TRIMONT - The Martin County West Mavericks girls basketball team trailed by one at halftime, but went on a 9-4 scoring run to open the second half to pace a 59-42 nonconference victory over the Blue Earth Area Bucs on Friday night in Trimont.
Kate Thiesse led the Mavericks' second-half offensive surge by going 7-of-8 from the field for 14 of her team-high 16 points to help build a double-digit lead.
A pair of Thiesse baskets from inside the paint, followed by a Morgan Williamson trifecta from the wing on the next Maverick possession, gave the home team a 34-30 lead just 1:15 into the second half.
OVER THE DEFENSE — Martin County West’s Kate Thiesse (31) fires a jumper over Blue Earth Area defenders Jenna Stevermer (2) and Karli Olsen (back) during hoops action Friday night in Trimont. The Mavericks’ Reilly Geistfeld boxes out on the play. Photo by Leanna Becker
Blue Earth Area senior Krista Hassing tried to stall the Mavericks' run with a jumper for two, but MCW's 16-for-30 shooting effort kept the Bucs from taking back the momentum.
"I thought we played our best half of basketball in quite sometime that second half. We played more consistently on defense and didn't turn the ball over," said Martin County West head coach Rodger Taylor.
With 11 minutes remaining in the game, Thiesse swiped a Buc pass on the wing and drove the length of the floor for the layup to give MCW a 45-35 lead that the home team never relinquished.
Hassing made baskets from seemingly every angle for the Bucs in the first half, scoring 15 of her game-high 23 points and grabbing 13 of the team's total 26 rebounds.
"Hassing was tough in the first half, but at halftime we talked about what we needed to do to defend her, and we were tougher on her the second half," said Taylor.
While the teams traded baskets fighting for a first-half lead, Hassing sank three baskets in a row to keep the Bucs within striking distance. The 6-foot forward capped her scoring spurt, sinking a one-footed leaner off the glass and drawing the foul for the three-point play to give the Bucs an 18-15 lead with just over six minutes left in the half.
"I thought we were much more patient offensively in the first half. In the second half, we turned the ball over too much and couldn't get good looks at the basket," said Blue Earth Area head coach Al Cue.
Williamson connected with a lob pass in the paint to Libbie Lange, who put it up and in for two of her 12 points on the ensuing MCW possession to make it 18-17 with 5:30 remaining in the opening half.
Taryn Tumbleson, who made four steals in the first half for the Mavericks, also scored 10 points in the game for MCW, while Williamson finished with seven points in the win.
Thiesse snagged eight rebounds for the Mavericks, while Reilly Geistfeld pulled down seven boards.
The Mavericks finished the game by shooting 26 of 60 from the floor, while making 4 of 11 free throws.
Along with Hassing's offensive effort, Chelsea Owen and Jenna Stevermer each finished with four points for the Bucs.
Blue Earth Area went 18-for-50 from the floor , and made 5 of 11 free throws on the game.
Martin County West (20-4) plays host to No. 7 seed Pipestone Area in the Section 3AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, in Trimont.
Blue Earth Area (13-7) travels to Fairmont for a 6 p.m. South Central Conference game on Tuesday.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain 62, Nicollet 49 - Amanda Cegelske produced solid all-around numbers of 13 points, nine rebounds, five steals and four assists to steer the Mustangs to their 10th consecutive victory - a 62-49 decision over the Raiders - on Friday night at East Chain School.
Alex Stennes topped GHEC by scoring 15 points to complement three steals, while teammate Rachel Shumski netted 13 points, nine rebounds and a game-best six assists.
Rachael Sauck contributed 10 points to the Mustangs' winning ways, while Anna Balcom chipped in eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Mustangs hit 22 of 54 field goals and 10 of 19 free throws on the game.
Carissa Woller and Alyssa Wagner each scored 11 points to top Nicollet, while Emily Skrien tallied 10 points.
The Raiders made 9 of 13 free throws on the night.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (15-6) travels to Wells on Monday to face United South Central.
Mankato Loyola 60, Martin Luther 52 - Jordyn Strachan netted 15 points to guide the Crusaders to a 60-52 victory over the Knights on Friday night in Northrop.
Effie Bentz delivered 18 points, five assists and four steals to pace Martin Luther, while teammate Kayley Shoen chalked up 13 points, six boards and three assists.
Hunter Payne collected nine points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Knights, Amber Schulz grabbed nine rebounds, while Kristi Oberdieck pulled down eight caroms.
Martin Luther made 17 of 44 shots from 2-point range, 4 of 9 behind the 3-point arc and 6 of 12 from the free throw line.
Aunikah Bastian added 13 points for Loyola.
Martin Luther (11-13) opens Section 2A, South Sub-Section quarterfinal action against Springfield at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, in Springfield.
Springfield 71, Truman 35 - Joeli Arnoldi generated a game-best 18 points to pace the Tigers' 36-point victory over the Bluejays on Friday night in Springfield.
Kasey Kretsch and Jordan Salonek supplied 13 and 12 points, respectively, to Springfield's balanced attack.
Brooke McDonald netted a double-double performance of 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with four blocked shots for Truman.
Emily Zaharia tallied eight points and distributed four assists for the Bluejays, who hit 8 of 15 free throws on the game.
Truman (4-21) tips off the Section 2A, South Sub-Section tournament by traveling to Jeffers on Thursday for a 7 p.m. play-in game against Red Rock Central.