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Lady Gophers; 1AA East Champs

Mon, Mar 12th, 2012
Posted in All Sports

The Chatfield Gophers bid for state came up one game short. They fell 56-52 at the hands of Ashley Hinsch (31 points) and the Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars in the Section 1AA Title Game. Chatfield ends their season with a successful 21-8 record, and as section runners up. See more details about the game in next week’s Fillmore County Journal. Photo by Paul Trende

How many teams can lose two All-Conference players, would be returning senior starters, and persevere? How many teams can fill those spots, keeping the team in the running for conference and section titles? How many coaches have the depth to call up a freshmen guard late in the season, put her on the floor, have her produce to the point of warranting a starting nod? How many teams can count on that frosh guard in the clutch, and have her come through? The answer is “not many,” four times over. It’s been quite a season for Brian Baum’s Chatfield Lady Gophers hoopsters. They’re one win away from state.

The Goph’s dispensed with 3-seed Winona-Cotter in the 1AA East semifinal. MaKenzie Miller was a force, hitting 9 of 11 shots for a game-high 18 points. She’s one cog whose stepped in, and stepped up big. Chatfield led 21-10 at half, only for Cotter to score the first six points of the second. Chatfield regrouped and played their way to a 49-29 victory, never trailing. Sophomore Sidney Irish (another step-in, step-up cog) and instant-offense-off-the-bench Kyndra Neis gave the Gophers a little deep shooting. The duo combined for three, second half 3’s, 17 total points. Micaela Trainor was high-girl for the Ramblers (10 points). It’s Chatfield’s 20th win of the season.

The win set up a 1-versus-2 match-up with defending Sub-Section champ Caledonia. The teams split during the regular season. Game three proved to be the best. Both squads went zone initially. Each tried to beat it from deep, making 4 of 12 tries in the 1st half. Each team made just two two’s ,too. The Gopher’s made one more FT giving them a slim 21-20-halftime edge. In the second, Chatfield built a 37-28 edge. It held until the 6:00 mark. At that point, they got a little conservative, had a little turnoveritis. The Warriors got urgent. A 12-2 Caledonia run, one capped by two Maddy Mullins FT’s with 0:55 left, gave the 1-seed their first lead of the 2nd half, 40-39. A subsequent jump-ball gave Caledonia the rock back right away. Things then got wild. Warrior Carli Dahlberg was fouled. She missed the front of the one-and-one. Maria Fruechte skied and grabbed the offensive rebound, but Erin Kammer immediately stole the ball. She took off up and court, only to get fouled. Kammer made the back-end of the double bonus, her only point, to tie the game at 40. Caledonia took possession with 0:25 left. They held for the last shot. Fruechte decided to take it, driving baseline and pulling up with a from-the-block 6-footer. It was way too strong (air-balled deep). Enter freshmen Kirsten Keefe.

A call up to varsity in January (for the second meeting with Caledonia incidentally) Keefe has been step-in, step up cog number three. Possessing uncanny poise and talents for her age, Keefe found a spot in the Gopher rotation, then the starting five. In the biggest game of her brief career, she found herself in an incredibly big spot. Keefe grabbed the Fruechte miss, took off up court only to get fouled with 1.5 seconds left! A tough situation was made tougher yet when her first attempt didn’t fall! Warrior coach Scott Sorenson called timeout, the ‘ice the shooter’ ploy. And though Keefe went 1-4 on freebies in the final 3:00, the one make was the second FT. It gave the Gophers a 41-40 lead. A ¾ quarter court Taylor Winjim heave was ¼ of the court short. Behind Keefe (8 pts, 4 rebs, 3 assists) and her heroics, Sarah Costello (12 pts, 8 rebs), MaKenzie Miller (6 pts, 10 rebs), and great team defense, great team play overall, the Chatfield Lady Gophers were crowned 1AA East Champions. They’ll head to the 1AA title game to face West champ Zumbrota-Mazeppa. Four-seed Z-M knocked off 1-seed Pine Island and 2-seed Stewartville to win their crown. Chatfield beat Z-M 61-57 on February 6.

