Tiger girls stay alive in conference battle
The Morris Area/ Chokio-Alberta girls' basketball team fell to West Central Conference South-leading Minnewaska Tuesday, but stayed alive in the race by defeating Yellow Medicine East Thursday. The Lakers are 12-1 in the conference, while the Tigers are 10-3.
Minnewaska won its 10th straight game and improved its lead to two in the conference with a 66-57 victory over the Tigers in Morris.
The Lakers led for most of the game, taking a 30-22 lead into halftime.
"The Lakers were an impressive 18-21 from the free-throw line, which kept the Tigers from closing the gap late in the game," said coach Ken Gagner.
The Tigers were 9-of-19 at the line.
"Our defense was absolutely awful - the worst it has been all year," added Gagner. "I blame myself for not having this team ready. We put on a clinic on how to give up easy baskets. Minnewaska probably should have won this game by 25. We were fortunate just to hang around."
Mary Rentz led the Tigers with 15 points and five rebounds. Heather Gagner added 13 and Nicole Gillespie chipped in 10 points.
Also scoring were Stefanie Strobel with eight, Jenna Nelson with seven, and Kelsey Amundson and Megan Dierks with two apiece.
Alissa Melberg also grabbed five rebounds.
Nelson dished out a team-high four assists.
Despite shooting 15-32 from the line, the Tigers were able to escape with a win on senior night at the Tiger Center.
"The Tigers did not have a great start as they fell behind by eight after the first ten minutes of the game," said Gagner.
The Tigers then rallied behind Nelson who scored seven of her eight points in the first half to help the Tigers take a one-point lead (24-23) into the lockerroom.
The Tigers then went on an 11-0 run to start the second half and held on after The Sting twice chipped the lead to five.
Strobel scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the second half and Rentz and Gillespie each hit eight to keep the Sting at bay.
Gagner went 3-4 on the line and played turnover-free ball as well.
"It was a good win for us against a quality YME team," said Gagner. "We probably caught a few breaks in the game when the ball seemed to fall our way and I'll take that every time."
Scoring for the Tigers were Gillepsie with 13, Rentz with 12, Nelson with eight, Dierks with six, and Amundson and Gagner with three apiece.
Dierks and Melberg led the Tigers with five rebounds each.
Strobel recorded four steals, while Nelson and Gagner each had three to lead the team.
Gagner dished out a team-high four assists.