Central girls pick up three straight wins, two in MRC

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Alli Curson weaves past a few defenders for a lay-in during a win against Jordan at home last Tuesday. (NYA Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)

by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

The Central girls’ basketball team recorded three team wins and a pair of major individual accomplishments this past week.
The Raiders picked up a home win over Jordan last Tuesday, 71-60, defeated Belle Plaine on the road Friday, 72-54, and cruised past Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School on Monday, 64-24.
Additionally, Kaylie Brazil scored 21 points against ACGC to become the seventh girl in school history to score 1,000 career points. She entered the game 14 points shy of the mark.
Brazil also recorded nine steals against ACGC, giving her the school’s career record for thefts with 364, surpassing Mackenzie Wolter, who had 361.
Previous Central girls to reach 1,000 career points include Kathy Heuer (1,276) in 1986-90, Mackenzie Wolter (1,268) in 2005-09, Lexi Erpenbach (1,220) in 2009-13, Afton Wolter (1,210) in 2008-12, Becky Jorgenson (1,177) in 1991-95 and Jill Pieschke (1,100) in 1992-96.
Brazil, the first to accomplish the feat as a junior, has picked up her scoring of late too, tallying 127 points in the last five games.
“It means a lot cause I work hard and I get a lot of support from everyone,” said Brazil, who got it on a 3-pointer midway through the second half when the game was in hand. “You know, I was trying to work the ball around and score. If it happened, it happened.”
Head coach Gary Lembcke praised Brazil for the way she has developed as a scorer.
“I think she’s got a lot of different ways to score,” he said. “As an eighth-grader she was a 3-point shooter. This year she has added the drive and pull-up and is taking the jump shot in the lane.”
The Raiders improved to 10-4 (5-1) on the season, which puts them in a tie for second in the Minnesota River Conference.

Central 64, ACGC 24
Central raced out to a quick 7-0 lead and never looked back as they recorded 17 steals in the first half.
“We jumped out right away and we just seemed to get them fits,” said head coach Gary Lembcke.

Central – Kaylie Brazil 21. Kali Grimm 11, Sami Jo Brinkmann 8, Natalie Stockman 6, Grace Wickenhauser 4, Bren Fox 4, Sara Marschall 3, Madison Schlueter 2, Alli Curson 2, Megan Geis 2, Shyann Wickenhauser 0, Clare Stuewe 0,     Paige Schneider 0, Assists 14 (Stockman 4), Rebounds 37 (Curson 11), Steals 18 (Brazil 9), Blocks 4 (Brazil 2, Brinkmann 2)

Central 72, Belle Plaine 54
The Raiders picked up a key Minnesota River Conference win on the road against Belle Plaine on Friday, 72-54 in a Minnesota River Conference matchup.
The Raiders started slow, falling behind 23-12 before switching up the defense, according to head coach Gary Lembcke.
“We switched defenses and put Natalie Stockman on their best player who had 10 points at that time,” said “She did not score the rest of the game. This is the second game in a row that we put Natalie on the teams best player and she has done a great job defending them.”
The Raiders took a halftime lead at 31-30.
“The second half we built an 8 point lead only to let Belle Plaine tie the game,” said Lembcke. “We then picked up our game and pulled away from Belle Plaine.”
As she closed in on the 1,000th point mark, Kaylie Brazil filled up the stat sheet with 30 points, six rebounds, seven assists and eight steals.
Sami Jo Brinkmann had 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Kali Grimm added 17 points and Alli Curson grabbed 13 rebounds.

