PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Tigers can’t get past Worthington, fall 55-47

Photo by Emily Daniels Marshall’s Natalee Sample looks to drive past a Worthington defender during their game on Friday. The Trojans defeated the Tigers 55-47.

MARSHALL – An unfortunate start to the first half for the Marshall girls basketball team led to a tough loss against the Worthington Trojans Friday night. The Trojans nine-point lead in the first few minutes of the game set the pace for Worthington as it would hold the lead for the entirety of the contest on its way to a 55-47 victory over the Tigers.

Marshall coach Dan Westby saw three things that he really thought were the keys that caused the girls to fall under and knows that they can improve on those three things going forward with the rest of their season.

“It certainly wasn’t the start we were looking for and that was disappointing. We sent them to the free-throw line too many times,” said Westby. “We thought defensively we did some good things and we also felt like there were some times when Worthington would take shots we needed them to take and miss but we didn’t have anyone to get the rebound. The poor start, Worthington knocking down free throws and us not getting those key rebounds were the big differences in the game that we can look to improve.”

The Trojans tested the Tigers’ strengths and weaknesses right away as the they took a nine-point lead at 11-2 just three minutes into the game. Marshall couldn’t find the response it was looking for and made passes that weren’t connecting which lead to multiple turnovers. Marshall’s Hannah Meier would find her groove under the basket after being fouled and sent to the line, making both of the shots to provide a small boost for the Tigers. Meier continued her success as she added another three points to the Tigers score, to cut the deficit to just eight at 15-7 with 10:20 left on the clock.

Another big component to the success that Marshall saw on offense were the shots being fired from Natalee Sample on the arc, with her first one of the night closing the gap even more to make the score 15-10. A few minutes later, with Marshall struggling to connect on its shot opportunities, Sample dialed up another shot from long distance, cutting Worthington’s lead to just six with 8:18 left in the opening half.

The heat continued on the offensive end for the Tigers as Paige Andries connected on both of her free throws which gave Worthington a smaller lead at 19-15 with 7:20 left to play in the first. As the Tigers offense started to pick up, their defense lacked, and found themselves uncontrolled and that led to multiple unnecessary fouls. Despite the lacking aggressiveness on defense, Emily Meier came alive and grabbed some key rebounds to help the Tigers regain possession and look for better scoring opportunities. With Worthington holding the lead for the entirety of the game they decided to run the clock and slow it down on offense, which then forced the Tigers defense to be on their feet and attack but couldn’t find a chance to get the ball free from Worthington’s grasp, as the Trojans took a 22-16 lead at halftime.

Marshall then got a spark from Jordyn Hilgemann, whose night was just getting started as she hit a 3-pointer just one minute into the second half to make it a three-point game. The Tigers offense then came alive and looked strong as they made clean, crisp passes and did their job rebounding under the basket but they couldn’t seem to work their strengths on offense into the defensive side of the game. Marshall struggled to rebound the ball on defense and that gave the Trojans more opportunities to put points on the board and grow their lead to 28-19 with 14:26 left in the second. Sample came back in for the Tigers with another 3-pointer which was then followed by Hilgemann with another triple, putting the Tigers down seven with 12 minutes left to play. Hilgemann and Emily Meier would find more success rebounding and putting more shots up, closing the gap to six with just 10:54 left on the clock.

Hilgemann then read the Trojans defense and made her moves under the basket to bring it back to nine with just 7:36 left on the clock, but Worthington responded to the way the Tigers were picking up the pace on offense by mirroring that same aggressiveness on their end of the court by hitting a 3-pointer off a steal.

Hilgemann took the ball back on offense to hit another 3-pointer, but the Tigers continued to trail at 43-36 with 4:06 left to play. Marshall saw more strong rebounds under the basket on offense but couldn’t find the connections to follow through with the shots. The score got back to a five-point gap for the Tigers, but Marshall couldn’t find its way to a win as the Trojans held on to their lead to come out with a win.

The Tigers were led by Hilgemann with 22 points while Sample added nine and Hannah Meier had seven. They shot 10 of 15 at the free-throw line and 16 of 46 in total shots. Sample, Lenei Estrada and Hilgemann led the Tigers in assists with three each while Hilgemann also brought in the Tigers only block of the night.

Going forward into the rest of their games Westby wants the team to rebound better and work on the things that they have worked on earlier in the year.

“We’re going to have to do a better job rebounding,” said Westby. “It’s been an issue for us earlier in the year. We thought it was something that we have corrected but I thought tonight it came back and bit us again.”

The Tigers will be back in action on the road Monday to play the Pipestone Area Arrows.

Worthington 22 33 — 55

Marshall 16 31 — 47

MARSHALL: Sample 3-6 0-2 9, Hilgemann 8-20 4-4 22, H. Meier 2-3 3-5 7, E. Meier 2-3 1-2 5, Andries 1-2 2-2 4. TOTALS: 16-46 10-15 47.

3-POINTERS: 5-17 (Sample 3-4, Hilgemann 2-7). REBOUNDS: 28 (Hilgemann 8). ASSISTS: 11 (Three with 3). STEALS: 6 (Sueker 3). BLOCKS: 1 (Hilgemann 1). FOULS: 17. TURNOVERS: 14.