The Hutchinson girls basketball team was hot and the Marshall girls were just a bit off their game. It was a costly combination for Marshall, which saw its season come to an end Saturday with a 76-60 loss in a Section 2AAA semifinal game played in Hutchinson.
Top-seeded Hutchinson pulled out with a 44-32 halftime lead and maintained a cushion for the remainder of the game against No. 4 seed Marshall. Senior guard Alissa Retterath scored a game-high 28 points, connecting on five three-pointers to help Hutchinson improve its record to 24-3 overall.
"It was one of those nights where nothing went very well for us, and Hutchinson had a lot to do with that. They really played well," said Marshall head coach Dan Westby, whose team ends its season with a 21-7 mark.
"We've been holding team to an average of 47 points per game, and to give up 44 points to them in the first half didn't bode well for us. They shot well and rebounded well, and we didn't rebounded well and were defending poorly by losing some of their shooters."
Hutchinson will face No. 2 seed Mankato East at 7 p.m. Thursday at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter.
Retterath was one of four players to score in double figures for a Hutchinson team Westby said returned all of its starters from last year's squad that lost to Marshall in the section final. Forward Morgan Julius scored 12 points, and Kaylee Kucera and Nichole Wittman each added 10 points.
Kelsey Saugstad 8 6-12 24, Kenzie Beekman 5 6-9 16, Hannah Bennett 2 0-0 5, Kelli VanLeeuwe 10 1-4 11, Jessica Baker 1 0-0 2, Sarah Andersen 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 13-25 60. Three-pointers 3 Rebounds 28 (Andersen 7) Assists 8 (Bennett 2, Andersen 2) Steals 10 (Bennett 4) Blocks 0 Turnovers 6 Total Fouls 21.
Alissa Retterath 8 7-8 28, Kaylee Kucera 4 2-4 10, Morgan Julius 6 0-0 12, Nichole Wittman 4 0-0 10, Molly Monahan 3 2-5 8, Taylor Jurgenson 1 0-2 2, Maddie Christie 2 2-2 6. Totals 28 13-21 76. Three-pointers 7 (Retterath 5, Wittman 2) Total Fouls 19.
Halftime Score: Hutchinson 44, Marshall 32.
Three players combined to score 51 of Marshall's 60 points. Junior guard Kelsey Saugstad led the way with 24 points, sophomore forward Kenzie Beekman had 16 points, and senior guard Kelli VanLeeuwe chipped in 11 points.
Marshall committed just six turnovers in the game, but Westby said the Tigers just couldn't seem to get into a rhythm offensively to mount a rally.
"We got behind early and Retterath scored two layups in traffic right before half to make it a 12-point lead," he said. "We got it down to eight a few times, but every time we got it down they seemed to answer with a three."
Saturday was the final game for three Marshall seniors - VanLeeuwe, Jessica Baker and Morgan McKittrick, who has been out most of the season with a knee injury. Though Marshall wasn't able to repeat as section champion, Westby said his players have a lot to be proud of.
"It was a good year overall," said Westby, whose team went undefeated in Southwest Conference play. "We're going to miss the leadership of those three seniors.
"This loss showed us that there are certainly some things we need to get better at. We need to rebound better in the future. That's something that's all about heart and finding a way."