Minnewaska 41, YME 37
It would have been a nice early Christmas present for the Yellow Medicine East girls to get their first win at home Thursday night, but they'll have to be content with turning in their best performance of the season in a narrow four-point loss to Minnewaska and carry their hopes forward to a new year.
The Sting built a five point lead going into halftime 25-20 (their first halftime lead of the season) with Kelly Anderson converting on short jumpers and Chyanne Sand and Cassie Struffert scrapping down low.
Defensively, Sand's length frustrated Minnewaska's guards for much of the game. When the Sting employed their 3/4-court trap, Sand was the tip of the spear in their 1-2-1-1 set; extending to deflect passes and running down Laker ball handlers. Sand's aggression, defensively, led to five steals on the night for the sophomore forward.
A scrappy battle of a game between two struggling teams that will have to scratch and claw for every win, the game was far from clean and was played on the very edge of control with every pass being tipped and bodies screeching after loose balls.
But Minnewaska would adjust at halftime and the Sting couldn't salt the Lakers away. With four minutes left to play, YME's lead had evaporated. The Sting couldn't recover and Minnewaska put the game away at the free-throw line.
After scoring 25 points in the first half, the Sting scored just 12 in the second as Minnewaska's defense tightened.
Just four players logged points for YME. Anderson led the team with 12 points on the night. Sand followed with 11, while Struffert added six.
Senior Dani Aus, running the point for YME, scored eight in the contest; draining one three-pointer and collecting three assists.
Sand also led the team with nine rebounds.
In a conversation prior to Thursday's game, YME head coach Scott Jans praised his team. "They're not giving up, they're not cashing in. Losing's never fun, but the girls know the only way we can get better is with good competition," he said. "The kids really have good spirit and they're realistic about things. Everything's just a step and they're moving in the right direction."
Jans said the team knew things would get tough after they lost starting senior point guard Braelee Aus in the preseason. "When Braelee went down with her knee over in Canby. We knew it was going to make rebuilding a lot tougher," said Jans. "We don't really have a natural point now, the girls that will be playing that role are probably better suited to play on the wing, but we have to make do. And right now we're not interested in throwing any young kid to the wolves, as it were."
Page 2 of 2 - The girls will have a short break for the holidays before they throw themselves head long into another monumental challenge on Saturday, Dec. 29 when they face undefeated Dawson-Boyd as part of the Borch's Sporting Goods Holiday Classic at Southwest Minnesota State.
YME (0-7) 25 12 — 37
Minnewaska (3-5) 20 21 — 41
Yellow Medicine East
Team stats: 15-45 FG (1-6 3-pt); 6-15 FT; 27 rebounds; 19 fouls
Scoring: Dani Aus 8, Kelly Anderson 12, Chyanne Sand 11, Cassie Struffert 6 3-point shots: Aus 1 Rebound leaders: Sand 9, Struffert 6 Assist leaders: Aus 3 Steal leaders: Sand 5
Team stats: 16-56 FG (0-10 3-pt); 9-22 FT; 27 rebounds; 14 fouls
Scoring: Bayley Pooler 11, Myranda Swensrud 1, Madison Phillips 5, Ariel Ostrander 3, Ashlynn Guggisberg 6, Veronica Weisal 4, Sydney Joos 11 3-point shots: None Rebound leaders: Joos 7 Assist leaders: Guggisberg 1, Joos 1 Steal leaders: Joos 3, Pooler 3