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No. 10 Knights ‘steal’ win from Jaguars in opener

MINE! — Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther/Truman’s Bethany Petrowiak grabs a rebound between Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial’s Gillian Hanson (32) and Ella Voges (3) during season-opening Valley Conference basketball action Friday night in Northrop. The Jaguars’ McKenna Benck (far left) and the Knights’ Avery Voges (second from left) look on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

NORTHROP — Ironically, a prep basketball pick-pocket extraordinaire plans to major in criminal justice in college.

Olivia Harazin garnered a game-best eight thefts, distributed a game-high six assists and co-led Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial with Katelin Flack by scoring 18 points apiece to power the Class AA No. 10-ranked Knights to a season-opening 73-25 victory over the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars on Friday night.

The 5-foot-8 Harazin, who guided the Knights to the Class AA state tournament in 2021-22, will take her multi-tasking hardwood skills to NAIA No. 5-ranked Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, next season. The Defenders have won their first nine games of the winter campaign thus far.

“The school has a nationally-ranked women’s basketball program and it’s close so my family doesn’t have a long ways to travel to watch me play,” said Harazin. “It’s also a school that has my major — criminal justice.”

The sure-handed Harazin and her Knight teammates pocketed 14 of their 17 total steals during the first half to help trigger a 15-0 run early in the game and for all but two of a 23-0 surge that bridged intermission.

Freshman guard Keira Benck tracked down the Valley Conference game’s opening tip and hit the layup, but Harazin, donning No. 1, and No. 2 Lauren Cooper literally packed a 1-2 lethal offensive attack to reel off 15 unanswered points.

Flack, who neared double-double territory by sharing the LCWM rebound lead with Gillian Hanson by grabbing seven boards apiece, pocketed one of her three steals and drove the distance to cap a 15-2 lead.

Keira Benck, who led the Jaguars with seven points, ended the home team’s scoring drought by nailing a right-wing 3-pointer off a Bethany Petrowiak kickout pass at the 10-minute juncture.

Olivia Mattson, who collected six points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, swooshed a top of the key 3-ball before Gracie Zaharia threaded a pass to a cutting Keira Benck for a runner.

After having her team’s lead drop from 13 to five, Harazin went to work by burying a 3-pointer before threading the needle to a cutting Flack for two more points to create breathing room again at 20-10.

Mattson later drove the baseline for a leaner to inch the Jaguars within 11 before Cooper’s perimeter prowess triggered the Knights’ 21-0 offensive avalanche to close out the first half at 45-13.

Cooper, who finished with 17 points, drilled a left-corner 3 off an Ella Voges assist before Harazin outraced the Jaguars’ defense for a breakaway off a steal-turned-assist from Maggie Graupman. Cooper sank another trifecta off a Harazin drive-and-kick play.

Harazin reeled off seven of LCWM’s final 11 points of the initial half, including a left-wing 3 and a one-hander in traffic.

McKenna Benck delivered all five of her points during the early stages of the second half for the Jaguars, while Bethany Petrowiak added six points off the bench to temporarily prevent running time down the stretch.

Flack then reeled off eight straight points to make the time elapse without stoppage for the final 8 minutes.

Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther (0-1) plays host to Cleveland on Monday night in Northrop, while Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (1-0) plays host to Martin County West on Monday night in Lake Crystal.

LCWM 45-28–73

GTML 13-12–25

LCWM (73)

Harazin 8-13 0-0 18, Cooper 5-11 5-7 17, E. Voges 1-4 0-0 3, Graupman 1-4 0-0 2, Flack 9-13 0-0 18, Hanson 0-2 0-2 0, A. Voges 1-5 0-0 3, Stading 3-5 0-0 7, Ahern 1-2 0-0 3, Thorson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-64 5-9 73.

GTML (25)

Mc. Benck 2-9 1-1 5, K. Benck 3-5 0-0 7, Bri. Petrowiak 0-2 0-0 0, Mattson 2-6 1-5 6, M. Lewis 0-6 0-0 0, Zaharia 0-0 0-0 0, Beth. Petrowiak 3-5 0-0 6, A. Lewis 0-2 0-0 0, Engelby 0-0 0-0 0, Weihe 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 10-37 3-8 25.

3-pointers: LCWM 8-16 (Harazin 2, Cooper 2, E. Voges 1, A. Voges 1, Stading 1, Ahern 1); GTML 2-13 (K. Benck 1, Mattson 1). Fouled out: Mattson. Rebounds: LCWM 35 (Flack and Hanson 7 each); GTML 23 (Mattson 7). Assists: LCWM 12 (Harazin 6); GTML 4. Steals: LCWM 17 (Harazin 8); GTML 7 (Beth. Petrowiak 3).

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