Central – Kaylie Brazil 30, Sami Jo Brinkmann 19, Kali Grimm 17, Natalie Stockman 2, Megan Miller 2, Bren Fox 2, Alli Curson 0, Megan Geis 0, Madison Schlueter 0, Sara Marschall 0, Shyann Wickenhauser 0. Assists 16 (Brazil 7, Grimm 5), Rebounds 48 (Brinkmann 16, Curson 13), Steals 16 (Brazil 8), Blocks 5 (Brinkmann 3)

Central 71, Jordan 60
The Raiders got a convincing win in a Minnesota River Conference matchup, defeating Jordan, 71-60, last Tuesday.
Ahead by 12 at the half, Jordan’s hot shooting coupled with some misses from the free throw line for the Raiders cut the lead to 47-42 on a three-pointer by Ashley Fruend, one of nine triples for the Jaguars.
The Raiders’ Kali Grimm, who had a game-high 22 points, answered with a 3-pointer with under 14 minutes left.  Jordan’s Trianna Thong would hit another three-pointer, but it was then when Kaylie Brazil and Sami Jo Brinkmann came alive for the Raiders.
Brazil, who finished with 20 points, hit a three-pointer to give the Raiders a 60-46 edge and a Brinkmann bucket made it 64-52 with under 8 minutes left, a lead they would maintain thanks to their defensive effort.
Central head coach Gary Lembcke said the nine three-pointers from Jordan weren’t a surprise, but his team lost their shooters at times especially in the second half, when the offense didn’t get going.
“We needed more movement on our offense,” he said. “It seemed like we were standing around and not getting there. It seemed like at the time we stood around on defense and weren’t getting out on their shooters. We just had that little lull in there and they corrected it.”
Central had some struggles on the offensive end in the second half, especially from the line as they made just 7-20 from the stripe in the second half, compared to 14-of-16 in the first half.
“Usually the people that are at the line are very good free throw shooters,” said Lembcke. “So that kind of shocked me. We missed a lot of them down the stretch. Luckily we had a big enough cushion and we still kept playing defense.”
The Raiders fell behind 7-0 at the onset of the game, but picked up their offense in convincing fashion taking their first lead at 13-11 on a three-pointer by Grimm.
The teams traded baskets from there until Brinkmann got going despite the presence of the Jaguars’s 6-1 Karlie Nielsen. Brinkmann scored inside to give the Raiders a 20-18 lead then putback her own shot for a four-point edge with under 8 minutes remaining.
“It really helped out,” he said. “They jumped out on that 7-0 run for us and we didn’t lose focus. We were in a box and 1 on defense… Kali got hot and it put us right back in the game. Our defense got going.”
Grimm followed with a three-pointer to make it 25-18, but the Jaguars went a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 25-23.
Grimm, who scored 17 first-half points, then hit back-to-back buckets for a 29-23 edge with about 5 minutes left.
“I just tried to make shots for myself and drive, but I also tried to make shots for other people so I could dish it off,” said Grimm.
Brazil later made a layup to make it 38-25 with just over 1 minutes remaining and Alli Curson weaved past a couple of defenders for a score. Brinkmann later scored inside for a 12-point advantage at the half, 42-30, which they would more or less maintain in the second half to get the win.
“We knew we had to win to get back into conference and we just wanted to bring the intensity,” said Grimm. “It’s always nice to beat Jordan.”

Jordan   30 30 60
Central  42 29 71
Jordan – Brooke Sievers 4 0-0 8, Madison Deen 5 8-9 19, Ashley Fruend 6 0-0 17, Darian Vinkemeier 1 2-2 4, Karlie Nelson 1 0-0 3, Paige Pitlick 0 0-0 0, Nicole Dardis 0 0-0 0, Nicole Samuelson 1 0-2 3, Jessie Matthews 1 1-3 3, Trianna Thong 1 0-0 3, TOTALS 20 11-16 60
Central – Kaylie Brazil 6 7-14 20, Natalie Stockman 1 4-6 6, Kali Grimm 8 3-4 22, Megan Geis 0 2-2 2, Sami Jo Brinkmann 5 5-10 15, Alli Curson 2 0-0 4, Megan Miller 1 0-0 2, Madison Schlueter 0 0-0 0, Sara Marschall 0 0-0 0,  TOTALS 22 21-36 71
Three Pointers – Jordan 9 (Fruend 5, Deen, Nelson, Samuelson, Thong), Central 4 (Grimm 3, Brazil)

Next Up
The Raiders host Tri-City United tonight. They then have two road games at Maple Lake on Jan. 27 and at Le Sueur-Henderson on Jan. 28 before a key MRC game, hosting Watertown on Jan. 31.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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