R-P Gals Get to S-S Final...

Three-seed Rushford-Peterson (10-16) entered its girl’s 1A East semifinal contest with 2-seed LeRoy-Ostrander (20-6) the technical underdog, per records and seeding. But R-P plays in the 3-Rivers. They’re battle tested and it showed. The Trojans half-court ball pressure disrupted the Card’s offense big-time. Aiding the Trojan cause, L-O leading scorer Chanda Riedemann took a seat on the bench early in the first half, per three fouls. Her teammates struggled mightily to make shots (1 FG in the final 14:00). R-P went on a 19-0 run, amassing a 35-18-halftime edge. Riedemann returned to score 18 2nd half points (22 for the game), but L-O never got R-P’s lead to single digits. Junior F Amy Todd (20 pts, 8-10 FT’s, 15 rebs, 5 blks), senior F Kenzie Lind (18 pts including her 1,000th, 14 rebs, 4 assists, 5 stls), sophomore G Kendra Crawford (12 points, 4 assists, 5 stls), and junior G Cody Manfull (7 pts, 11 rebs) were too big a collective dilemma for L-O to solve, control. R-P solved and controlled the Card’s 62-46.

…Mehus Brings End

They advanced to face 25-3, #4 in state Spring Grove. Not much went right. R-P struggled with turnovers. They couldn’t match SG’s ability to get to, and convert, at the line (R-P 7 of 14, SG 19 of 24). They didn’t attack the Lion’s 1-2-2-zone. By halftime, R-P looked up at a 34-18 deficit. It only got worse in the second. Spring Grove is worthy of their record, their ranking. Senior G Richell Mehus, last year’s SEC POY (and likely this season’s), was the best player on the floor (31 pts, 13 rebs, 5 assists, 5 stls). She was a force. Point guard Taylor Elton ran the team very efficiently (9 pts, 9 rebs). The Lions were just better than the Trojans, 67-35. The loss leaves Dave Lind’s 9-girl troop as Sub-Section 1A-East runner-ups (winning 4 of their last 5). That’s pretty good, since numbers have been an issue all season for the Trojans. They’ve routinely dressed 8 or 9 girls. Those who stuck out the season got rewarded for their diligence with a nice play-off run. Senior Kenzie Lind finished her career right, scoring her thousandth point against L-O, tossing in 16 more versus SG. Amy Todd had only 8 points versus the Lions, but 15 rebounds. The Trojans finish the season 11-17. Spring Grove will face Faribault-Bethlehem Academy (who upset #2 in state Goodhue in the Sub-Section 1A West final). The Section 1A title will be on the line.

There’s the Beef!

The opening round of the 1A East boy’s tourney produced a colossal one-on-one affair in Preston. Six-three 245-pound Steve Smith led 6-seed Mabel-Canton into a collision with 6’4” 225-pound Isaac Sveen and 3-seed Fillmore Central. Each did work, but it was a lesser known, smaller big, that topped the score sheet. Dan Gatzke, FC’s 6’3” junior forward, just recently returned from injury. His basketball legs appear to be rounding into shape. He scored a game-high 22 points. Muscular Sveen was the most impressive player overall, scoring 21 and grabbing 17 rebounds. He overshadowed M-C’s big-man Smith, though Steve still scored 15 and grabbed 14 rebounds. He also etched the final notch in his esteemed prep basketball belt; he became M-C’s all-time leading scorer (1,379), boys or girls, surpassing Marty Dahlen. It was the Cougar outside attack (4 of 7 on 3’s in the 1st half) that kept the game close (43-35 at the half). In the 2nd, M-C got as close as three early (43-40, 45-42), as close as six (63-57) with 4:35 to play. But tremendous FT shooting by the Falcons (19-23), and the Cougar outside well going dry (2-14 three’s in the 2nd half), combined to assure no comeback. FC prevailed 75-62, shooting 53 percent overall. In addition to the Sveen/Gatzke interior effort, senior G Tyler Eickhoff had 16. For the Coug’s, senior PG Jacoby Bigalk finished off his career with 17 points. Sophomore Noah Manning had 15. M-C finishes the season 13-14.

