MARSHALL - The Marshall girls' basketball team took advantage of solid defense and a deep bench to defeat Park of Cottage Grove 52-40 on Friday night at the R/A Facility at Southwest Minnesota State University during the Borch's Sporting Goods Holiday Classic.
"They have a couple kids who are very skilled. That was a priority for us, trying to defend those kids and I thought our kids did a nice job of that," said Marshall head coach Dan Westby. "We thought their bench was a little short, so we wanted to push the ball a little bit."
In the first half the two Wolfpack (7-3 overall) shooters, Larissa Lurken and Sydney Lamberty, gave Park a 4-0 lead, but the Tigers, who are ranked eighth in Class AAA, took the lead for good at 11-8 when Hannah Bennett got her own rebound and put it back with 13 minutes, 21 seconds left in the half.
Photo by Alex Oey
Marshall’s Kelsey Saugstad (13) goes up for a shot in the lane while being defended by a pair of players from Park of Cottage Grove during Day 1 play of the Borch’s Sporting Goods Holiday Classic at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday.
From there Marshall (8-1) quickly doubled up on Park with a layup by Bennett and a 3 from Kelsey Saugstad to go up 16-8.
"We had to cut hard and look for the open areas," Saugstad said. "They did play a zone, so we had to find the open areas on the floor and create."
The Wolfpack ended a nearly eight-minute dry spell when Lurken scored with 6:50 left in the half. During the stretch, the Park offense was very meticulous, often taking 30 seconds or more on offensive possessions.
Larissa Lurken 7 2-4 18, Sydney Lamberty 7 0-0 14, Annie Williams 1 0-0 2, Temi Ogunrinde 1 0-0 2, Carlie Williams 1 0-0 2, Ally Gorres 1 0-4 2. Totals 18 2-8 40 3-Pointers 2 (Lurken 2) Rebounds 21 (Williams 3, Gorres 3) Assists 3 Steals 10 (Lamberty 4, Ogunrinde 3) Blocks 2 Turnovers 10.
Sarah Buysse 1 4-6 7, Morgan Saugstad 1 0-0 2, Kelsey Saugstad 5 3-5 14, Kenzie Beekman 4 1-2 9, Steph Baker 1 0-0 2, Hannah Bennett 6 2-2 14, Callie Graff 1 0-0 2, Sarah Andersen 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 10-15 52. 3-Pointers 2 (Buysse, K. Saugstad) Rebounds 31 (K. Saugstad 10, Beekman 8) Assists 10 (K. Saugstad 4) Steals 7 (K. Saugstad 2, Bennett 2) Blocks 1 (Bennett) Turnovers 22.
Halftime Score: Marshall 26, Park 17.
"I thought our kids did a nice job of defending those two, but I also thought our kids did a nice job of playing good help defense," Westby said. "When those kids decided to go to the basket, we had someone there to cut them off. It was just a good effort defensively for our team."
The Tigers scrapped for their points, getting pairs of free throws from Sarah Buysse and Saugstad, and baskets from Bennett and Steph Baker to take a 26-17 lead into the half.
"There were some times where we came out, went to the basket hard and didn't always get anything out of it," Westby said. "But I thought once we did that, we could look at kicking the ball out and we were able to get some kids open for shots that way."
In the second half Marshall regained a double-digit lead, but Park was able to come back, scoring seven straight points to cut the Tiger lead to four at 28-24.
"We needed to keep playing defense," Bennett said. "We needed to block out, go get the ball and go hard to the basket."
Marshall did just that, quickly rebuilding the lead with runs of four and six points to go back up 38-26 with 10:21 left in the game.
"We talked about the fact that we needed to continue to defend," Westby said. "They started setting some high screens for those kids and we didn't deal with that very well initially, but I thought our kids adjusted pretty well."
With a 10-point lead and just under nine minutes left in the game, the Tigers went on another run to go up by 16 with a pair of baskets from Kenzie Beekman and one from Callie Graff to make it 47-31.
In a reverse of the first half, The Tigers started slowing things down, trying to draw out the Wolfpack defense.
"That's something we haven't really worked on much, but it's something we feel like we're going to need to be able to do. Make teams come out and defend us," Westby said. "They kind of came out in a match-up zone and we wanted to try and get them away from the basket and into a man-to-man."
The Tigers scored only four points in the last 5:48, but it was enough as they came away with the 49-35 win.
Marshall will return to the court tonight when it faces Sioux Falls (S.D.) O'Gorman at SMSU.
"They are a young team, but they are a good team. It will be a tough game again," Westby said. "They have some kids that play hard. They are well coached and it will be a tough matchup."