Girls Basketball: Warriors grind out a solid win over Monticello

Brainerd Warrior Olivia Tautges drives for the basket Tuesday, Feb. 4, against the Monticello Magic at Brainerd High School. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Balanced scoring and solid defense proved to be enough for the Brainerd Warriors as they walked away with a 58-44 win over the Monticello Magic Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Brainerd High School.

“I thought we came out with great energy,” Warriors head coach Troy Nelson said. “We knew they had a couple of posts we were going to have to take away. I think the kids really bought into the gameplan.”

Olivia Tautges led all scorers with 19 points, highlighted by a backbreaking 3-pointer with 4:33 remaining. Ally Bzezinski and Myah Nelson both added 13 points as Brainerd’s offense wore the Magic’s defense out.

“We really played team offense,” Bzezinski said. “We passed it around, looked for good shots, didn’t take shots to benefit ourselves and when we play team basketball we do pretty well.


“It just makes it so much more fun to play basketball with each other when everyone scores. We trust each other and if we get open shots it makes it a whole lot more fun out there.”

Brainerd found itself with a comfortable 32-16 lead headed into halftime thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by Autumn Miles and Myah Nelson.

The Magic started the second half on a 9-0 run and kept Brainerd scoreless for nearly seven minutes. A couple of Myah Nelson free throws followed by a Bzezinski score and a Kate Stadum 3-pointer, swung the momentum back to the Warriors favor.

The Warriors shot 49% from the field and 43% from 3-point to keep the game out of the Magic’s reach.

Troy Nelson said it’s the fourth straight game his girls have shot well from the field. It’s a trend he hopes continues.

“We are running our offense so much better now that we are getting better shots,” Troy Nelson said. “I truly believe it’s because of our ball movement and working for a good shot. It sets the tone for the game and it is so much easier to play defense when you are making shots.”

On defense, Brainerd stuck with its 1-3-1 zone most of the game. One of the goals was to hold Monticello’s leading scorer Anna Olson under her average of 19 points-per-game. The Warriors defense held Olson to 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting.

Overall, the Warriors held the Magic to 32% shooting from the field and 24% from 3-point range.


“We probably played our zone different than we have ever played it before,” Troy Nelson said. “We packed it in and left kids just open to shoot. I thought we did a good job of putting a body on their two bigs and getting a good boxout.”

Monticello grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, but only managed four second-chance points. The total rebound battle finished even at 30-30.

“Our biggest key to the game was winning the rebound battle,” Troy Nelson said. “To come out even there was huge for us, so I was really excited for our kids.”

Brainerd started fast getting out to a 9-2 lead before Monticello called timeout five minutes in. In the first half, Brainerd shot 59% from the field and 57% from 3.

“We were screening good and we were open off the curls and screens,” Myah Nelson said of the hot shooting. “It really motivates us when we shoot well, and then it gives us energy for the defensive end.”

Next, the Warriors travel to Willmar Thursday, Feb. 6. Willmar beat Brainerd 50-37 Dec. 19 and Troy Nelson thinks if his team brings the same energy they brought Tuesday they can hang with Willmar.

“If we have good ball movement and shot selection I think our chances Thursday,” Troy Nelson said.

Brzezinski also hopes they can build off the win over Monticello.


“Last time we played Willmar we shot a lot for ourselves, so we just need to play team basketball, pass to each other, trust each other and play team defense,” Bzezinski said.

For more photos of the Warrior girls basketball game against the Monticello Magic go to

Monticello 16 28 -- 44
Brainerd 32 27 -- 58

Madison Katzenberger 7, Lauran Zwack 2, Katelyn Lindberg 2, Alayna Manning 2, Anna Olson 13, Olivia Hanson 5, Cat Terres 4, Morgynn Spears 9. FG 16-50 (32%), FT 8-12 (75%). 3-point 4-17 (24%).


Kate Stadum 3, Myah Nelson 13, Autumn Miles 5, Ally Brzezinski 13, Olivia Tautges 19, Erika Lane 6. FG 19-39 (49%), FT 15-24 (63%). 3-point 6-14 (43%).

Warriors 58, Monticello 44

Key: Olivia Tautges’ 19 points paced the Warriors to a wire-to-wire victory over the Monticello Magic

Overall: Brd 9-10, Mont 11-7.

Next: Brainerd at Willmar 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.

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