Like Marshall, Duluth Marshall and Simley, I spent Saturday on the road. All 3 were the visitors at Hill-Murray, Mounds Park and East Ridge, as was I, and all 3 got nice road wins. Marshall came from as many as 10 points down to win in a 2 OT thriller, while Duluth Marshall and Simley won more easily by 20 and by 11.
Marshall 64 Hill Murray 56 (2 OT)
Hill-Murray led the visitors from Marshall 19-9 early and 46-43 with 2 minutes to go in regulation. Jordyn Hilgemann, Marshall’s top scorer for the season at 19 ppg, had been held scoreless all day long, but broke loose 11 points in the final 8:35, to lead Marshall to the win. Actually 6 different Marshall players scored in the final 10 minutes—2 minutes of regulation and 2 4-minute OT.
Lenei Estrada hit a pair of throws, Hilgemann scored her 1st bucket and Hannah Meier scored on a dribble drive up the right baseline at 0:06.8 to force the 1st OT. Hill-Murray led again in the OT 55-51 but Kaia Sueker hit a pair of throws and Hilgemann hit a 3 and 2 throws at 0:24 to tie it up at 56. Grace Prokosch missed a pair of throws at 0:10.3.
Finally, in the 2nd OT, Marshall held Hill-Murray scoreless while Paige Andries scored on a left-handed baby hook and Sueker and Hilgemann drained 6-of-6 throws for the final score.
Hill-Murray’s defense was dominant in the 1st half, as Madisen Rogers frustrated Hilgemann and Vanessa Wren harassed the Marshall’s ball-handlers and kept the Tigers out of their offense. In the 2nd half, Sueker and Estrada did a better job of spreading the floor and pushing the pace, and eventually the Pioneers’ defensive energy flagged just enough. Both Wren and Rogers fouled out, Wren on an offensive pick with 2 minutes left in regulation and Rogers on a charge with 2 minutes remaining in the 1st OT.
All 5 starters—Meier, Suecker, Andries, Estrada and Hilgemann—were all in double figures for Marshall. Delaney Runyon led Hill-Murray with 23 including 6-of-10 3s, while Prokosch added 11. Both teams shot 45 percent from the field but Marshall made 22-of-31 FT (71 percent) while Hill-Murray made just 7-of-19 (37 percent). Marshall also had a huge 36-21 advantage on the boards.
Duluth Marshall 62 Mounds Park 42
The hosts from Mounds Park has just 8 girls on the roster and 2 were unavailable on Saturday while playing club soccer. Meanwhile, Duluth Marshall was coming off a big, emotional, 1st-time-ever win over Duluth East the night before, and had to make a quick turnaround for a noon start time. Not only that, but the plan trip to the Mall of America fell through and, “The girls were really bummed,” according to one parent. So Marshall fans feared a let-down.
It didn’t happen, as Marshall never trailed. Mounds Park trailed by one at 3-2 and 6-5, but then it was 11-5, then 17-8, then 21-10. The Panthers got within 26-21 as Abby Goodno scored off the offensive glass at about 2 minutes. But by half-time the Hilltoppers were back up by double digits, 33-21, and 6 minutes into the 2nd half it was 47-26.
Sophomore point guard Grace Kirk scored 22 on 7-of-12 shooting for Duluth, with 4 boards, 2 assists and just one turnover. She made 3-of-4 3s in the 1st half. Freshman wing Gianna Kneepkens scored 16 on 5-of-16 shooting with 6 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals and also just one turnover. Freshman Hannah Bradshaw came off the bench to add 10.
Kirk will be playing for Stars Nelson next summer, and W.H. Nelson was there to watch the game. Kneepkens will play for North Tartan Dickman.
Meanwhile, wing Ahnili Johnson-Jennings was playing her final game for Marshall. Her parents have accepted jobs in Canada and they’ll be moving next week. She managed to make just 1-of-7 shots, all 3s, but added 5 boards, 2 steals and a block. Marshall has 11 players on its roster but plays a rotation of 8, and so she will be missed.
Abby Goodno was pretty much the entire show for Mounds Park. With just 6 players available, everybody got worn out for the Panthers, Goodno included. She shot just 8-of-25 but made 3-of-4 3s in the 1st 12 minutes, then just 1-of-5 the rest of the way. 8th grader Kaija Kunze-Hoeg added 12 for Mounds.
Simley 47 East Ridge 36
With Duluth Marshall and Mounds Park squaring off at noon, and Marshall and Hill-Murray not getting underway until 5, surely there was something that would fit in between. Well, a 2 p.m. start at East Ridge filled the bill.
An East Ridge parent informed me before the tip-off that the young Raptors are averaging about 30-31 turnovers per game, and in fact turn it over on 50 percent of their possessions. And that was how things started off. What surprised me was not that the Raptors guards turned it over, but that it was the East Ridge wings that turned it over even more, often on attempts to get the ball into the post.
So, Simley took an early 13-6 lead, but they could not put the Raptors away. A pair of 3s by sophomore guard Ella Stegeman and junior wing Chloe Stoehr got East Ridge within 23-20 at 1:45. In fact, it was just 23-21 at the half.
Meanwhile, Simley was without guard Ravyn Miles who has a mild ankle sprain. She is expected back but will not be 100 percent for Monday’s game at St. Kate’s against Hutchinson. In her absence, Sydney Stensgard was the Spartans’ main offensive threat with 20 points. East Ridge managed to tie it up at 27, but Stensgard hit a 3 and 3 2s in the next 4 minutes to make it 39-31 and Simley coasted from there. In fact, the Raptors did not score in the game’s final 6:41. Stensgard was the only player on either side to score in double digits. Stegeman and Kate Burns, both sophomores, lead East Ridge with 7 each.
Simley coach Mark Stensgard used a 5-girl 2nd string who checked into the game en masse several times throughout the game and 8th graders Sydney Runsewe and I’Tianna Salaam both showed quickness and good instincts and scored 10 points between them in limited minutes.