TRIMONT - The Martin County West Mavericks remained undefeated in the Valley Conference by downing Martin Luther, 74-34, on Tuesday night in Trimont.
The Taryn Tumbleson-Katie Thiesse attack that was so effective this fall in the Mavericks volleyball team's run to the state tournament, proved equally effective on the basketball court.
Thiesse and Tumbleson each forced six of the Knights' 20 turnovers in the first half, scoring a combined 24 of 49 MCW points.
IN?PURSUIT — Martin County West’s Morgan Williamson (center) and Taryn Tumbleson (right) pursue Martin Luther guard Kayley Shoen on a breakaway during Valley Conference basketball action on Tuesday night in Trimont. Photo by Leanna Becker
The frontcourt offense helped the Mavericks to jump out to a 13-0 run, led by Tumbleson's traditional 3-point play from inside the paint to help spur the attack.
From there, it was Thiesse and Tumbleson trading steals and layups to extend the lead to 17-2. The duo would amass 28 total points for MCW, with Tumbleson tallying 18 to go with a team-leading four assists. Thiesse scored 10 to go with five rebounds.
"It was really nice that we were able to jump out on them early," said Martin County West head coach Rodger Taylor. "We've been talking with the girls about maintaining that intensity and attention no matter what the score is and they did a better job of that tonight."
Amber Schulz, who pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, finally broke through for the first Knights' basket inside the lane with 13 minutes left in the first half.
Despite the pressure from the Mavericks, the Knights' were able to get an offensive spark off the bench with the help of sophomore Kayley Shoen, who scored all 11 of her points in the first half.
Shoen, along with Hunter Payne, was able to snatch a handful of errant MCW passes for transition baskets, chipping the deficit to 28-10 with 8:27 left in the half.
"Our defense didn't get back as well as I'd like at times, but overall they played well," said Taylor.
For the Knights, this was the second game back in action for senior Effie Bentz, who had been out with a concussion. Bentz scored just two points, but her presence was felt more than on the scoreboard.
"For me, I worry about her (Bentz's) health, and so I'm trying to ease her back into playing. The girls seem to just feel so much more comfortable and play better with her in the game. Tonight, we started making a run at the end of the first half when she was in the game," said Martin Luther head coach Leslie Wokasch.
MCW senior Morgan Williamson delivered two crucial 3s from the left wing to help the Mavericks to stall any Knight comback and hold onto their double-digit lead.
Payne scored eight of her nine points in the second half for the Knights, but Ellie Kuehl came off the Mavericks' bench to score six points, while six other MCW?players scored two.
Martin Luther sank 7 of 9 free throws in the second half, and made 12 of 19 in the game to aid its efforts.
Kuehl and Reilly Geistfeld each tallied eight points in the game, while Libbie Lange recorded six for the Mavericks.
Bailey Tish and Thiesse grabbed five boards for MCW, while Lange, Thiesse and Hailey Leiding each doled out three assists.
Payne tallied nine points for the Knights, while Schulz netted six.
Martin County West (7-1, 6-0 Valley) travels to Fairmont for a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game on Friday at Cardinal Gym.
Martin Luther (4-4, 3-2 Valley) travels for a 7:30 p.m. game against Windom in the Windom Holiday Classic on Dec. 28.
Blue Earth Area 58, Medford 42 - Power forward Krista Hassing produced game-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds to complement three steals in engineering the Bucs' 16-point triumph over the Tigers during nonconference action on Tuesday night in Medford.
Whitney Pirsig delivered 10 points and four steals for Blue Earth Area, while teammate Jenna Stevermer scored nine points.
Kaitlyn Olsen supplied seven points, three assists and three steals for the Bucs, who outrebounded the Tigers by a 34-18 margin.
Blue Earth Area (5-1) plays host to St. Peter on Thursday night.
B.E. Area 29-29-58
Alden-Conger 53, Granada-Huntley-East Chain 40 - Brittany Water scored a game-best 15 points to steer the Knights to a 13-point Valley Conference victory over the Mustangs on Tuesday night in Alden.
Taylor Martin contributed 11 points to Alden-Conger's winning ways.
Rachel Shumski scored 11 points to pace GHEC's effort, while teammate Amanda Cegelske netted 10 points.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (3-4, 3-2 Valley) is idle until playing host to Truman on Thursday, Jan. 3, at East Chain School.
Nicollet 47, Truman 40 - Katelyn Skrien scored 13 points and teammate Emily Skrien chipped in 10 points to help the Raiders edge the Bluejays, 47-40, during Valley Conference action Tuesday night in Truman.
Emily Zaharia collected a game-best 15 points and pulled down five rebounds to top Truman, while teammate Cleo Maloney delivered nine points, five steals and four assists.
Brooke McDonald contributed eight points and six rebounds to the Bluejays' cause, while Beth Kotewa pulled down seven boards.
Truman connected on 13 of 36 shots from 2-point range, 1 of 7 from behind the arc and 11 of 20 at the free throw line.
Nicollet sank 19 of 36 shots from the charity stripe.
Truman (0-6, 0-5 Valley) travels to Sleepy Eye St. Mary's on Thursday night.