GIRLS BASKETBALL: Tigers claw East 84-38

MARSHALL – Less than five minutes into Marshall’s 84-38 section victory against Mankato East, the Cougars held an 11-9 lead over the Tigers at Marshall High School.

Then, Class 3A No. 7-ranked MHS applied its fullcourt defense.

Throwing a variety of different looks at Mankato East, Marshall made it extremely tough for the Cougars to move the ball across the time line.

“Our trapping defense is always a big part of what we try to do,” Tigers head coach Dan Westby said. “With our pressure, it kept Mankato East off-balance. Then, we were able to turn some of those (20 steals) into easy points.”

Kenzie Beekman, who tied the game at 11 on a baseline jumper, stole Mankato East’s inbounds pass before using a layup to hand MHS a two-point lead.

Beekman sparked a Marshall rally that saw the Tigers score 16 of the next 24 points to build a 27-19 advantage. The Cougars could not recover.

Hannah Bennett led all scorers with 22 points and contributed two assists as MHS improved to 7-0 this season. Sarah Buysse added 21 points and a team-high five rebounds, while Beekman ended up with 14 points, six steals, five rebounds and three assists.

“I thought we did a nice job of moving the ball on our break,” Westby said. “There were a few times in our halfcourt offense where we stood around, but not very much. We moved the ball well in those situations, as well.”

Leading 13-11 with 12:47 left in the first half, Buysse drained a pair of free throws for the Tigers before Beekman stuck back a missed shot for a six-point Marshall lead.

Following a 3-pointer from Taylor Karge, Bennett scored the next two MHS baskets around another Karge field goal. With the Tigers ahead 21-17, Callie Graff (11 points) started a mini 6-0 run with a pair of free throws, Beekman scored a basket on a backdoor play and Bennett added another field goal.

Marshall, which had a 50-31 lead at halftime, scored the first 22 points of the second half as Mankato East fell to 3-3 this season.

“The last three times we have played Mankato East, our girls have come away disappointed,” Westby said. “I think our girls came away (Saturday) feeling pretty good about their effort. It was a great team effort.”

The Tigers lost to the Cougars twice last season and once during the 2011-12 campaign.

Westby credited Graff, Morgan Saugstad and Marah Mulso – who were employed to defend Cougars’ forward Claire Zeigler – with doing a superb job on defense.

“They guarded Ziegler, who is a great player for Mankato East, and held her to only three points during the second half,” Westby said.

Karge and Zeigler had 13 points apiece to lead the Cougars.

The Tigers face Delano at 7:45 p.m. Friday in the final game of Day 1 in the Borch’s Sports Goods Holiday Classic at Southwest Minnesota State University’s R/A Facility.


MANKATO EAST (3-4 OVERALL): Mattea Risting 0 0-1 0, Torey Richards 0 0-0 0, Shayla Karge 3 1-2 7, Paige Lingbeck 0 0-0, Taylor Karge 4 2-2 13, Emily Stengel 0 1-2 1, Taylor Keuchle 0 0-0 0, Shelby Beckman 2 0-0 4, Claire Ziegler 5 1-2 13, Brie Satre 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 5-9 (56%) 38.

MARSHALL (7-0 OVERALL): Sarah Buysse 6 7-9 21, Morgan Saugstad 0 1-2 1, Haley Bennett 1 1-2 4, Marah Mulso 3 0-0 6, Kenzie Beekman 7 0-0 14, Meghann Naughton 0 0-0 0, Hannah Bennett 10 0-0 22, Rose Anderson 0 0-0 0, Callie Graff 4 2-2 11, Gabby Hess 0 0-0 0, Lexi Saugstad 1 0-0 3, Abby Louwagie 0 0-0 0, Emily Buysse 0 0-0 0, Cami Hoover 0 0-0 0,. TOTALS: 33 11-15 (73%) 84.

HALFTIME: Marshall 50, Mankato East 31. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Mankato East 5 (T. Karge 3, Ziegler 2); Marshall 7 (Buysse 2, Han. Bennett 2, Graff 1, Hal. Bennett 1, L. Saugstad 1). REBOUNDS: Mankato East (not available); Marshall 25 (Buysse 5, Beekman 5). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Mankato East 14 (none); Marshall 13 (none). TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Mankato East (not available); Marshall 16 (Beekman 3, Buysse 2, M. Saugstad 2, Han. Bennett 2, Graff 2). STEALS: Mankato East (not available); Marshall 20 (Beekman 6, Han. Bennett 4, Graff 3, L. Saugstad 3). BLOCKED SHOTS: None. TURNOVERS: Not available.