Raider girls win three straight

Ruth Klossner

Raider Zoey Weller had a season-high 15 points in Monday’s game with GHEC-T-ML. Watching her take an open shot were Nicollet’s Marah Hulke and GHEC-T-ML’s Eden Studer.

 

The weather created havoc with the high school sports schedule for the second week in a row. While the Nicollet/Mankato girls were able to play their first Valley Conference Showcase game on schedule, their second was pushed back a day.

By the conclusion of the Showcase Saturday, the girls had won three straight, improving their season record to 8-14 — with three games remaining before playoffs. After a scheduled game Feb, 11 at Immanuel Lutheran, the girls have two home games left — Friday, Feb. 15 against New Ulm Cathedral and Monday, February 18 versus Cedar Mountain/Comfrey.

  1. GHEC-T-ML, 65-50

The girls opened the Showcase with a nice win Feb. 4 over GHEC-T-ML last week Monday, 65-50.

Comparing the game to one the Raiders had played just two days earlier, coach Kevin Christenson stated, “The girls really turned around their energy level and played a much more complete game. Throughout the game, our hands were very active, getting many tipped balls, and then diving on the floor to get the loose ball and finish the play.”

When some players ran into early foul trouble, the rest of the team picked up the intensity.

“That gave other players more time and they rose to the occasion,” Christenson said. “It was very satisfying to see the girls play a complete game, especially outscoring the opponent 33-22 in the second half.”

The Raiders hit 11-of-12 second half free throws. Zoey Weller scored a season-high 15 points as she shot well from the perimeter.

Grace Dehen surpassed the 1,000-point mark in the game, playing a nice all-around game, with seven assists and seven steals to go with 20 points. Marah Hulke netted 17, Weller 15, Megan Frutiger and Hayley Selby six each, and Jill Thompson one. Thompson had 13 rebounds, Frutiger eight, and Hulke six.

  1. JWP, 73-55

With Thursday’s blizzard, second round games in the Valley Conference Showcase were postponed a day. That didn’t stop the Lady Raiders as they picked up a big win Friday on the road, at Janesville, 73-55.

Christenson said, “Luckily we got our games in. Four of the conference teams did not and will most likely not have time to make them up. That means MCW and LCWM will tie for the conference title, with each of them having missed one conference game.”

Of Friday’s contest, the coach said, “We played a solid game, especially the second half. We led 36-27 at the half and went on to win by 18. JWP relies a lot on the three-point shot and hit eight in the game. Twice in the first half, the momentum was swinging our way, but the Bulldogs hit threes to stop our momentum. The girls kept playing hard and fought their way to a nine-point lead.Things turned our way midway through the first half when we really started moving our feet and anticipating on the defensive end.We handled their pressure, while getting some easy baskets due to our ability to tip the ball and then finish the play, often times by diving on the floor.”

The Raiders kept up the intensity in the second half and at one point had a 22-point lead.

Nicollet/Loyola had multiple double-digit scorers — Dehen 25, Hulke 15, and Frutiger 10. Selby and Thompson added seven each, Weller five, and Marisa Arndt four.

Thompson had a big night rebounding, pulling down 16 boards. Selby had 10, and Frutiger and Hulke seven. Hulke had six assists and Dehen dished out four and also had four steals.

  1. Cleveland, 86-59

The girls wrapped up a perfect Valley Showcase with a nine-point win Saturday, 68-59.

“We came into the week seeded fifth in the conference and held on to that spot by going 3-0 on the week,” Christenson said. “We had previously defeated each of those teams. During the week we received compliments from opponent coaches about how much the girls have improved. “We had relatively close games earlier this year with two of the opponents, and were able to win more handily this time around. It is nice to see that the team has improved when you compare the results to those from earlier in the year.”

Saturday’s game against the Clippers showed the importance of staying focused for the entire game and responding to adversity. The Raiders led 39-28 at the half and started out well in the second half, extending the lead. Then, at one point, the Clippers forced the Raiders into consecutive turnovers to cut the lead to 12.

“We responded, then the Clippers hit some shots and were able to cut the lead to six late in the game. We were able to get some stops and make enough free throws to finish with a nine-point win,” Christenson said. “I thought our defensive effort was very good throughout the game. Again, we moved our feet, had very active hands that tipped a lot of passes, and dove on the floor to finish plays. We won our fair share of the 50/50 balls.”

Arndt had come off the bench to play well at JWP, then did the same Saturday.

“You don’t see her contribution in the stats sheet, but she gives very solid minutes, makes great decisions. She keeps the pressure on the opposing team to account for her. That often keeps teams from double-teaming other players,” the coach noted.

He also cited the play of several others.

“Marah Hulke played a key role in helping run the offense, while playing very well in all phases of the game offensively and defensively. Zoey Weller also played very well, hitting numerous perimeter shots and scoring 10 points in the first half, allowing us to separate. Jill Thompson again played well, especially on the defensive end, while she and Hayley Selby did a great job of slowing down Cleveland’s leading scorer.”

The Raiders had multiple players in double figures — Dehen 22, Weller 13, and Selby 12, and Hulke 10. Frutiger netted eight, Thompson two, and Arndt one.

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