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Girls Basketball: Royals catch fire to beat Brainerd

Rogers 75, Warriors 61 Key: Rogers shot 51 percent from the field Overall: Brd 1-5, R 3-4 Next: Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Tech 7:30 p.m. Jan. 2 Brainerd ran out of defenders Monday night. For one half, the Warriors' defense fortified the paint and...

Brainerd Warrior Katy Johnson dribbles down the floor against Rogers on Monday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Brainerd Warrior Katy Johnson dribbles down the floor against Rogers on Monday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Rogers 75, Warriors 61

Key: Rogers shot 51 percent from the field

Overall: Brd 1-5, R 3-4

Next: Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Tech 7:30 p.m. Jan. 2

Brainerd ran out of defenders Monday night.

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For one half, the Warriors' defense fortified the paint and held Rogers Royals' shooters to 41 percent from the field. Then the second half came and Rogers got hot from everywhere en route to a 75-61 Section 8-4A victory at Brainerd High School.

Rogers hit on 51.8 percent of its shots as senior post Hannah Sjerven scored eight of her 10 points in the second half. Senior forward Marina Nowak finished with a game-high 21 points. Many of those were off of offensive rebounds as the Royals outrebounded Brainerd 42-34.

Those two handled Rogers' inside game and then Taylor Paulsrud decided not to miss as she scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including 1-2 from 3-point, and 2-2 from the line.

"We knew we could go down low with them so we wanted to take care of the basketball and look down low," said Royals head coach Karlee Anderson. "In the second half, we just told the girls to slow it down and look inside. That's what we did. Eventually we kicked it back out and a couple of my girls got hot, which was huge. That was our game plan."

Paulsrud scored six straight points to help Rogers build a 45-35 edge early in the second half. The Royals built it to 67-45 after an 8-2 run capped off by four more Paulsrud points.

"That kid went on fire," said Warriors head coach Troy Nelson. "That's probably the most she's scored in a game in a long time. She was just on fire, though."

Brainerd chipped away to make it 71-58 as Katy Johnson and Jenna Degen hit back-to-back buckets.

Johnson finished with 19 points and seven boards. Degen and Kylee Heurung tallied 14 each, but Brainerd shot just 32.1 percent from the field and turned the ball over 19 times.

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Rogers' post players collected six blocked shots. The Royals received 11 points off the bench and finished with eight assists.

"We wanted to transition and work the ball and break the defense down because we do have good passers," said Anderson. "We have three girls going off to play college basketball. They've played together for a long time. These girls have been together. It's their senior year. It's now or never for them."

The Warriors trailed just 33-27 at the half despite shooting 22 percent in the first half.

"I thought we did a great job of fronting and fighting to get in front," said Nelson. "We also did a great job of backside help. They didn't want to throw it down low with our backside help sitting there. Give credit to the girls. We worked on that the last week of practice and they came out and executed our defense well."

Ashley Huber came off the bench to score six and Mikinze Boeder added four points and five rebounds in relief.

"We never quit and we never gave up and we worked really hard," Nelson said. "I told the girls at halftime we shot 22 percent in the first half and we're only down six. We worked so hard. I have to give all the credit to the girls. They did a great job.

"This is a process. I think at practice we are working hard and we're improving every day. The hope is at some point it's going to click and we're going to win these games."

Rogers 27 34 - 61

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Brainerd 33 42 - 75

ROGERS

Madison Mikolich 1, Adri Tjeerdsma 6, Madelyn Thiebault 2, Bailey Miller 4, Taylor Anderson 2, Taylor Paulsrud 19, Megan Secrist 2, Marina Nowak 21, Hannah Sjerven 10, Paige Dobberstein 8. FG 29-56 (51.8 percent), FT 15-23 (65.2 percent). 3-point 2-6 (33.3 percent).

BRAINERD

Jenna Degen 14, Katy Johnson 19, Ariana Huber 2, Kylee Heurung 14, Ashley Huber 6 Mikinze Boeder 4, Tedi Ramberg 2. FG 18-56 (32.1 percent), FT 20-33 (60.6 percent). 3-point 5-20 (25 percent).

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .

Brainerd Warrior Jenna Degen tries to get off a shot against Rogers on Monday night. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Brainerd Warrior Jenna Degen tries to get off a shot against Rogers on Monday night. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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