by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Central girls’ basketball rebounded from their first loss of the season with a defensive-focused home win over Le Sueur-Henderson on Thursday, 48-35.
Head coach Gary Lembcke credited his team’s overall defense for the win.
“We do move very well on defense,” he said. “We were agrresive. I still feel like there were some mistakes we made at different times on rotations and stuff. For the most part we hustled and that can make up for a lot of mistakes.”
Holding just a three point lead at halftime, 18-15, the Raiders (3-1) opened up a quick lead in the second half, maintaining a near double-digit advantage throughout.
Natalie Stockman opened the half with a three-point play inside and, after Carlie Brandt made a floater, Stockman answered again with a layin at the other end.
The Giants would get another score, but Sami Jo Brinkmann got a nice roll on a score inside and Kali Grimm added a 3-pointer from the corner for a 28-19 advantage with 13 minutes remaining.
Holding onto the lead thanks in part to the inside play of Bren Fox, who finished the game with four points.
“What I was hoping for and it did work is we had Sami and Bren out there at the same time that they were going to get some mismatches,” said Lembcke. “It worked. Bren did knock down a few shots.”
Brandt then started leading the charge for the Giants, but Brinkmann secured the ball in close, rebounded her own miss, gathered and scored inside after being fouled. Her made free throw gave the Raiders a 40-28 edge with about 3 minutes remaining.
Central then made their free throws down the stretch and Brinkmann added the final score with just a few seconds remaining.
More impressively though was her defense, though she said there are improvements they could make.
“We just got to get more stops and more rebounds for sure, less second chances for them,” she said.
The overall strong team defense showed from the outset as they opened with a 10-1 advantage with about 10 minutes left. Alli Curson added four and Brinkmann scored three points in the stretch.
Kaylie Brazil added a jumper and Brinkmann made a bucket inside to push the lead to 14-6, but the Giants would go on a 6-0 run to cut the advantage to one with 5 minutes left.
“It just seemed like we got a little sloppy on offense,” he said. “We tried to force things. One of the things we need to keep working on is letting the offense happen and move the ball and find the good shots. Right now, we’re trying to force things to happen.”
Brinkmann then recorded her fourth block of the first half and Stockman made a jumper and Megan Geis had a late layin before the Giants’ Breanna Kroehler made two free throws with 16.7 seconds remaining in the half.
Brinkmann said they still have some things to work on offensively to be more consistent.
“Offensively we need to move more and find openings,” said Brinkmann. “We were taking decent shots. I think they just weren’t falling, but I think eventually through the season they’ll start falling.”
LSH 13 22 – 35
Central 18 30 – 48
LSH – Mckayla Stowell 4 0-0 9, Carlie Brandt 7 2-5 17, Samantha Winter 1 0-0 2, Breanna Kroehler 0 4-4 4, Stephanie Winter 1 1-4 3, Mandy Doerr 0 0-0 0, Selena Wiederich 0 0-0 0, TOTALS 13 7-13 35
Central – Kaylie Brazil 1 7-9 9, Natalie Stockman 3 3-3 9, Kali Grimm 2 0-0 5, Megan Geis 1 0-2 2, Sami Jo Brinkmann 5 2-3 12, Megan Miller 0 0-0 0, Alli Curson 2 0-0 4, Madison Schlueter 0 0-0 0, Sara Marschall 0 0-0 0, Bren Fox 2 1-2 5, Shyann Wickenhauser 1 0-0 2, Grace Wickenhauser 0 0-0 0, TOTALS 17 13-19 48
Three Pointers – LSH 2 (Stowell, Carlie Brandt), Central 1 (Grimm)
The Raiders traveled to face Watertown-Mayer Tuesday and will host Sibley East on Friday, Dec. 20, before getting a week off for the holidays ahead of a home tournament on Dec. 27 and 28.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.