FF girls carve up Green Wave 68-34Published 10:53am Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Another girls basketball team came into Fergus Falls’ home gym with high hopes of upsetting the home town favorites, but like the last 28 teams that have visited the Gold Gym, they left disappointed. The Otter girls ran their home streak to 29 straight wins in the Gold Gym and 27 straight wins this season by doubling the score against the Green Wave and winning going away 68-34.
The Otters scored the first four points and never trailed in the game, but at the 8:11 mark in the first half it was just a 15-10 lead. That was primarily due to the Otters having a cold shooting start, they had the shots but they just weren’t dropping.
As usual, the Otter defense was keeping East Grand Forks at bay and the Otters were out-rebounding the Green Wave significantly, so it was a matter of time before the offense kicked in. The Otters had an 8-0 run over the next two minutes, with Bailey Strand having an old fashioned three point play off an “and one”, then Devonie Smith hit a three and Brianna Rasmusson canned a couple more threes before the half was over, and when you looked up at the halftime scoreboard it was all of a sudden a 20 point lead at 36-16. Strand had 11 first half points and Rasmusson had eight to lead the charge for the Otters.
The second half was more of the same as Fergus Falls continued to wear down the Green Wave. This time it was inside out, as they dumped the ball down to Hanna Swenson and Anna Monke who each had six second half points inside, while Strand and Rasmusson each tossed in another three pointer just for good measure.
Half way through the second half, Strand had the play of the game as she got a steal, dribbled down the court against two defenders and found Rasmusson streaking down the other side with a “sugar baby” assist for an easy lay-in. You know what a “sugar baby” assist is, it’s a pass so sweet your mother only allows you to have one a day. It brought a few oooh’s and aaah’s from the crowd. Likely the second best play of the game came on a pass from Sam Velde to Kaitlin Capouch on the inside, then Sam back-cut to the basket and Capouch dropped her a nice pass for an assist on an easy lay-in. It was déjà vu of the exact same play they ran in the Brainerd game a week ago. In fact the Otters had 21 assisted baskets during the night, reflecting again the Otter players are sharing the ball well, spotting open players and getting them the ball in a position to score. Another telling stat for the game was the Otters out-rebounding East Grand Forks 39-19, as Swenson with 10 and Monke with seven dominated the boards, along with Devonie Smith who had 5 rebounds on the night, 4 in the second half to bring the energy for the team early in that half.
Strand led all scorers with 20 points and assisted on seven other baskets. Rasmusson added 13 points on three treys, and Hanna Swenson had yet another double-double with 12 points to go with her 10 boards, certainly no surprise there. East Grand Forks was led by Alex Arroyo with 13 points. After shooting only 34 percent in the first half, the Otters were 13 for 19 from the floor in the second half to finish the night at 47 percent shooting compared with the Green Wave’s 29 percent. The Otters also caused 23 Green Wave turnovers while only turning the ball over 13 times.
“Our defensive energy was the key for us early in the game,” noted Otter head coach Brad Strand. “Sometimes when you miss early shots you let it affect you on the defensive end, but our girls didn’t worry about that at all and played hard defense throughout the game. Devonie Smith brought some real energy to start the second half with some great rebounds. I liked how our offense shared the ball and we had a good number of assisted baskets again, highlighted by Bailey’s nice pass to Bri and Kaitlin’s drop off to Sam Velde. Sam had a nice game for us on both ends of the floor, scoring some points and taking a charge on defense.”
The Fergus Falls girls are now 27-0 on the season. They will play in the Section 8AAA semi-final game against Sartell, who defeated Sauk Rapids-Rice 48-37, with a 6 p.m. tip-off Saturday at the Alex Nemzek fieldhouse on the Moorhead State University campus.
Alexandria will play Thief River Falls in the other semi-final to follow the Otter game.