MARSHALL - It's not often that a team will pick up 32-point victory and still consider its effort inconsistent, but such was the case for the eighth-ranked (Class AAA) Marshall girls' basketball team after its 79-47 Southwest Conference win over the Redwood Valley Cardinals on Tuesday.
A plague of foul calls prevented either team from finding a rhythm in the early going, as the Tigers and Cardinals slogged through the first half with Marshall leading 32-19 at halftime.
Though there were 24 total fouls in the first half alone, Marshall head coach Dan Westby felt his team did not bring enough energy to the opening 18 minutes.
Marshall senior Sarah Andersen, left, gets ready to release a shot during the first half of Tuesday night’s Southwest Conference girls’ basketball game against Redwood Valley at Marshall High School. Andersen scored five points in the Tigers’ win.
"There were a lot of fouls called and that sort of thing and that can certainly determine the flow of the game, but that's up to our kids to establish that," Westby said. "And we didn't do a very good job of that tonight, especially early in the first half. It just took us forever to get going. We came out with some intensity to start the second half and then it went away again. We just had a difficult time getting into a rhythm, but that's our fault, that's nobody else's fault."
After the break, Marshall went on a 20-7 run over the first eight minutes, capped off by Morgan Saugstad's fastbreak layup to take a 52-26 lead.
Hannah Bennett knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during the run to give Marshall leads of 40-22 and 44-24 respectively, while Kelsey Saugstad had five of her game-high 19 points during the scoring spree.
Redwood Valley (47)
Lauren Hanson 1 3-4 5, Steph Jensen 4 6-8 15, Nicole Bunting 1 2-2 4, Tara Sandgren 0 1-2 1, Janessa Read 3 4-7 10, Kayla Pohlen 3 4-4 11, Tessa Heiling 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 21-29 47. 3-pointers 2 Total Fouls 25.
Kenzie Beekman 4 5-7 13, Kelsey Saugstad 5 8-10 19, Sarah Andersen 2 1-2 5, Sarah Buysse 2 3-6 7, Morgan Saugstad 3 0-0 7, Jenna Christianson 1 0-1 3, Callie Graff 3 2-2 8, Hannah Bennett 2 0-0 6, Jackie Petrich 1 0-2 2, Lexi Saugstad 1 0-1 2, Steph Baker 1 1-2 3, Sam Onken 0 2-2 2, Gabby Hess 0 2-2 2. Totals 25 24-37 79. 3-pointers 5 (Bennett 2) Total Fouls 25.
Halftime Score: Marshall 37, Redwood Valley 19
After taking their 26-point lead with 10 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the game, the Tigers began to empty their bench but continued to pour it on the Cardinals.
Marshall saw 13 individuals record points in the win, while just two broke double figures. Kenzie Beekman finished with 13 points to join Kelsey Saugstad's 19-point effort as Marshall's only double-digit scorers.
Redwood Valley (9-9 overall, 3-6 SWC) was led by Steph Jensen's 15 points. Janessa Read added 10, while Kayla Pohlen chipped in with 11 points. No other Cardinal passed the six-point mark.
The Tigers (16-3, 8-0) seemingly couldn't buy a bucket from the interior during the first half and built its early advantage off of 12 of their 24 made free throws for the game. As a team the Tigers were 24 of 37 from the line.
"We had 23 missed shots in the first half in the paint for us and again that's our fault," Westby said. "That's disappointing. We certainly need to shoot better inside than we did in the first half."
Marshall eventually settled into a groove on the offensive end and used the low post to salt away the game.
"I think we did shoot better inside in the second half and that probably explains the scoring in the second half," Westby said. "But it was just a lack of focus by us to start the game and that's disappointing."
The Tigers will look for a better start and more complete effort in their next contest as Marshall hits the road for another Southwest Conference game on Friday, this time against the Luverne Cardinals.