Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta shot 45 percent from the field and sank 23 of 30 free throws to defeat Montevideo 62-50 Monday night on the road. The Tigers are 11-3 in the West Central Conference South, two games back from Minnewaska in the girls' basketball title race.
"This was a very physical game and free throws really made the difference," said coach Ken Gagner. "We were in double bonus both halves and we just told the kids that they were going to have to be strong with the ball."
The Tigers made a 14-2 run to close the first half and take a 34-22 lead into halftime. The Thunder Hawks outscored the Tigers 10-2 to start the second half to make it a close game once again. The Tigers hit 12 of 14 free throws in the second half to pull away from the Thunder.
"I thought we played very well at times, but then we slipped into some bad habits," said Gagner. "We just need to become more consistent for tournament time.
"The balance in scoring was a positive for us and it was great to see Megan Dierks come away with the double/double of 10 points and 10 rebounds," added Gagner.
"I thought Nicole Gillespie once again was solid, especially in the second half where she scored nine of her game-high 14 points and did not miss from the line," Gagner said.
Gillespie was 8-10 from the charity stripe for the game. She also grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals.
"Stef Strobel was solid and it's great to see her get her scoring touch back. After a few tough games she has now hit 14 and nine the last two," Gagner said.
"Kelsey Amundson was hot off the bench picking up some offensive rebounds and hitting some back-door layups," said Gagner.
She finished with seven points.
"Mary Rentz did not miss from the floor tonight and also hit three of five free throws."
Rentz scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Alissa Melberg had six points, Heather Gagner had three points and three steals, and Jenna Nelson had two points and a team-high four assists.