GIRLS BASKETBALL: Reiss, Steinessen power No. 2-ranked Minneota past Canby
MARSHALL – The inside-outside attack of Minneota’s Taylor Reiss and Emily Steinessen was too much for Canby to handle in the Class A Section 3 North Tournament championship game Friday at Southwest Minnesota State University.
Reiss (25 points, 13 rebounds) and Steinessen (16 points) combined to score 41 points as the No. 2-ranked Vikings defeated the Lancers 62-39 at the R/A Facility.
No. 1 seed Minneota (29-1 overall), which led the entire way, took a 2-0 lead on a long jumper from Steinessen just 40 seconds into the game. That basket allowed the Viking forward to record the 1,000th point of her varsity career and it kickstarted a 12-2 game-opening run for Minneota.
“I think once Emily got her 1,000th point and we built a a quick lead, we settled down and played our game,” Vikings head coach Chad Johnston said.
Steinessen was thrilled to reach a scoring milestone.
“It’s an honor to get 1,000 points and give credit to my teammates for getting the ball to me,” Steinessen said. “I knew I was only two points away from it coming into the game. It was nice to get it on the first basket I attempted. I didn’t shoot very well in our last game (on Tuesday against Russell-Tyler-Ruthton). That was something I worked on during the practice the last few days.”
Canby head coach Kevin Hansen said he was proud of his players for battling throughout the game.
“Our players did not give up on trying to match Minneota’s intensity,” Hansen said. “The thing about Minneota is that its tough to guard them with Reiss being a strong player inside and the Vikings having so many other weapons on the outside. It’s like trying to pick your poison.”
A left-corner jumper from Sydney Sisk and a jumper from Morgan Merritt trimmed the Lancers’ deficit to 12-6 with 12 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first half. No 2 seed Canby (22-6) stayed close during the first 15 minutes, aided by a pair of free throws from Kaitlyn DeVos and a left-wing 3-pointer from Merritt that cut the Vikings’ lead to 23-17.
“This is a rivalry game as much as any of the games we play all season long,” Steinessen said. “We play each other twice every year in the Camden Conference. Our towns are about 15 miles apart. It’s an intense feeling to play against them.”
Steinessen said Canby’s defense plays solidly against Minneota.
“They really slow us down when we’re on offense. We have to be careful with the ball in the half court against them,” Steinessen said.
But Reiss and Shelby Corbin sparked Minneota on a 9-0 run during the final 2:39 before the break. A free throw from Reiss handed the Vikings a 24-17 advantage before a steal and transition layup from Corbin put MHS ahead by nine points only 7 seconds later.
“Shelby was able to score and she did a great job of defending Morgan Merritt,” Steinessen said. “She played a great game for us.”
Merritt, Canby’s leading scorer, topped the Lancers with 13 points, despite missing about 6 minutes of the second half after twisting her left ankle. Ricki Kallhoff added six points for CHS.
With 2:08 left in the first half, Reiss converted transitioned a steal into a 3-point play before Corbin knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key just 32 seconds later to give the Vikings a 32-17 cushion.
The Vikings led by double digits the rest of the way.
Class A defending state champion Minneota advanced to the Class A Section 3 Tournament championship game, where it will have a rematch against Wabasso at 8 p.m. Thursday at SMSU. The Rabbits (24-2) defeated Southwest Minnesota Christian 56-52 to capture the South Division title on Friday at the R/A Facility. Wabasso is the only team defeat the Vikings – 51-49 on Feb. 17 at Wabasso.
“Wabasso is the kind of team that is strong on the inside and on the outside,” Reiss said. “It should be a great game.”
CLASS A SECTION 3 NORTH TOURNAMENT
MINNEOTA 62, CANBY 29
CANBY (22-6 OVERALL): Brandi Merritt 1-4 0-0 2, Morgan Merritt 5-18 0-2 13, Sydney Sisk 2-4 1-2 6, Tara Kockelman 1-3 1-1 3, Becca Kamrath 0-2 0-0 0, Richelle Kallhoff 2-4 2-2 6, Natalie Dinius 0-3 3-4 3, Kaitlyn DeVos 2-10 2-2 2. TOTALS: 13-48 (27%) 9-13 (69%) 39.
MINNEOTA (29-1 OVERALL): Molly Hennen 0-2 1-4 1, Shelby Corbin 5-7 0-2 11, Emily Stienessen 6-13 1-2 16, Taylor Reiss 8-14 9-18 25, Kelsey Maeyaert 0-2 0-0 0, LeAnn Jerzak 0-0 1-2 1, Megan Larson 1-1 0-0 2, Payton Boerboom 1-6 2-3 4, Michelle Jerzak 1-2 0-2 2. TOTALS: 22-47 (47%) 14-33 (42%) 62.
HALFTIME: Minneota 32, Canby 17. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Canby 4-11 (M. Merritt 3, Sisk); Minneota 4-15 (Steinessen 3, Corbin). REBOUNDS: Canby 31 (DeVos 7); Minneota 33 (Reiss 13). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Canby 22 (Kalhoff); Minneota 11 (none). TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Canby 6 (M. Merritt 2); Minneota 14 (Hennen 7). STEALS: Canby 7 (M. Merritt 2, DeVos 2); Minneota 8 (Corbin 4). BLOCKED SHOTS: Canby 2 (Kalhoff); Minneota 5 (Reiss 4). TURNOVERS: Canby 10; Minneota 8.