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Mavericks’ defense smothers USC

BREAKING AWAY — Martin County West guard Kari Matejka (1) breaks down the court after stealing a United South Central Pass. Maverick teammates Lucy Larson (11), Liv Borchardt (25) and Thea Anderson (31) follow down the court, while Rebel defender Hannah Meyer (21) attempts to catch up. (Photo by Greg Abel).

TRIMONT — The Martin County West defense kept United South Central off the scoreboard for nearly the first three minutes, and forced another nine-minute scoreless stretch in the first half.

The Mavericks beat the Rebels 60-32 during nonconference basketball action Monday night in Trimont.

The Mavericks jumped ahead 7-2 three minutes into the game. Kari Matejka scored the first two buckets for MCW, swooshing a left-corner 3 off an Emily Anderson assist, then using a Katie Lange screen to find space for a mid-range jumper for 2. Lange then used Anderson’s second assist for a short jumper to build the five-point advantage.

Hannah Meyer used a low post-entry assist from Dani Kirkeide for the Rebels’ first points with just under 15:00 remaining in the opening half.

MCW built its advantage to 17-8 over the next six minutes, then held the Rebels off the board for nearly the remaining 9:16.

Anderson assisted Lucy Larson for a low-post leaner before Larson hit a breakaway layup off an Emily Dunlop assist to give MCW a 21-8 lead. Rubi Reyes assisted Anderson for a left-corner 3, then Larson assisted Dunlop for a layup to build an 18-point advantage.

Marissa Whitehead tipped a Rebel pass to Matejka, then broke down the court, where Matejka found her for a fast break layup to go ahead 28-8 with 3:50 left in the first half. Whitehead then assisted Matejka for a right-wing 3 before Lange stole a pass and looked downcourt to Whitehead for another breakaway 2, putting the Mavericks up 31-8.

Izzy O’Rourke broke the scoreless stretch for the Rebels when she hit one of two free throw attempts with 27.9 seconds left, then Maya Zebro assisted Kirkeide for a mid-range jumper with 2 seconds left, creating the halftime score of 33-11.

“Again tonight, we did some really nice things,” Maverick head coach Rodger Taylor said. “I saw a lot of good growth. There are still things to work at, but we had a lot of nice moments from a bunch of the girls. We looked better for longer stretches of time tonight. I was very proud of the performance.”

The Mavericks spread the ball around in the second half, with no individual scoring more than five points, while the team put up 27. The defense stayed strong, holding the Rebels off the scoreboard to open the second half until O’Rourke hit two free throws with 13:19 remaining.

The Mavericks extended their lead as far as 42-11 and never let the Rebels get within 25 points.

The win marks the third consecutive for the Mavericks after beating Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons on Feb. 8 and Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther on Feb. 11.

“There are so many variables that go into it,” Taylor said of his team’s recent success. “Every game is an adventure and we’ve been fortunate enough to win. We’ve had a lot of girls contribute. We’re very happy for the win and happy we’re still playing basketball.”

Matejka and Whitehead led the scoring attack for the Mavericks with 12 points each. Matejka complemented her scoring performance with four assists, while Whitehead dished out a game-high six assists. Dunlop led the Mavericks on the boards with eight to complement three steals, while Lange contributed seven boards and three assists.

Hannah Olson was the lone Rebel in double-digit scoring with 11 points, all coming in the second half. Zebro dished out a team-high four assists, while O’Rourke grabbed a game-high 10 caroms.

Martin County West (6-3) travels to Janesville to face Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton in a Valley Conference matchup at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

United South Central (1-8) plays host to Medford in a Gopher Conference game at 7:15 p.m. Friday in Wells.

USC 11-21–32

MCW 33-27–60

MCW (60)

Matejka 4-8 3-6 12, Whitehead 5-7 2-3 12, E. Anderson 3-5 2-3 8, Larson 4-5 0-0 8, Dunlop 3-5 0-0 6, Lange 2-6 0-0 4, T. Anderson 2-6 0-0 4, Arnold 2-2 0-0 4, Borchardt 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 26-52 7-15 60.

USC (32)

Olson 4-11 3-8 11, Meyer 3-3 0-0 7, O’Rourke 1-6 3-4 5, Kirkeide 1-13 0-3 3, Maya Zebro 1-2 0-1 2, Macy Zebro 1-6 0-4 2, Johnson 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 11-60 6-18 32.

3-pointers: MCW 7-15 Matejka 3, E. Anderson & Whitehead 2 each); USC 3-18 (Olson 3). Fouled out: none. Rebounds: MCW 31 (Dunlop 8, Lange 7); USC 33 (O’Rourke 10, Johnson 9). Assists: MCW 22 (Whitehead 6, Matejka & Reyes 4 each); USC 7 (Maya Zebro 4, Kirkeide 3). Steals: MCW 9 (Dunlop 3); USC 5. Blocks: MCW 3; USC 1.

Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 70, Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther 44 — The Knights continued their dominant start first half of the basketball season to beat the Jaguars in Valley Conference action Monday in Lake Crystal.

Michaelah Petrowiak led the Jaguars with 10 points and six rebounds, while Jenna Balcom scored eight points.

Katelyn Diegnau contributed six points to the Jaguars’ efforts and Eden Studer scored six points and grabbed five rebounds.

Mallery Geistfeld brought down six caroms for the Jaguars.

The Jaguars shot 16 of 44 from the field and made 12 out of 14 attempts from the free throw line.

GHECTML (5-4) plays host to St. Clair in a 7:15 p.m. Valley Conference matchup Thursday in Granada.

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