PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Key run in first half lifts No. 5 Marshall to 76-26 win over Luverne
MARSHALL — Heading into its final home games of the regular season this week, the No. 5 Marshall girls basketball team looked to maintain its momentum against Luverne. The Cardinals challenged MHS in the first few minutes, but a 32-7 run to end the first half was the difference, as Marshall cruised to a 76-26 victory Tuesday.
Marshall coach Dan Westby said he was pleased with how his team was able to overcome a slow start offensively to build a comfortable lead at halftime.
“Luverne’s got a very athletic team and they’re young, so those kids will be a force to be reckoned with down the road,” Westby said. “But it was kind of a sluggish start, both teams had a difficult time getting the ball to go in the basket, but we made that nice push right before the half and I think that was kind of the difference in the game.”
After neither side could get a basket to start, Abby Wendorff scored a layup to get Marshall on the board before Luverne got a layup to make it a one-point game at 7-6 with 13:30 left in the first half. Emily Meier then found the basket for a layup to help spark a 6-0 Marshall run before Jordyn Hilgemann connected on a 3-pointer and layup to push the lead to 24-10.
With Marshall’s defense applying pressure and forcing several Cardinals turnovers, MHS was able to get out in transition and push its advantage even further, as a 3-pointer from Wendorff made it 33-13 with 4:50 to play in the frame. Marshall then closed the half on a 9-2 run to take a 42-15 advantage going into the locker rooms.
Westby said their key during their run was their defensive pressure as well as their play in the half-court defense.
“I think our pressure wore them down a little bit, they had a shorter bench [tonight] and I think that kind of got to them,” Westby said. “And then I thought our kids did some good things in the half-court defense as well.”
Marshall kept up its strong play to start the second half, using layups from Hilgemann and Wendorff to highlight an 11-3 run in the opening minutes and push the advantage to 53-18 with 15 minutes left. Marshall would lead by as many as 50 at 74-24 on a jumper by Kendra Webb with two minutes to go en route to the 76-26 victory.
Hilgemann led Marshall with 19 points while Wendorff and Bri Simpson each added 13 and Ashleigh Steinbach had eight. Wendorff and Webb led in rebounds with three each while Hilgemann led in assists with three. As a team, Marshall shot 52% (30 of 58) from the field, including 6 of 17 from 3-point range.
Defensively, Marshall held Luverne to 42% shooting (11 of 26), including not allowing a 3-pointer and forcing 33 turnovers.
Marshall (13-0) will face No. 6 Waconia at home on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. With only one day of practice to prepare for the Wildcats, Westby knows they’re going to need to be ready to go, especially defensively.
“We have one practice to get ready and it’s certainly a quality opponent that we’re facing and fortunately we get to play at home, so that will be a plus,” Westby said. “They’re kind of a three-headed monster, with three kids that can really hurt you in a number of ways, so it’s going to take another tremendous defensive effort on our part.”
Marshall 76, Luverne 26
Luverne 15 11 – 26
Marshall 42 34 – 76
Scoring: Marshall (Hilgemann 9-14, 0-0 19; A. Wendorff 5-8, 2-2 13; Simpson 4-6, 3-4 13; Steinbach 2-4, 2-2 8; Meier 2-3, 3-4 7; Jones 2-2, 0-0 4; Wegner 2-6, 0-0 4; Naughton 1-2, 0-0 2; Webb 1-3, 0-0 2; Andries 1-1, 0-0 2; R. Wendorff 1-2, 0-0 2).
Rebounds: Marshall 18 (Wendorff, Webb 3; Wegner, Meier 2).
Assists: Marshall 15 (Hilgemann 3; Wendorff, Wherry, Meier 2).
Steals: Marshall 24 (Hilgemann 5; Wendorff, Naughton, Simpson 3).
Blocks: Marshall 2 (Hilgemann, Panka 1).