MARSHALL - Two games into the season, the Marshall girls' basketball team is seeing many positives on the court.
But the Tigers know there are a few things they can work on to keep improving on their 2-0 record after defeating Mankato West 66-52 on Thursday.
"I thought we had two stretches defensively where we lost track of shooters," said Marshall head coach Dan Westby. "They hit some 3s and that allowed them to come back into it. But with nine minutes left in the second half, they had scored five points in the half."
Photo by Alex Oey
Marshall point guard Kelsey Saugstad, center, dribbles past a Mankato West player on her way to the basket as Tiger forward Kenzie Beekman, right, looks on during Thursday’s non-conference game at Marshall High School. Saugstad scored 10 points in the Marshall victory.
The girls also knew that the Scarlets had a little more height on their roster and a couple shooters to be concerned about.
"We knew they had two pretty big players and we had to box out," said Hannah Bennett. "We knew they had a few people that could shoot the ball. We really focused on boxing out.
The Tigers trailed only once in the game, falling behind 7-6 with 14:37 on the clock. It took the Scarlets (1-1) a full 4:30 to find the basket again, by which time Marshall had built a 20-9 lead with Kenzie Beekman finding the basket, Sarah Andersen converting a three-point play, followed by a pair of buckets from Bennett.
Mankato West (52)
Lexi Schoper 5 2-5 14, Mackenzie Franke 2 0-0 6, Malorie Veroeven 3 0-1 7, Sarah Buryska 1 0-0 3, Lindsay Nelson 2 0-0 5, Jennifer Larsen 1 0-0 2, Cara Christiansen 3 5-8 11, Lauren Resner 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 7-14 52 Three-Pointers 7 (Schoper 2, Franke 2, Veroeven, Buryska, Lindsay Nelson) Rebounds 22 (Christiansen 12) Steals 11 (Schoper 7) Blocks 1 (Christiansen) Turnovers 24.
Sarah Buysse 2 1-2 5, Morgan Saugstad 3 3-4 10, Kelsey Saugstad 3 2-2 10, Kenzie Beekman 5 3-3 13, Hannah Bennett 4 3-4 11, Callie Graff 1 4-4 6, Sarah Andersen 3 5-9 11. Totals 21 21-30 66 Three-Pointers 3 (K. Saugstad 2, M. Saugstad) Rebounds 34 (Andersen 11, Beekman 8) Assists 15 (Beekman 3, Andersen 3) Steals 15 (K. Saugstad 5, M. Saugstad 3) Turnovers 12.
Halftime Score: Marshall 40, Mankato West 30.
Marshall went on another stretch where they outscored Mankato West 10-4, building its lead to 30-13 with 5:52 left in the half.
"There was a sequence where everyone was able to move the ball and take control," Andersen said. "There were other times we weren't able to, but overall it went well."
The Scarlets were not finished though, ending the half by outscoring the Tigers 27-10, but Marshall took a 40-30 lead into the half.
"I thought offensively we got out of control and we allowed ourselves to take some bad shots," Westby said. "And we didn't need to do that at that point. That's a big turnaround at that point."
In the second half Marshall tightened up its defense even more, suffocating Mankato West's offense by holding the Scarlets to just seven points over 13 minutes into the half.
"We really had a nice stretch in the second half where we had Callie Graff, Steph Baker, Kenzie Beekman, Morgan Saugstad and Sarah Buysse in there," Westby said. "Those kids did a nice job of looking for the open player, not taking bad shots and not forcing shots. And they played good defense as well for that stretch.
The Tiger offense continued on its attack, going on a 14-0 run at one point and building a 58-35 lead with just over six minutes left in the game. Marshall was able to create offensively, putting together solid possessions when it had the ball.
"The problem was they just got a little tired there," Westby said. "We tried to call a couple time outs and tried to extend it a bit but they were tired."
In the final four minutes the Scarlets were able to cut the lead to 12, but were unable to break through into single digits. The Tigers had five girls in double figures, led by Beekman's 13 in the 66-52 win. Andersen finished with an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double while Bennett came away with 11 points.
Morgan Saugstad and Kelsey Saugstad each pitched in 10 in the win.
"We still have a few offensive things to improve on," Bennett said. "We did have a good stretch were we got a good rhythm going. We are a really good passing team. We work together."
Marshall will be off until next Thursday when they take to the road for the first time to face off against Glencoe-Silver Lake.
"I thought we worked hard in the post," said Westby. "We have to continue that every night."