EAST CHAIN - The Martin County West girls basketball team shot just 40 percent from the floor, but its full-court press snagged the 59-36 Valley Conference win over the Granada-Huntley-East Chain Mustangs on Friday night in East Chain.
"We got off to a quick start early in the game, and set the tone early," said Martin County West head coach Rodger Taylor. "We didn't shoot very well tonight, but our defense kept us in it."
The Mavericks jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game thanks to their full court press.
AT THE APEX — Martin County West’s Taryn Tumbleson (11) elevates to fire a jumpshot against Granada-Huntley-East Chain defender Kenlie Pytleski (43) during Valley Conference basketball action Friday night at East Chain School. MCW’s Jordan Gregory (23) boxes out GHEC’s Emily Zaharia (15), while the Mustangs’ Rachel Shumski (left) and the Mavericks’ Kate Thiesse look on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Junior Taryn Tumbleson picked off a pair of Mustang passes as they tried to work the ball up the floor.
Tumbleson, who scored a team-leading 11 points, zipped a pass to Ellie Kuehl on the wing for a 3, before hitting a jumper from the elbow to put the Mavericks up 5-0.
Kuehl then pocketed another two steals for the visiting Mavericks, turning around and hitting a pair of shots to go ahead 9-0.
"We knew that they had a height advantage coming into the game, and we wanted to utilize our speed and quickness to offset that," said Taylor about the Mavericks press generating 16 steals.
The Mustangs then got some offense going, thanks to senior Brooke McDonald who scored seven of her team-leading 11 points in the opening half.
McDonald was fouled inside the lane, converting a pair of free throws to get the Mustangs on the board, and then a baseline jumper at 6:45 in the opening half cut the deficit to 16-11.
Kenlie Pytselski, who scored nine points then flipped a hook shot off the glass and into the net on the next Mustang possession to make it a three-point game with 5:45 before half.
"We went through a scoring drought after our quick start," Taylor said of the Mavericks making 25 of 65 shots from the floor in the game. "I'm not sure how long it was, but we didn't score for quite awhile. Thankfully, our defense kept us in the lead until we could get some shots to fall."
Reilly Geistfeld, who pulled down eight of the Mavericks 37 rebounds, got the Mavericks offense back on track, hitting three shots in the late part of the half to help the Mavericks extend their lead to 25-15.
Rachel Shumski, who scored eight points and had four rebounds, was fouled with 2:30 left in the half and swished a pair of free throws to keep the Mustangs' deficit to single digits at 25-17.
"We just struggled tonight," said Granada-Huntley-East Chain head coach Rick Uttech. "It seemed like we had figured out their press, but then we just couldn't get our offense going. And turnovers were a real problem tonight."
The suffocating Maverick defense held the Mustangs to just one point, a McDonald free throw, in the final 2:30 to stake the 31-18 halftime advantage.
"I was proud of the way we battled through the first half, they started to handle our press better towards the end, and we were able to maintain our lead," said Taylor.
In the second half, the Maverick offense scored 28 points, with 10 points coming off the bench.
After an Emily Zaharia hit a jumper for the Mustangs to make it 47-31 with 7:30 left in the game, Maverick sophomore Whitney Smith swished a shot from inside the lane to stall any momentum at 49-31.
The Mavericks out rebounded the Mustangs 37 to 21, thanks to Madyson Larson and Geistfeld's eight in addition to Kate Thiesse's six rebounds.
Geistfeld scored 10 points for the balanced Mavericks attack, while Thiesse and Madyson Larson added nine and eight points, respectively.
Kuehl poured in seven, all coming in the first half, while Smith netted six in the game.
Martin County West (11-1, 6-0 Valley) plays host to Cleveland in a conference game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Sherburn.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (4-7, 4-4 Valley) travels to play Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton on Tuesday in Janesville.
Blue Earth Area 39, New Ulm 31 - Jenna Stevermer scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds and the Bucs outlasted the Eagles 39-31 during South Central Conference basketball action on Friday in New Ulm.
Kaitlyn Olsen and Karli Olsen each added eight points and six boards for the Bucs in the win.
Taylor Bolduan scored a team-leading nine points for the Eagles in the game.
Blue Earth Area (6-6, 2-4 SCC) plays host to Class 2A, No. 1-ranked New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in a nonconference game on Tuesday night in Blue Earth.
Blue Earth Area 90, New Ulm 85 - Luke Monson shot 76 percent from inside the arc and netted a game-high 37 points to pace the Bucs to a 90-85 South Central Conference victory over the Eagles on Friday in Blue Earth.
Monson made 13 of his 17 attempts for 2, while pulling down 17 boards in the win.
Bailey Olson contributed a near double-double effort with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Conor Barnett added 13 points and doled out nine assists, while Derek Johnson recorded nine points and distributed six helpers.
Grant Kannegiesser scored a team-leading 35 points and pulled down six boards to pace the Eagles in the game.
Tyler Dittrich and Jackson Yackley each contributed 11 points, while Tanner Ogren poured in 10 points for New Ulm.
Blue Earth Area (4-9, 3-4 SCC) plays host to Maple River in a nonconference game on Monday night in Blue Earth.
New Ulm 33-52-85
B.E. Area 42-48-90
Truman/Martin Luther 60, Madelia 46 - Sam Geistfeld and Alex Weihe combined inside the lane for a pair of double-double efforts to pace the BluejayKnights to a 60-46 Valley Conference victory over the Blackhawks on Friday night in Madelia.
Geistfeld netted a game-high 24 points to go along with 14 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots to top the BluejayKnights' winning ways.
Weihe added 17 points and 11 boards to go along with three blocks to help Geistfeld pack a 1-2 punch for TML.
Adam Neumann netted 10 points for Truman/Martin Luther, which made 24 of 38 attempts from the floor, in addition to swishing 5 of 7 free throw attempts.
Jack Bergeman scored a team-leading 12 points, while teammates Derrick Van Hee and Kyle Schultz each contributed six points for the Blackhawks.
Madelia made 16 of 45 shots from the floor, and shot for 80 percent from the free throw line by making 8 of 10.
Truman/Martin Luther (5-7, 3-4 Valley) plays host to Mankato Loyola in a conference game on Monday night in Truman.
Madelia (6-8, 3-4 Valley) travels to play Class 1A, No. 3-ranked Mountain Lake Area in a nonconference game at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Mountain Lake.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 57, Martin County West 53 - The Knights held off the Mavericks' late surge, claiming the 57-53 Valley Conference victory on Friday night in Trimont.
Michael Coates scored a game-high 23 points, while teammate Nick Thul netted 12 to pace the Knights' winning ways.
The Knights made 15 of 20 free throw attempts in the win.
Cordell Weber paced the Mavericks by generating 19 points, while teammate Richard Eckmann netted 14 points.
Jake Faber pulled down nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who made 19 of 59 from the floor, including 13 of 35 from inside the arc.
The Mavericks also swished 9 of 13 from the free throw line in the game.
Martin County West (6-5, 4-2 Valley) plays host to Granada-Huntley-East Chain in a conference game on Monday night in Trimont.