MARSHALL - Eight days after his team lost its first game of the season, Randy Haakenson could still clearly recall the stats from the game that put an end to Dawson-Boyd's 7-0 start to the year.
"I remember very well looking at the stats and we got out-rebounded 35-19, we were 10 of 21 from the free-throw line, we shot 14 percent from the field in the second half and we still only lost by 10," he said.
On Saturday, the Blackjack girls' basketball team got a chance to help its head coach get some more positive stats in his head than the ones the players compiled in a 54-44 loss to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg on Dec. 21. Facing winless Yellow Medicine East, which has just one player on its roster who played on the varsity team last year, the Blackjacks made the inexperienced Lady Sting players uncomfortable all game with their air-tight defense and rolled to a 60-28 victory in the Borch's Sporting Goods Holiday Classic at Southwest Minnesota State University.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Dawson-Boyd senior center Mari Lee, center, releases a shot between Yellow Medicine East’s Kelly Anderson, left, and Chyanne Sand during the second half of Saturday’s game in the Borch’s Sporting Goods Holiday Classic at Southwest Minnesota State University.
"We had to get that out of our system a little bit," Haakenson said of the loss to KMS. "It was a game we felt we should have won, but KMS is a good ballclub. It was good for us to get a game like this and get back on the winning track again."
Dawson-Boyd (8-1 overall) had 25 steals while YME (0-8) committed 42 turnovers in the one-sided affair. Senior center Mari Lee had a strong game to lead the Blackjacks, hitting 10 of 16 shots (including two 3-pointers) on her way to a game-high 25 points.
The Lady Sting played fairly clean basketball to open the game and were down 25-17 with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first half before Dawson-Boyd kicked its full-court pressure into high gear and finished the half on a 13-0 run.
Britanna Raddatz 1 0-0 2, Dani Aus 2 0-0 6, Makayla Dyrdahl 0 2-2 2, Danie Roden 1 0-0 3, Kelly Anderson 2 1-2 5, Chyanne Sand 3 2-4 8, Courtney Cuka 1 0-0 2. Totals 10 5-8 28. 3-pointers 3 (Aus 2) Rebounds 24 (Sand 9) Assists 8 Steals 7 Turnovers 42 Total Fouls 8.
Mari Lee 10 3-4 25, Sadie Zaiser 2 2-4 5, Justine Lee 6 0-0 14, Andrea Lee 1 1-2 3, Kelly Husby 3 0-0 6. Totals 25 5-10 60. 3-pointers 5 (M. Lee 2, J. Lee 2) Rebounds 28 (J. Lee 7) Assists 18 (J. Lee 4) Steals 25 (J. Lee 5, Justine Flattum 4, M. Lee 4) Blocks 1 Turnovers 16 Total Fouls 12.
Halftime Score: Dawson-Boyd 38, YME 17.
"They ramped up the pressure on us and it was all kind of a snowball type of thing," YME head coach Scott Jans said. "Once you cough it up a couple of times then you become a little more conservative and cautious and that usually doesn't bode well when you're being pressed. You have to attack the press and we stopped doing that, thus the results."
The offensive struggles continued for YME in the second half as the turnovers mounted. Including their scoreless stretch to end the first half, the Lady Sting went more than 11 minutes without scoring a field goal in the game as Dawson-Boyd built a 45-20 advantage.
A problem for the Lady Sting was a lack of confident ball handlers. YME graduated eight seniors from last year, and Braelee Aus, the player who was expected to take over point guard duties this season, tore an ACL in a preseason scrimmage.
With the guards uncomfortable against Dawson-Boyd's defense, YME went to sophomore forward Chyanne Sand to handle the ball and bring it up the court. She finished the game with a team-high eight points and seven rebounds, and has been showing Jans that she will figure to be a key piece for the team as it looks to improve for the future.
"She's probably our best athlete," Jans said. "She's very quick and has a little bit of height to her and she's just very aggressive offensively and defensively, and she's our top rebounder.
"She does have a nice crossover dribble, she can switch hands with the ball, so we try everything we can, I guess."
The Blackjacks already have their top players playing at a consistently high level. Mari Lee scored with ease from all over the court, and sophomore guard Justine Lee did a bit of everything Saturday with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals.
"Mari, she's probably one of the better inside-outside players in the area," Haakenson said. "She can flat out score from the outside and she can score from the inside. She's about the only one who's not afraid to shoot the baseline shot, and we like that."
With the Lees leading the way, Dawson-Boyd will try to continue to build a new winning streak on Thursday when the Blackjacks head to Ivanhoe to face winless Lincoln HI.
YME will play again Friday with a chance to see how much it has improved from earlier in the season, as the Lady Sting will take on Montevideo for the second time. The Thunder Hawks defeated YME 69-30 on Dec. 6 in Granite Falls.