Tiger girls topple ranked Rough Riders

An offensive explosion in the third quarter carried the Marshall girls’ basketball team to its 10th consecutive victory after defeating Sioux Falls Roosevelt 65-58 in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Thursday. The Tigers scored 25 points in the first eight minutes after halftime to turn a 32-22 lead into a 57-40 advantage with one quarter remaining.

The interstate matchup was the final regular season game of the year for the Tigers, ranked fourth in Minnesota Class AAA and seeded third in Section 2AAA. With the playoffs looming, the Tigers were looking to maintain their high level of play.

“The main goal heading into the game was that we play well, and we felt that we did that, especially for the first three quarters of the game,” Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. “At one point in the third quarter we had a 22-point lead and our kids were really playing well.

“To Roosevelt’s credit, they kept competing and they came back and made it a close game. We really did some good things. We ran the court well tonight and, as a result, we were able to get some easy baskets.”

The Rough Riders, ranked fourth in South Dakota’s Class AA, have dropped four of their last six games and struggled to figure out the Marshall defense in the opening half of basketball.

“Defensively, we did a lot of good things, especially in the first half,” Westby said. “We really defended well and held them to 22 points on their floor, that’s a pretty good effort.”

The Tigers were led offensively by the duo of Kenzie Beekman and Kelsey Saugstad. Beekman had 20 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and two blocks. Saugstad had a team-high 21 points, including four 3s, to go with five assists.

“Kelsey really shot the ball well tonight,” Westby said. “They did a nice job, defensively, of not giving her a lot of room, but when she did get a chance to shoot it she knocked them down. That was good to see.”

Hannah Bennett also reached double figures for the Tigers with 10 points, while Sarah Buysse appeared all over the stat sheet. The sophomore had four rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Tigers.

“Sarah did a nice job of making her drops defensively and that’s what allowed her to get those steals,” Westby said. “Another thing I thought she did a good job of was rebounding. She only had four rebounds, but each one was huge.”

Roosevelt, which falls to 14-6 on the season with the loss, was led by Tagyn Larson’s 22 points. Paige Mriden chipped in with 10 points in the loss.

Marshall (23-3 overall) is back on the court on Tuesday, when it hosts No. 6 seed Hutchinson (6-18) in the first round of the Section 2AAA tournament.