Minneota got off to a strong start, building an 0-11 lead early. The Sting had several chances to score but were having trouble dealing with the pressure from the Vikings. Meeghen Dahlager finally put the Sting on the board after eight minutes with a 3 point shot. Madison Hinz and Dahlager scored a bunch of 3 point shots to catch YME up 19-20. They finished the first half down but close, 22-29.

The girls did a better job shutting down Minneota’s offense in the second half. They weren’t doing their normal full court press strategy, partly because they were short handed on the bench. Hannah Gullickson wasn’t able to play tonight. They needed to conserve energy. The Sting got close to tying, 30-35. A few intercepted passes and steals about 8 minutes in marked the beginning of the end. YME stayed in it as Minneota gradually put up points, finishing the game 57-39.

Coach Haakenson reported, “I think going in we were a bit concerned. We didn’t practice well on Friday, and didn’t have much intensity vs MACCRAY. We didn’t practice well on Monday either. I was worried about how we’d come out and play, but in the end I was very proud of the girls. They played a pretty good basketball team. Whoever represents our section is going to do just fine in the State Tournament. ­­

The scoreboard may have said we lost by 18 but I feel like the game was a lot closer than that. Minneota beat Southwest Minnesota Christian 80-48. (Southwest Minnesota Christian won the State Tournament the last 3 out of 4 years.) They have been a very tough basketball team and they’re playing well. We’ve had a good year, but one of my gripes has been ‘can we rise to the occasion when we play a good team.’ I feel like we practiced the way we did because we were afraid of the team we were playing.

But, we came out and we competed, and I’m proud of our girls for that. Minneota does such a good job on defense, we had a hard time dealing with the pressure and getting into continuity. To our credit the girls battled back from being down double digits. We don’t always do that. Doing that against a good team is a huge positive.

This season I think we developed as a team very well. Sam Anderson has improved remarkably from last year - her drive, her attitude, her scoring, everything is a lot better. We have a few staples, like Madi and Anna, and sometimes I fail to give them as much credit because there’s just that expectation. They certainly improved this year. Madi was very confident from the outside. Kenzie works so hard for us every practice, and she’s so tough. Meeghan has been driving to the basket, which has been making a big difference.

We have a balanced offense, a bunch of girls that can score in double digits. We did well record wise (18-8), it was a successful season. We’re going to miss our seniors. Any time you lose your all time leading scorer (Anna McCosh) that’s going to change things. Kaitlyn Mortenson is such a hard worker, she could distribute the ball, score, rebound, and play defense. Kaitlyn Mathiowetz and Chelsea Niemeyer did well rising to the challenge. We’re replacing a lot of seniors, but we have a lot of experience. With who we have coming back, we have to develop some depth, but when we do I think record-wise we can be every bit as good as we were this season.”

Section 3A Playoffs; 2nd Round

YME vs MACCRAY

On Saturday, the Sting girls played MACCRAY with the stands packed with fans. The game started out a bit slow. YME built a double digit lead early. MACCRAY kept themselves in the game with free throws, knocking down an impressive 12 of 18 attempts in the 1st half. In fact, MACCRAY only had three Field Goals (regular, two point shots) during the entire 1st half. Sam Anderson hit a big 3 point shot right before the half to give YME a' 16 point lead, 35-19.

During the second half, the sound of a whistle was a near constant. Both teams were playing very intensely. The Sting gradually continued to build points. Anna McCosh scored a double double and helped set up quite a few plays. The final score was YME 64, MACCRAY 39.

The win puts YME at 18 wins and 7 losses on the year. Coach Haakenson reported, “The continuity of the game was disrupted by numerous jump balls and fouls. The flow of the game was non existent. There were so many stoppages in play that it was difficult for either side to gain any momentum. While the game was not played as well as we would have liked, the bottom line was that we won. Despite taking several timeouts to talk about offense, we struggled to get into any flow. I felt like we lacked the patience to allow for better shot selection. Of course, to be fair, we like the game to be fast paced. Sometimes, it's hard to shift gears and oscillate between fast paced and patience.”

Halftime Score: YME-35 MACCRAY-19

Final Score: YME-64 MACCRAY-39

YME Scoring: Anna McCosh-16; Kenzie Dyrdahl-13; Madi Hinz-13; Sam Anderson-10

YME Rebounding: Anna McCosh-12; Kenzie Dyrdahl-6

YME Assists: Meeghen Dahlager-10; Madi Hinz-5

YME Steals: Meeghen Dahlager-4; Madi Hinz-4; Anna McCosh-4

YME Blocks: Hannah Gullickson-2

MACCRAY Scoring: Sydney Switters-14