GIRLS BASKETBALL: Minneota survives late run by Knights

MARSHALL – Russell-Tyler-Ruthon gave Minneota a run for its money, but the Class A No. 2-ranked Vikings were able to hang on for a 67-56 victory in a Section 3 Tournament semifinal Tuesday night.

The game got off to a slow start with just 12 combined points scored in the opening 10 minutes, but the Vikings went back to their rock in Taylor Reiss.

Reiss poured in 29 points to go with 11 rebounds to complete the double double. Every time RTR made a run, Reiss would have an answer inside.

Getting more people involved is something that coach Chad Johnston touched on with his team after the game.

“We talked about the fact that we can’t have four girls running around outside the paint and relying on one player to do everything,” Johnston said. “There were times where we should have looked for her, but we didn’t.”

Stienessen finished with 15 points while Molly Hennen finished with 8. Justine Possail finished with 15 points to go with nine points each from Shayna Possail, Kayli Nielsen and Dana Schaefer. Justine Possail also finished as the Knights leading rebounder with six.

The rebounding game as whole was a close contest, as the Vikings grabbed just six more boards than RTR and RTR forced 20 Minneota turnovers to their 15.

The Knights received a blow offensively when Destinee Strand left the game with 6:45 to go in the first half and the Vikings up 13-12.

Minneota stretched its lead to 28-17 at the half and lead 50-34 with 7:41 to go after going on a 12-0 run over seven minutes and 20 seconds.

RTR was able to make a late push, but in the end the Vikings were just too much.

Despite the loss, RTR coach Darin Dahle was proud of how his team performed.

“I thought our defense overall was pretty good,” Dahle said. Reiss is a good player inside and then she steps out and hit a three to boot.”

The Knights finished the season with a record of 15-12.

Dahle was impressed with the way his team performed throughout the season.

“I thought we had a great season,” Dahle said. “Especially in the second half. We won eight of our last ten games. It was a great season.”

As a defending state champion, Minneota is going to have a target on their back and always get teams’ best shots.

One aspect of the game Johnston was pleased with was the play of Shelby Corbin in the final 10 minutes of the game as she fought through back pain and made key free throws down the strech while also making key defensive plays.

The Vikings take on Canby in the Class A Section 3 North Championship, but Johnston knows his team is going to have to make improvements if they don’t want their run to come to an end.

“This team made the game a lot closer than we were expecting and a lot closer than it should have been,” Johnston said. “That’s a credit to RTR. They played aggressive against us and we played passive. We have to find the hunger. We had the hunger last year when we weren’t the top dogs.”

CLASS A SECTION 3 NORTH TOURNAMENT

Semifinals

Tuesday

At SMSU

MINNEOTA 67, RTR 56

MINNEOTA (28-1 OVERALL): Molly Hennen 2 3-3 8, Shelby Corbin 2 5-6 9, Emily Stienessen 5 5-8 15, Taylor Reiss 10 8-12 29, Kelsey Maeyaert 1 0-0 3, LeAnn Jerzak 0 0-0 0, Megan Larson 0 0-0 0, Payton Boerboom 0 1-2 1, Michelle Jerzak 0 0-0 0, Megan Evers 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20; 20-26 (77%) 67.

RUSSELL-TYLER-RUTHTON (15-13 OVERALL): Justine Possail 4 5-8 13, Shayna Possail 3 0-0 9, Sam Brust 0 0-0 0, Janel Wichern 1 5-8 7, Dana Schaefer 2 3-4 7, Destinee Strand 1 0-0 2, Amanda Petersen 0 3-4 3, Nicole Enemark 1 0-0 2, Kaylie Nielsen 3 1-2 7, Ashlynn Wabeke 2 0-14. TOTALS: 12, 17- 26(65%) 56.

HALFTIME: Minneota 38, DB 24. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Minneota 3 (M. Hennen 1, Reiss 1, K. Maeyaert 1); RTR 3 (S. Possail). REBOUNDS: Minneota 36 (Reiss 11); RTR 30 (J. Possail 6). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Minneota 21 (None); RTR 22 (None). TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Minneota 10 (Corbin 2, Hennen 2); RTR 7 (J. Possail 3). STEALS: Minneota 5 (Corbin 2); RTR 7 (Wichern 3). BLOCKED SHOTS: Minneota 1 (Reiss); RTR 1 (Wichern). TURNOVERS: Minneota 20; RTR 15.