PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Minneota shuts down Lancers, 56-30

Photo by Sam Thiel Minneota’s Morgan Hennen scores on a layup during their game against Canby on Saturday. The Vikings defeated the Lancers 56-30.

MINNEOTA – The Minneota girls basketball team used a strong offensive effort during their game against Canby on Saturday afternoon. Their defensive presence was even stronger, as the Vikings shut the Lancers down en route to a 56-30 victory.

The Vikings never trailed from the opening tip, and raced to a quick 9-0 lead on the first couple of possessions. Minneota continued to add to its lead in the game’s first few minutes, going up by 19. Canby, on the other hand, went on an offensive dry spell in the beginning stages as the Lancers failed to score in the first nine minutes of the opening half.

Minneota coach Chad Johnston said he was pleased with his team’s defensive efforts throughout the night and added it helped change the tempo of the game.

“The girls are doing a lot of good things right now and we have a lot of girls contributing. We put it together defensively and got after them a little bit,” Johnston said. “They got a little flustered, shots weren’t falling and I think that made a big difference in the tempo of the game.”

The Lancers were able to find the bottom of the basket with 8:43 left in the half for their first points of the game. Despite getting the basket, Canby continued to miss the mark on offense, whereas the Vikings maintained its hot shooting. Minneota went up 21-2 and led by as much as 28-2 in the first half. The Lancers then got a 3-pointer by Sarah Hansen to cut it to 30-9 with 3:30 left, but Minneota responded with a 5-0 run. Another triple from Hansen cut the deficit to 35-12, but the Lancers couldn’t get any closer in the first half as Minneota took a 39-12 lead into the locker room.

Hansen said their biggest adjustment in the first half was their communication and once they found that, they were able to get into a small groove.

“The main part was our communication,” Hansen said. “We really struggled to talk with backside help and who had the ball and stuff, so communication and moving the ball helped us actually find some sort of a groove.”

Unlike the opening half, the Lancers were able to find a basket right away, scoring on their first possession out of the break. But that would be all Canby saw throughout the next several minutes, as they couldn’t connect on offense. Good ball movement from Minneota gave the Vikings a 41-14 lead before going on a 7-2 run to extend their advantage to 52-16 with 10 minutes remaining.

Canby got on a small groove on offense, using a pair of threes from Hansen and Kalli Jelen to cut it to 59-22, but couldn’t piece together enough to get closer as the Vikings sealed things up down the stretch.

Lydia Sussner and Morgan Hennen led the way for the Vikings with 12 points each while Morgan Kockelman added 11 and Abby Hennen chipped in nine.

Abby Hennen said their key on offense was their ball movement and spreading their scoring opportunities between the perimeter and the post.

“We moved the ball faster around the perimeter and we got chances to look into the post,” she said. “After the first half we had a little talk and we wanted to move it around more and look into the post even more and in the second half I think that started working out for us.”

Hansen led the way for the Lancers with nine points, all from beyond the arc, while Ahlea Wright and Alyssa Beckius added four each.

Canby coach Jeff Thovson said despite the loss, he was proud of his team’s efforts and their perseverance.

“I thought the kids played hard; shots weren’t falling, and Minneota’s a good ballclub,” Thovson said. “I was happy that our kids kept battling til the buzzer went off. It’s tough to do that when you’re looking at the scoreboard, but I’m proud of our kids.”

Minneota (3-1) will face Lakeview on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. while Canby (1-3) will face Yellow Medicine East on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.

Johnston said their biggest takeaway will be to be more prepared for their upcoming games as well as creating more of a balance between the outside and inside game on offense.

“I think we need to start being more prepared for a little more pressure. I think some teams are going to come after us in the next few games which we’ll have to be ready for,” Johnston said. “We also need to find a happy medium between what we’re doing on the perimeter and still looking to get the ball inside to Lydia and get her involved a little bit more. In the long run, that’s the balance that we’ll try to find as a group is having both inside-outside game and that’s something we need to work on a little bit more.”

Canby 12 18-30

Minneota 39 17-56

SCORING: Minneota 19-55, 34.5 percent (Sussner 4-12, 4-7 12; M. Hennen 4-12, 3-6 12; Kockelman 4-5, 1-2 11; A. Hennen 4-7, 1-2 9; Gillingham 1-5, 4-6 6; Rolbiecki 2-6, 0-0 4; Rost 0-0, 2-2 2); Canby 11-45, 24 percent (S. Hansen 3-7, 0-0 9; Wright 2-2, 0-0 4; K. Jelen 1-6, 0-0 3; M. Hansen 1-4, 0-0 2; Leppke 1-2, 0-0 2; Jessen 0-0, 2-2 2; King 1-6, 0-2 2; H. Jelen 1-5, 0-0 2).

3-POINT FGS: Minneota 3-18, 16.7 percent (Kockelman 2; M. Hennen 1); Canby 4-15, 26.7 percent (S. Hansen 3; K. Jelen 1).

REBOUNDS: Canby 22 (Beckius 8; Wright 4; H. Jelen 3).

ASSISTS: Canby 9 (Beckius 3; H. Jelen, K. Jelen 2).

STEALS: Canby 5 (H. Jelen, M. Hansen, Wright, Jessen, King).

BLOCKS: Canby 2 (Leppke, Jessen).