West women, men hit their sweet spots
Saturday was a good day for Minnesota West basketball. After the Lady Jays were soundly defeated 83-40 Friday by Dordt JV, they rolled to an 81-56 victory over Mesabi Range at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington. Soon after, the Bluejay men, who soundly defeated Vermilion 99-68 on Friday, withstood a furious comeback by Mesabi for a 93-85 win.
WORTHINGTON -- Saturday was a good day for Minnesota West basketball.
After the Lady Jays were soundly defeated 83-40 Friday by Dordt JV, they rolled to an 81-56 victory over Mesabi Range at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington. Soon after, the Bluejay men, who soundly defeated Vermilion 99-68 on Friday, withstood a furious comeback by Mesabi for a 93-85 win.
For the women, it was their first MCAC contest of the season and their second win in a row. After losing their first five games, they feel ready for the upcoming Southern Division campaign. The men, meanwhile, are honing in on their style.
Lady Jays 81, Mesabi Range 56
The Jays did many things well against the Norse. They outrebounded them 51-36. They committed only 17 turnovers to Mesabi’s 29. And after shooting an embarrassing 24 percent from the field against Dordt, they made 43 percent on Saturday.
They also enjoyed great balance. Point guard MacKensie Post led the Lady Jays with 16 points. Jadyn Lessman scored 13 and Jayden Zebe had 11. Madisyn Huisman and Kassidy Weeldreyer each added nine points, and Hunter Garcia and Dannyn Peterson both had eight. Weeldreyer and Peterson each had 10 rebounds for the winners.
As a team, West had 25 assists. Lessman, alone, had six.
“Twenty-five assists. We haven’t been there at all,” said head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka. “I thought we ran the floor, especially in the second half. We ran the floor hard. Got some easy buckets, which helps us. I just thought we did a very good job of ball movement -- got the ball inside.”
Huisman agreed that it was a thorough performance.
“We played good defense, we passed the ball well. We saw the open cutters,” she said.
Mesabi Range (1-4) stayed close in the first half, trailing just 39-35 at intermission. West outscored the Norse 22-10 in the third quarter, scoring 11 of the first 13 points.
Mesabi Range 16 35 45 56
Lady Jays 18 39 61 81
MESABI RANGE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Taylor 0-0-3-3, Pettis 1-7-5-22, Christofferson 0-1-0-2, Sainio 0-3-4-10, Howard-Reynilds 0-3-1-7, Monger 3-0-3-12. Totals 4-14-16-56.
LADY JAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Lessman 1-4-2-13, Breske 0-3-0-6, Peterson 0-1-6-8, Post 0-8-0-16, Huisman 0-4-1-9, Zebe 0-5-1-11, Garcia 0-3-2-8, Werdel 0-0-1-1, Weeldreyer 0-4-1-9. Totals 1-32-14-81.
Bluejays 93, Mesabi Range 85
Minnesota West’s men led the Norsemen 51-25 at halftime and seemed on the verge of a blowout. But Mesabi Range fought back furiously to make the score close. Hitting a flurry of 3-point shots, the Norse came within 10 points, 72-62, with a Ziaire Davis 3-pointer with 7:20 remaining. At 5:37 the score was 74-67.
To their credit, the Bluejays held their composure.
“They hit 12 3’s in the second half, and it’s because we came out a little lackadaisical,” admitted MW head coach Brian Stoebner. “Give credit to our guys. They stuck together, and we hit our free throws, too.”
Amos Alford led West with 24 points and Tyvorus Lawton contributed 23. CJ Ligon scored 17 and Sam Paulson scored 13.
Paulson had eight rebounds as West out-boarded Mesabi 40-35. He also had four assists.
The Jays (3-5) like to run. They are comfortable going at a fast pace, letting their athleticism lead the way. Rather than play a half-court game when Mesabi made its second-half run, the locals maintained their hard-charging ways and it paid off.
“If we get an opportunity to get out and run, that’s what we’re gonna do. And that’s how we score a lot of our points,” said Stoebner. “When we play together and we play for each other, we’re a pretty darn good team. But we’ve got to decide to do that.”
Mesabi Range 25 85
Bluejays 51 93
MESABI RANGE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Campbell 0-0-3-3, Davis 3-3-3-18, Spearman 0-1-0-2, Spencer 3-3-3-18, Johnson 3-1-2-13, Radford 4-1-0-14, Mohamud 0-5-4-14, Moreno 1-0-0-3. Totals 14-14-15-85.
BLUEJAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Lawton 0-9-5-23, Ligon 2-4-3-17, Muktar 1-1-4-9, Alford 2-6-6-24, Paulson 0-5-3-13, Ndumbe 0-0-1-1, Sohn 0-0-0-0, Kuol 0-1-0-2, Bennett 0-2-0-4. Totals 5-28-22-93.