Central girls share MRC title, earn top subsection seed

2014 BB Conference Champs

The Central girls basketball team defeated LeSueur-Henderson on the road Thursday, 58-41, to finish 19-5 (12-2) to clinch a share of the Minnesota River Conference title with Jordan. Pictured are, front row: Shyann Wickenhauser, Megan Miller, Natalie Stockman, Kaylie Brazil, Sara Marschall, Paige Schneider and Grace Wickenhauser. Back row: Megan Geis, Morgan Karnes, Sami Jo Brinkmann, Madison Schlueter, Alli Curson, Kali Grimm, Bren Fox, Claire Stuewe and Kassidi Wickenhauser. Not pictured: managers Taylor Gort and Kayla Leonhardt. (Submitted photo)

by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

The Raiders finished the season in stellar fashion, winning two games to win a share of the Minnesota River Conference and earn a #1 seed and bye in the Section 2AA tournament.
Central (19-5) defeated Belle Plaine at home on senior night last Tuesday, 64-30, and beat LeSueur-Henderson last Thursday, 58-41.
The Raiders tied with Jordan at the top of the MRC with a 12-2, sharing the conference title with Jordan for the second year in a row.
Winning two games against Jordan, the Raiders got the #1 seed in the 2AA north subsection and a bye, while Jordan got the #2 seed and Mayer Lutheran got the #3 seed.
Head coach Gary Lembcke said the bye is great to have considering their heavy schedule of late, although he wished there were eight teams in the section.
Undefeated and 2013 AA title winner New Richland (25-0) got the #1 seed in the south subsection.
Central next plays at Northfield at 6 p.m. this Thursday, March 6, against #4 Glencoe-Silver Lake, who beat  #5 Sibley East on Monday, 64-50. The Raiders lost to Glencoe-Silver Lake on Dec. 7, 39-33, and went 2-0 against Sibley East with wins on Dec. 20, 56-31, and Feb. 6. 45-21.
The winner goes on to play in the subsection final at MSU-Mankato at 6 p.m. on March 10. The section final is at MSU-Mankato on March 14.
“Obviously it’s going to be tough matchups,” said Lembcke, adding that Jordan’s Madison Dean is always a threat to go off for 40 to 50 points. “We had lost to G-SL earlier in the year and we’ve had close games with Mayer Lutheran… Right now the focus is to take care of these first games.”

Central 58, Le Sueur-Henderson 41
The Raiders led 30-17 at halftime to cruise for the victory on the road at LSH last Thursday.
We jumped out to a lead of 8 to 10 points,” said Central head coach Gary Lembcke. “Again, we seemed to have a comfortable lead but could never could pull away completely.”
Kaylie Brazil led the Raiders with 16 points, while Kali Grimm added 14 and Sami Jo Brinkmann added 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

Central  30 28 58
LSH      17 24 41

Central – Kaylie Brazil 16, Kali Grimm 14, Sami Jo Brinkmann 13, Megan Geis 5, Natalie Stockman 4, Alli Curson 2, Bren Fox 2, Paige Schneider 2, Rebounds 36 (Brinkmann 10, Geis 10), Assists 11 (Brazil 4), Steals 10 (Brazil 4), Blocks 6 (Brinkmann 5)

Central 64, Belle Plaine 30
The Raiders wasted no time in putting away Belle Plaine last Tuesday on senior night at home as they got closer to a share of the Minnesota River Conference title.
With an early start because of the boys’ basketball playoff game, the girls jumped out to an early 16-9 lead, relying on the inside play of senior Sami Jo Brinkmann.
Brinkmann scored 10 points in the first part of the first half as the Raiders built their advantage.
She was fouled as she put backed her own miss and converted the free throw for a 13-4 advantage with 12 minutes, 30 seconds remaining and later scored a bucket for the 16-9 edge.
Head coach Gary Lembcke credited Brinkmann for her play as the season winds down.
“Sami really has been wanting the basketball a lot and is posting up strong and is very tough,” he said, adding the team’s defense was sound. “Our defense was very good and we were closing out on their shooters.”
Alli Curson then hit a jumper, and after Belle Plaine’s Emily Vinkemeier scored, Natalie Stockman made a shot and Kali Grimm followed with a 3-pointer for a 23-11 edge with about 5:30 left as all of the Raiders starters had scored by that point.
Shortly after, Kaylie Brazil, who had 14 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 32-13 advantage with about 2 minutes left to put the game away. The Raiders held a 32-14 lead at the break.
Central maintained that lead in the second half, getting their bench players significant playing time in a foul-heavy second half.
In all, the Raiders shot 14-of-24 for the line, while the Tigers converted 14-of-26.
For the seniors, Brinkmann finished with a game-high 17 points while Stockman tallied four and Sara Marschall converted a 3-point play with under a minute remaining.

BP       14 16 30
Central  32 32 64

Central – Kaylie Brazil 4 4-4 14, Natalie Stockman 2 0-2 4, Kali Grimm 2 0-0 6, Megan Geis 3 1-2 7, Sami Jo Brinkmann 6 5-9 17, Alli Curson 1 3-4 5, Megan Miller 0 0-0 0, Bren Fox 3 0-1 6, Madison Schlueter 1 0-1 2, Sara Marschall 1 1-1 3, Grace Wickenhauser 0 0-0 0, Clare Stuewe 0 0-0 0, Kassidi Wickenhauser 0 0-0 0, Paige Schneider 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 14-24 64
Belle Plaine – Elizabeth Johnson 1 5-8 7, Ireland Lambrecht 0 0-0 0, Megan Schmitz 0 0-2 0, Amara Meyer 3 2-4 8, Mariena Hayden 2 4-6 8, Emily Vinkemeier 2 0-0 4, Torie Kellogg 0 0-0 0, Erica Selly 0 2-4 2, Maddy Hvorka 0 1-2 1, Katelyn Jeurissen 0 0-0 0, Mallory Glisczinski 0 0-0 0, Hannah Preusser 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Meierbachtol 0 0-0 0, McKenzie Koepp 0 0-0 0, Anna Dohnkong 0 0-0 0, Amelia Kahle 0 0-0 0, TOTALS 8 14-26 30
Three Pointers – Central 4 (Brazil 2, Grimm 2)

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

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