Totals 6-15-15-63.

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