PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Strong first half propels Marshall to 88-35 victory against Windom Area
MARSHALL — After starting their season with a 58-46 victory against Worthington on Saturday, the Marshall girls basketball team looked to keep the momentum going into its home opener against Windom Area. Thanks to a strong first half on offense and stifling defensive play, Marshall rolled to an 88-35 victory over the Eagles on Tuesday night.
Marshall coach Dan Westby said it was important to get out to a strong start against a Windom group that brought back a lot of players from the year before and felt they did a good job of running the floor as a team to get quality looks on offense.
“Windom has a lot of kids back from last year, so we felt like it was really important that our kids were ready to go and I thought they really were,” Westby said. “The one thing I thought we did such a good job of was we just sprinted the floor offensively and got a number of layup opportunities. They [Windom] had a lot of success a year ago and had a lot of kids back; it felt good obviously to play at home, but this was a good team that we played, so it was a good effort by our kids.”
Marshall jumped out to an early 6-3 lead thanks to three quick baskets from Jordyn Hilgemann before an Emily Meier layup gave the Tigers a double digit advantage at 16-5 with 12:50 left in the first half. The combined scoring efforts of Hilgemann and Meier were key for Marshall’s offense in the first half, with Meier getting a 3-point play before Hilgemann made a layup to put them up 30-9 midway through the frame.
On the other side of the floor, Marshall’s defense continued to pressure Windom Area, holding them scoreless for several minutes until a 3-pointer by the Eagles stopped the bleeding with 5:36 to go in the half. The Tigers had an answer, though, as a Lexie Bednarek layup pushed Marshall’s lead to 25 at 42-17 on its way to taking a 49-20 halftime advantage.
Westby said they were able to take advantage of the open lane against the Eagles’ zone defense, especially Hilgemann and Meier.
“Against their zone, which we didn’t anticipate coming in, we thought we would see some zone but not that much and it just felt like the middle of their zone was open and I think that’s where Emily got so many opportunities. She was also able to knock down some jump shots, normally her strength is going to the basket and scoring that way, but she was able to hit some jump shots in the middle of the lane. Jordyn also had some nice layup opportunities in the first half that helped give us that cushion.”
Marshall kept its foot on the gas pedal in the second half, starting the frame with a 10-3 run before layups by Hilgemann and Abby Wendorff made it 65-23 in the opening minutes. Strong defense by the Tigers led to quick transition baskets, with Ashleigh Steinbach getting a layup before a pair of free throws by Megan Wegner put Marshall up 50 at 73-23.
A 3-point play by Windom Area stopped the Marshall run near the midway mark, but the Tigers continued to attack on the offensive end en route to the 88-35 victory.
Hilgemann led Marshall with 29 points, 20 of those coming in the first half, while Meier added 18 and Wendorff and Bednarek each had eight. Wendorff led in rebounds with seven while Corrin Naughton led in assists with seven. As a team, Marshall shot 56% (36 of 64) from the field, including making 14 of its 19 free-throw attempts.
Defensively, Marshall held Windom Area to just 27% shooting (13 of 48) and forced 28 turnovers.
Marshall (2-0) will face JCC on Friday at 7:15 p.m. Westby said they improved on things such as limiting turnovers from Saturday’s game and they need to continue to get out in transition and run the floor well as a team.
“We had some things we felt like we did poorly on Saturday, and we needed to address those, and [tonight] some of those things were better,” Westby said. “We didn’t turn it over as much as we did on Saturday, which was a plus and we ran the court well and we always say if you run the court well, you’ll get rewarded and I think a number of our kids did.”
Marshall 88, Windom Area 35
Windom Area 20 15 – 35
Marshall 49 39 – 88
Scoring: Marshall (Hilgemann 13-17, 2-2 29; Meier 6-11, 6-7 18; A. Wendorff 3-5, 2-2 8; Bednarek 4-7, 0-0 8; Steinbach 3-4, 0-0 7; Wegner 2-4, 2-2 6; Simpson 2-6, 1-2 5; Estrada 1-1, 1-2 3; Jones 1-2, 0-0 2; Panka 1-1, 0-0 2).
Rebounds: Marshall 33 (A. Wendorff 7; Meier 6; Steinbach 5).
Assists: Marshall 19 (Naughton 7; Simpson, Hilgemann, Wegner 2).
Steals: Marshall 15 (Hilgemann 4; Simpson 3).
Blocks: Marshall none.