Hank Friederichs, Viss Do Best at State

Chatfield, GMLOK, and LARP combined to send seven young men to the state individual wrestling meet. Only a pair of Gophers placed. At Class A 106-pounds, Hank Friederichs lost his opening round match to Mitchell McKee (the state runner-up) from Kimball Area, then won 3-0 and 7-2 in the wrestle-backs before facing his section final adversary, Joey Majerus from Z-M. Majerus (who took 3rd) notched a 6-0 win. Hank then won 7-0 to secure 5th place. The freshman finishes the year with a 41-5 record. Justin Viss (195) started his tourney off nicely with a pin. He then fell 8-2 to Tyler Schlosser from Parkers Prairie (who finished in 4th). Viss then secured a pin and a 6-0 decision before falling 8-1 to Christopher Zimmer (3rd place) from Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis. Viss lost the 5th place match 9-5, leaving him in 6th. He finishes his junior year with a 35-12 record. The other Gopher, Alex Haffner (132), fell in his first and only match 17-8. Alex finishes his sophomore year with a 34-8 record. In Class AA, GMLOK’s two representatives, Noah Schlee (126) and Lucas Roe (152) both posted 2-2 records, but neither placed. Schlee’s first loss, in the quarterfinals, came 6-4 in OT. He finishes his senior year with a 35-6 record. Roe also went win-loss, win-loss. He finishes his junior year with a 35-5 mark. At 182, LARP’s Greg Johnson went 0-2. He finishes his junior year 29-13. Jordan Theede found the same fate as Haffner (one and done). He finishes his sophomore year 24-3.



1A East Quarterfinal Games •5-seed Houston 71, 4-seed Lanesboro 61 (L: Braden Hanson 28 (23 in 2nd half); Erik Peterson 13; Kole Ruud 10. H: Mitchell Beckman 22; Josh Vix 20; Hans Lundberg 16. In the third battle between the two squads, OT wasn’t included in the verdict. The ‘Canes led 25-18 at the half. They led by double-digits most of 2nd half (biggest lead 17). Fouls: Lanes 30, Houston 17. FT’s: Lanes 10-13, Houston 24-41. 3’s: Lanes 13-35, Houston 1-11. 2’s: Lanes 6-17, Houston 22-40. Reb’s: Lanes 26, Houston 41. Burros finish at 16-10)

•8-seed Schaeffer Academy 69, 1-seed (#8 in A) R-P 94 (R-P: Nick Thompson 28 pts (on 11-13 shooting, 4 of 5 from deep) & 6 stls; Trent Vix 19 pts & 5 assists; 12 other Trojans scored. SA: Jordan Whitcomb 25; Nathan Hanson 16. Teams combined to make 19 triples. Halftime score was 62-30)

1AA East Quarterfinal

•5-seed Chatfield 65, 4-seed Winona Cotter 49 (C: Nate Skare 14 pts (four 3’s) & 5 rebs; Jake Peterson 13 pts & 6 assists; Jake Neis 12 pts & 6 rebs; Jayme LaPlante 11 pts & 5 rebs. W-C: Gus Cochrane 19 pts & 6 rebs; Jon Eichman 13 pts & 11 rebs. Gophers started 2nd half with 15-4 run to expand on 28-26 half-time lead (42-30). Cotter had a subsequent 5-0 run, but seven (42-35) was a close as they got. 3’s: Chatfield 7-20, Cotter 1-16)

1AA West Quarterfinal

•6-seed Pine Island 49, 3-seed Kingsland 75 (K: Tanner Lange 24; Spencer Klevan 24; Devin Pokorney 13 pts & 7 assists. Second half defense allowed Knights to hold Panthers to just 12 points after it was a 42-37 Kingsland halftime advantage.

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