PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Marshall edges Southwest Minnesota Christian in OT

Photo by Brennen Rupp Marshall’s Jordyn Hilgemann looks to drive past a Southwest Minnesota Christian defender during their game on Saturday. The Tigers defeated the Eagles 83-79 in overtime.

WORTHINGTON – The Southwest Minnesota Christian Eagles were a state tournament team last year in Class A. They have four seniors and five juniors on the roster and entered Saturday’s matchup against the Marshall Tigers as the ninth ranked team in Class A. The Tigers, on the other hand, have two seniors on the roster and start one freshman.

That freshman proved to be the best player on the court. Jordyn Hilgemann poured in 29 points in her varsity debut for the Tigers and helped Marshall defeat the Eagles 83-79 in an overtime thriller.

“She was a question mark coming into this thing,” Marshall coach Dan Westby said. “She didn’t play like a freshman tonight. We really thought she did a nice job of going to the basket. When we got down by eight there she got us back into the game by doing that. She really did a nice job.”

The Eagles opened the game by scoring the first five points. The youthful Tigers responded by going on a 10-2 run to take a 10-7 lead.

With the Tigers holding a 20-17 lead late in the first half the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to take a 24-17 lead. At the half the Eagles held a 36-28 lead.

The Eagles knocked down a 3-pointer to open the second half to take a 39-28 lead. That’s when Hilgemann took over. The freshman scored Marshall’s first seven points of the second half to get the Tigers back within six at 41-35.

“I was able to drive and get to the basket,” Hilgemann said. “I was able to draw some fouls and get to the line.”

With the Tigers trailing 45-37, Kaia Sueker knocked down back to back 3-pointers to trim the Eagles’ lead to 45-43. Sueker was held to just two points in the first half, but erupted for 20 points in the second half.

Another Sueker 3-pointer put the Tigers up 48-47 with 10:45 left in the game. Sueker’s three was set up by an Erica Jones offensive rebound.

The Eagles held a 62-55 lead and appeared to be on their way to souring past the Tigers late in the game. That’s when the Tigers went on a 13-0 run to take a 68-62 lead.

“We had a nice stretch defensively,” Westby said. “We got a couple of steals and turned them into baskets. I thought our kids didn’t give up. With all the young kids we had playing tonight we could have given up.”

The Eagles trailed the Tigers 72-69, with less than 20 seconds to go in regulation. SW MN Christian’s Brooklyn DeKam was fouled on a 3-point shot attempt and sent to the line and calmly knocked down all three free throws to tie the game at 72.

In overtime it was Hilgemann setting the tone. She scored Marshall’s first five points in overtime and helped Marshall come away with an 83-79 season opening victory over a ranked opponent.

“They are a good team,” Westby said. “They are a veteran team. They were a state tournament team a year ago. Our kids really battled. It was great effort by us. It was a good solid effort.”

The Tigers will play their home opener on Tuesday against Redwood Valley. Westby said he’d like to see his team do a better job of limiting second chance opportunities.

“I thought we did a better job in the second half,” Westby said. “In the first half we just gave them too many second and third chances. I thought we did a better job in the second half. It’s a big win, especially when they come back to tie it in regulation. Our kids battled back.”

SW MN 36 36 7-79

Marshall 28 44 11-83

SCORING: Marshall 27-57, 47 percent (Hilgemann 12-20, 4-8 29; Sueker 6-9, 5-8 22; Estrada 3-13, 11-18 17; E. Meier 3-3, 2-2 8).

REBOUNDS: Marshall 32 (Andries 9; E. Meier 5; Jones, Sueker 4).

ASSISTS: Marshall 11 (Estrada 8; Sueker, Jones, Hilgemann 1).

BLOCKS: 2 (Andries).

STEALS: 14 (Estrada 4; H. Meier 3; Andries, E. Meier 2).

FOULS: Marshall 23.

TURNOVERS: Marshall 14.