Otter defense deals Cards loss 73-43Published 10:42am Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The Fergus Falls girls basketball team came out of the locker room looking to defend their home court against Central Lakes Conference and Section foe Alexandria, and the key word there was defend. The Otters turned up the defensive pressure from the opening whistle, using full court pressure throughout the first half and ending up holding the Cardinals to only 17 first half points, while the Otters scored 37. The Otters finished the game going away to a 30-point victory at 73-43, with every player on the bench again getting some quality minutes. Fergus Falls played without normal starter Anna Monke who is fighting illness, but junior Kristin Traiser filled in admirably at the second post position, running the floor and going hard to the basket to net 12 points on the night. Kaitlin Capouch came off the bench and added 8 points in the post position also, while starter Hanna Swenson also dropped in 8. Alexandria used man-to-man chasers on Bailey Strand and Brianna Rasmusson while using a triangle zone in the paint with their other players, but it didn’t affect the Otters much. Although Strand was held scoreless in the first half, she erupted for 16 points in the second half to lead the Otters in scoring. Rasmusson also had 14 points, so Alexandria’s defensive chasers didn’t affect the Otters’ overall offensive output.
The key throughout the game was the defensive pressure by the Otters and it didn’t decease regardless of who was in the game. That pressure held the Cardinals to only 27% shooting from the floor while the Otters shot a hot 47% from the floor. Alexandria tried several defensive sets, but the Otters were able to score consistently throughout the game and from all areas on the floor. Alexandria had only one scorer in double figures, Amanda Christianson with 16.
The Otters had a substantial rebounding edge, pulling down a total of 44 rebounds to only 20 for Alexandria. Hanna Swenson had 11 rebounds in total, again controlling the offensive glass with 5 rebounds there. Kaitlin Capouch added 7 boards and Devonie Smith had 6 rebounds from her guard position. The Otters had 18 assisted baskets while Alexandria only had 5. Fergus Falls committed 16 turnovers to the Cardinals 10. The Otters blocked 7 shots with Rasmusson and Swenson each having three.
“I thought we played good team defense tonight, with good pressure on the ball and our weak-side help reacting quickly to make shooting difficult for Alexandria,” noted Otter coach Brad Strand. “We rebounded well and gave up very few second shots on the boards. Our overall post play with Hanna, Kristin and Kaitlin was good in all respects; scoring, help defense and rebounding. I also thought we had good scoring balance, with five people having 8 points or more and ending up with 11 players scoring on the night.”
Fergus Falls moves to 3-0 on the young season, with this their first conference game and win. In early season polls, the Otters have been ranked #2 in class AAA. They play at home again on Friday night against another conference foe St. Cloud Tech.
Scoring: Fergus Falls 73 – Strand 16, Rasmusson 14, Traiser 12, Swenson 8, Capouch 8, Sawtell 6, Smith 3, Anderson 2, Johnson 2, Tenneson 1, Velde1. Alexandria 43 – Christianson 16, Bowser 8, Thul 4, Bruzek 4, Gould 3, Strater 2, Betterman 2, Frederick 2, Syvrud 1, Olson-Rodel 1.
In JV play, Alexandria banked in a 3-point shot with 4 seconds left on the clock to pull out a 1-point victory 33-32 over the Otter JV. On the strength of 3-pointers by Amber Boese, Rachel Johnson and Nicole Anderson, the Otters fought back from a 10 point second half deficit to pull ahead by 2 points with 13 seconds left but couldn’t stop the last second heroics of the Cardinals. Nicole Anderson led the Otters with 11 points, Johnson had 8 and Boese had 7. Brooklyn Seland had 6 rebounds to lead the Otters.
The Otter 9th grade team had a decisive 45-22 win over Alexandria with Anna Norgard hitting a game high 21 points.