MARSHALL - Fulda girls' basketball head coach Gregg Slaathaug said his team "didn't do anything that resembled much of basketball" in the first half of Saturday's game against Russell-Tyler-Ruthton at Southwest Minnesota State University. But closing the contest on a 15-2 run, his Raiders made up for an uninspired opening half and pulled away for a 57-43 non-conference win inside the R/A Facility.
It was definitely a tale of two halves for both teams.
Without getting much scoring from the post players it usually depends upon for points, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton(12-7 overall) saw its guards step up in the opening half as the Knights grabbed a 28-24 lead at the break after Sam Brust, one of those guards, knocked down a 3-pointer in the final 14 seconds.
Brust, Destinee Strand and Justine and Shayna Possail broke out of somewhat of a shooting slump to combine for 27 points out of the backcourt. Brust led the way with 12 points and Strand had seven.
"That's a role reversal. Usually our post players carry us," RTR head coach Darin Dahle said. "It's nice to see the guards step up and hit some shots. It's been a while since we got that much contribution from them. We usually get a good amount of our scoring inside."
It wasn't just the offense of the perimeter players that was stepping up for the Knights in the first half. They were also rebounding well and disrupting Fulda's offense.
Brittney Hermeling 5 2-2 13, Amanda Schumacher 1 0-0 3, Courtney Tiesler 2 1-4 5, Melissa Gehl 3 4-4 11, Sariah Cheadle 6 3-4 15, Rachel Cheadle 4 1-3 9, Laura Williams 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 10-16 57. 3-pointers 3 Rebounds 35 Assists 10 Steals 5 Turnovers 18.
Justine Possail 2 0-1 4, Shayna Possail 2 0-0 4, Sam Brust 4 3-8 12, Janel Wichern 1 0-3 2, Destinee Strand 3 0-0 7, Allison Pochardt 2 1-1 5, Kaylie Nielsen 4 0-1 9. Totals 18 4-11 43. 3-pointers 3 Rebounds 28 (J. Possail 8) Assists 13 (Dana Schaefer 3) Steals 6 (Leslie Willert 3) Blocks 2 (Pochardt 2) Turnovers 17.
Halftime Score: RTR 28, Fulda 24.
Slaathaug wasn't happy with how his Raiders (16-6) looked in the first 18 minutes, and he said a lot of that had to do with what RTR was doing.
"The first half wasn't very pretty, but they did a lot of things defensively and took a lot of things away from us," he said. "I was happy with how the girls played in the second half, especially the second half of the second half. We did a lot of standing around in the first half because they were switching screens and that kind of stuff and we didn't adjust very well. In the second half we were able to run a few different things, get our kids moving and get our kids in the right spots."
Brittney Hermeling was one of those players who got going in the second half. She hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with three minutes, 33 seconds remaining to stretch Fulda's lead to 47-41, and in the final minute knocked down a pair of free throws and went coast to coast for a layup to put the game away. She finished with 13 points, sophomore guard Sariah Cheadle scored 15 points, and junior forward Melissa Gehl added 11.
While Fulda got hot in the second half, the Knights cooled off considerably. They scored just five points over the first 10 minutes of the half as the Raiders came back to take the lead.
"In the second half, a couple of our girls got frustrated shooting the basketball," said Dahle, whose team lost back-to-back games for the first time since early December. "We did a great job all game of getting position down by the basket where we wanted to be and just didn't finish."