No. 1 FF girls strike down EaglesPublished 10:23am Saturday, December 22, 2012
The No. 1 ranked (Class AAA) Otter girls basketball team steam-rolled over another opponent Friday night with an impressive 83-51 victory over the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles at the Kennedy Secondary School Gold Gymnasium.
Apollo hung around early in the game, trailing only 13-8 at the 13 minute mark in the first half, largely due to the Otters missing some open shots at the outset. But in the next three minutes, the Otters caused some turnovers defensively and went on a 12 point run to extend their lead to 25-8.
When their shots started to fall against Apollo’s 2-3 zone, Fergus Falls walked off at halftime with a commanding 49-17 lead.
The usual suspects, guards Bailey Strand and Brianna Rasmusson, both missed some shots early but then got hot and finished the first half with 16 and 13 points respectively. Their 3’s started dropping and then they started driving to the basket also for some 2’s, and they put the game out of reach early.
Apollo played the Otters more even up in the second half as they also got more shots to drop, but the Otters substituted liberally and everyone on the Fergus Falls bench ended up getting into the game. Strand added another 11 points in the second half to finish with a game high 27 points. Rasmusson added eight more to tally 21 points on the night. She also achieved her second straight double-double with 11 assists, on top of her 12 in the previous game.
Rasmusson proved again why she is one of the premiere point guards in the state with another impressive stat line for the night, adding seven rebounds, four steals and four blocked shots to go with her 21 points and 11 assists.
Continuing to play without 6’2” senior center Hanna Swenson who is still nursing an ankle injury, the Otters didn’t seem to miss a beat inside, with junior Kristin Traiser filling in and having her second game in a row with 12 points in the paint. She was 4 of 6 from the floor and 4 of 6 from the charity stripe for her total. Anna Monke also tossed in 8 points and led the Otters with eight rebounds, despite some bench time due to three fouls early in the first half.
Samantha Velde came off the bench for some valuable minutes, contributing four points, grabbing three rebounds, and taking a big charge in the first half to set the tone for the Otter defense. Amber Boese came in late in the second half for the Otters and drained a 3-pointer, actually her fifth one of the night, as she hit four of them in the preliminary JV game.
Fergus Falls out-rebounded the Eagles 33 to 25 and caused a whopping 30 Eagle turnovers to only 13 committed by the Otters.
Both teams went to the foul line frequently, each making 17 from the line, but besides making more 2-pointers, the big difference for the Otters was making eight 3-pointers while Apollo didn’t make any.
“We had good defensive energy again tonight and I really liked how Sam Velde came off the bench, took a big charge, rebounded hard, got a couple of put-back baskets and played good help defense,” stated Otter coach Brad Strand. “Brianna had another great game with another double-double and having some tremendous assists. I liked Bailey’s shooting mentality of coming back from some early misses to find her rhythm by changing her shot locations and driving more for pull up jumpers. Anna Monke gave us a good offensive start early in the game and would have had a bigger night if foul trouble hadn’t sideline her a bit.”
In JV play, the Otters defeated Apollo handily 63-33. Amber Boese had four 3-pointers on her way to 18 points. Brooklyn Seland added 15 points in the paint and Claire Kotschevar had 10 points with two 3-pointers in that total. Seland and Annah Pajari led the Otters with 5 rebounds each.
In the 9th grade game, the Otters won 36-14, turning up the defense in the second half after a slim 12-10 halftime lead. Anna Norgard led the Otters with 17 points while Hallie Bach added 12.
The Otters go into the Christmas break ranked number 1 in class AAA and carrying a 6-0 record. They will host the Birak Shrine Club Holiday Classic tournament next week on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 27-28.
The tournament includes both boys and girls varsity teams, along with a JV tournament also. Play kicks off on Thursday the Dec.27 at 11:00 AM with East Grand Forks boys JV versus Fergus Falls JV and on the second gym Maranatha JV plays Breckenridge JV.
At 12:30 pm, the Fergus Falls girls JV plays Perham JV and in the second gym Mountain Iron–Buhl JV plays Breckenridge JV. The varsity games begin at 2:00pm at the Gold Gym with Maranatha boys playing Breckenridge boys. At 4:00pm the Mountain Iron-Buhl girls varsity plays Breckenridge girls. 6:00pm is the Fergus Falls boys varsity against East Grand Forks and 8:00pm is the Fergus Falls girls varsity versus Perham. Tournament third place games and finals are on Friday, Dec. 28, with girls JV games at 11:00 am, boys JV games at 12:30pm, the girls varsity 3rd place game at 2:00pm, the boys third place game at 4:00pm, the girls championship game at 6:00pm and the boys championship game at 8:00pm. Come and watch basketball all day for the price of one ticket.