PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Quick start guides Marshall girls basketball to 75-49 win over Mankato East Cougars

Photo by Brennen Rupp Marshall’s Lenei Estrada goes up for a layup during their game against Mankato East on Saturday. The Tigers defeated the Cougars 75-49.

MARSHALL – A fast start helped the Marshall Tigers defeat Mankato East, 75-49 on Saturday. The Tigers opened the game on a 25-6 run to set the tone for the game and never looked back.

The Cougars opened the scoring to take a 2-0 lead. Marshall’s Lenei Estrada answered with a 3-pointer to give Marshall a 3-2 lead. With the Tigers up 6-4 Estrada hit another 3-pointer to put Marshall up 9-4. Estrada scored seven of Marshall’s first 12 points to help the Tigers jump out to a 12-4 lead.

“I felt like I was looking for my shot more and trying to get others involved as well,’ Estrada said. “I wanted to come out strong for my team.”

With the Tigers holding a 25-6 lead the Cougars threw the press on the Tigers and went on a 8-0 run to trim Marshall’s lead to 25-14. Marshall coach Dan Westby said that his team didn’t do a good job of handling their length in the first half.

“They’ve got some big kids,” Westby said. “I think that got to us a little bit. We just didn’t handle it very well. We talked about it at halftime that we needed to relax a little bit. I thought we did a better job of handling it in the second half.”

With the Tigers holding a 29-17 lead Estrada hit her third 3-pointer of the first half to give Marshall a 32-17 lead. At the half Estrada had 13 points and the Tigers led 40-26. Despite the double digit lead Westby said he was disappointed with how his team closed out the half.

“I think we had a 19-point lead in the first half,” Westby said. “That was the disappointing thing, we kind of let it get away there a little bit. I think it was 14 at halftime.”

Just like they did to start the game the Cougars struck first to trim Marshall’s lead to 40-28. But just like she did to start the game, Estrada had an answer when she knocked down her fourth 3-pointer of the game to give Marshall a 43-28 lead.

A Jordyn Hilgemann 3-pointer put Marshall up 46-30. Hilgemann hit another 3-pointer to put Marshall up 52-34.

With a 59-42 lead the Tigers went on a 11-4 run to open the lead up to 70-46. Westby said his team did a better job of taking care of the basketball in the second half.

“We did a better job in the second half of limiting turnovers and taking care of the ball,” Westby said. “We hit some 3-pointers. You always look a lot smarter when that happens. We did some good things. We turned it over too much at the end of the first half. We settled down and did a better job in the second half.”

Hilgemann finished the game with 25 points and four assists. Estrada finished with 19 points and four assists. Hannah Meier scored 11 points.

With the win the Tigers remained undefeated at 5-0. They’ll face a tough test on Tuesday when they hit the road to take on top ranked Hutchinson.

“They are ranked first in the state,” Westby said. “They’ve got eight seniors and a lot of experience. It’s going to be a tough game. We have to be ready to go. We can’t afford to turn the ball over when we play them. They are just too experienced.”

Estrada said that the Tigers will have to come out and be aggressive if they are going to pull off the upset.

“We can’t come out slow,” Estrada said. “We have to come out fast and work hard for each other again.”

Mankato East 26 23-49

Marshall 40 35-75

SCORING: Marshall 26-58, 45 percent (Hilgemann 8-17, 6-7 25; Estrada 7-12, 1-3 19; H. Meier 4-8, 3-4 11; Jones 2-2, 3-4 7; E. Meier 2-7 0-1 4; Wegner 1-1, 1-1 3; Andries 1-1, 1-1 3; Wendorff 1-2 0-0 2; Sueker 0-7, 1-2 1).

3-POINT FGS: Marshall 7-16, 44 percent (Estrada 4; Hilgemann 3).

REBOUNDS: Marshall 26 (H. Meier 6; Sueker 5; Jones, Hilgemann 3).

ASSISTS: Marshall 11 (Estrada, Hilgemann 4).

STEALS: Marshall 17 (E. Meier, Hilgemann 4; Sueker, Estrada, Andries 2).

BLOCKS: Marshall none.

FOULS: Marshall 19.

TURNOVERS: Marshall 9.