Girls Basketball: Sizzling second half lifts Cards past Warriors
Alexandria 55, Warriors 46 The key: The Cardinals shot 67 percent from the field in the second half Conference: Brd 8-5, Alx 12-1 Overall: Brd 10-10, Alx 17-5 Next: Moorhead at Brainerd 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Even though they played much better than ...
The key: The Cardinals shot 67 percent from the field in the second half
Conference: Brd 8-5, Alx 12-1
Overall: Brd 10-10, Alx 17-5
Next: Moorhead at Brainerd 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Even though they played much better than in a 24-point loss Feb. 10 at Alexandria, the Brainerd Warriors didn't have quite enough horsepower to overtake the Cardinals Monday night at Brainerd High School.
The patient Cardinals sank a sizzling 10 of 15 shots from the field in the second half of a 55-46 victory over the Warriors. Alexandria, which sits in second place in the Central Lakes Conference, had won four of its last five games and was coming off a draining 60-59 overtime loss Saturday at Moorhead.
"We've had a tough stretch - four games in six days - our kids are tired emotionally a little bit," Cardinals coach Wendy Kohler said. "We just knew we needed to go in and get some high-percentage shots in the second half and pull away and get things going and kind of kill Brainerd's will in the second half a little bit.
"That was the game plan and I thought the kids did a nice job executing that."
Although Brainerd hung with the taller Cardinals on the glass, with each team latching on to 31 rebounds, the Warriors just couldn't buy a basket. Brainerd finished 12 of 47 (26 percent) from the floor.
"Usually when we shoot poorly our defensive effort drops," Warriors coach Troy Nelson said, "but I thought our defensive effort was sustained the whole game and I was proud of the girls.
"It was a much better effort (than at Alexandria). We got some things fixed the last couple days. I wish we could have made a few more shots and made it even closer and stolen a 'W.'"
The Warriors struggled to contain Alexandria post players, who were led by Brooke Heggie's 18 points, 11 of which she scored in the first half. The 6-foot-1 senior lefty was 8-for-15 from the field, including 3-for-4 in the second half.
"Our post kids have really come a long way," Kohler said. "They've come a long way with their foot work inside and hitting the boards, allowing things to loosen up for our guards.
"Our perimeter people are pretty inexperienced, pretty young. We're looking for leadership from those seniors. We look for them to defend from the inside out, protect the rim."
Sophomore guard Macy Hatlestad provided the Cardinals' outside punch as she scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half. The 5-7 Hatlestad was 3-for-3 from behind the arc in the second half and swished two free throws.
"Our perimeter kids have put a lot of time in their game outside of the basketball court," Kohler said. "Macy was hitting her shots so we ran a couple sets for her and that kind of relaxed us a little bit. She's a tough player, a tough rebounder, a tough kid."
Katy Johnson paced the Warriors with 13 points and 11 boards. Kylee Heurung added 11 points and six rebounds. Jenna Degen contributed 10 points on 7 of 8 free throw shooting, four rebounds and three assists.
The Cardinals focused on shutting down Heurung, Brainerd's leading scorer with an 18.8 season average. They limited her to two points in the first half and to one basket - a three - the entire game. Heurung was 8-for-9 at the foul line.
"Kylee's a really good player," Kohler said. "She scores a lot of points. She's definitely a kid you have to game plan around."
The Warriors scored the game's first five points and later led 10-3 and 12-8. A 10-point run gave Alexandria its first lead - 13-12 - and the Cards eventually upped it to 18-14. Two free throws apiece from Tedi Ramberg and Degen tied it at 18 for the Warriors. Johnson's layup gave Brainerd its final lead, 20-19.
The Cards scored the last six points of the half for a 25-20 edge. Brainerd could get no closer than seven - early in the second half.
"I thought we played really hard. I was really happy with the effort," Nelson said. "Defensively for the most part we played pretty well. Their posts went off there a couple times. We just struggled making shots tonight."
Alexandria 25 30 - 55
Brainerd 20 26 - 46
Kendall Kohler 8, Macy Hatlestad 16, Kiyana Miller 6, Brooke Heggie 18, Cheyenne Hendrickson 4, Emma Ziegler 2, Kayla Feldhake 1. FG 18-42 (43 percent). FT 13-19 (68 percent). 3-point 6-14 (43 percent). Turnovers: 18.
Jenna Degen 10, Katy Johnson 13, Kylee Heurung 11, Ashley Huber 6, Tedi Ramberg 6. FG 12-47 (26 percent). FT 19-26 (73 percent). 3-point 3-14 (21 percent). Turnovers: 15.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .