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Section 3AA south girls basketball: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton surges in second half

WINDOM -- Sinking 17-of-21 free throws in the game, including 13-of-14 in the second half, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers overcame a 31-22 halftime deficit and defeated Martin County West 62-53 Monday in a Section 3AA South girls basketball se...

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DOUG WOLTER/DAILY GLOBE Tracy-Milroy-Balaton sophomore Kaylee Kirk (center) drives against three Martin County West players during Monday's Section 3AA girls basketball game in Windom. Kirk scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half as the Panthers prevailed.

WINDOM - Sinking 17-of-21 free throws in the game, including 13-of-14 in the second half, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers overcame a 31-22 halftime deficit and defeated Martin County West 62-53 Monday in a Section 3AA South girls basketball semifinal.
Kaylee Kirk, who got into foul trouble in the first half, scored 17 of her game-high 23 points after intermission as the Panthers - seeded No. 2 in the southern bracket - advanced to face top-seeded Pipestone Area Friday at 7 p.m. in Windom for the south title.
T-M-B outscored Martin County West 40-22 after intermission.
“Made up for the first half, I think,” T-M-B head coach Derek Ashbaugh said. “We talked about playing more defense and having more energy in the second half.”
T-M-B’s Sara Stoneberg got the half started off right with a 3-point shot, then Evy Dolan drained a bank shot on the team’s next possession. At 3:35 a Gabbie Gervais score underneath made it 49-42, and a Kirk bank shot at 3:05 upped the margin to 51-42.
Martin County West was unable to get an answering run.
With time running out, T-M-B’s Sydney Lanoue made two free throws to make the score 54-46 in T-M-B’s favor. The Mavericks got to within six on a shot at the perimeter from Whitney Smith, but they could get no closer, Kirk made five free throws in the final 1:20 to keep her team well out in front.
Kirk, a 5-3 sophomore guard, made 9-of-11 free throws in the game, and her nifty ballhandling and passing was instrumental in the outcome. Stoneberg finished with 12 points and Dolan had 10.
Reilly Geistfeld, a senior forward, led Martin County West with 20 points. Smith had 12.
The victory moves T-M-B to 24-3 on the 2015-16 season. Martin County West finishes at 18-6.
Ashbaugh agreed that the next game for the Panthers will be another stern test.
“Pipestone’s the No. 1 seed for a reason. We’re going to have our hands full. I hope we’re up to the challenge,” he said.
T-M-B 22 62
MC West 31 53

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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Outstanding outside shooting helped the Eagles beat Worthington in Worthington, 82-68