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Trojan squads end year happily

Fri, Jan 4th, 2013
Posted in All Sports

Trojan Keela Brand boxes out, and snares a rebounder, whilst warding off a La Crescent player, as R-P teammates Mariah Mueller and Sierra McNamer look on. The Trojan gals went 2-0 in their Holiday basketball tourney in Spring Grove. Photo by Paul Trende

By Paul Trende

By the time people read this it will be 2013. For Rushford-Peterson basketball fans and players, they’ll enter the New Year smiling. They ended the Old Year winning. Both did so at holiday tournaments.

Todd’s Quick Hands…

The girls played an annual four-team affair in Spring Grove. La Crescent was the first opponent. The Lancers entered as a non-powerhouse of the Hiawatha Valley conference (2-6 overall record). They didn’t enter as slouches though either, having lost four times by ten or less including a 69-67 defeat at the hands of HVL leader Kasson-Mantorville. Led by a pair of junior guards, 5’11” Katie Waller and 5’6” Jen Michalke, the competitive Lancers looked to be a good test for the ‘working’ and ‘progressing’ Trojans.

It didn’t take long for the game to see a pivotal stretch. Midway thru the first half, R-P got back-to-back trifectas from Cody Manfull and Kendra Crawford, followed by seven straight points (4-4 FT’s) from Amy Todd. That equaled a 13-0 R-P run that broke a 6-all tie and put the Trojans in the lead. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. R-P took a 34-20 advantage into halftime and led by as many as 21 (49-28) past the midway point of the second stanza.

But like the NBA, where everyone makes a run, the Lancers didn’t go down without a fight. Michalke (8 points) and Waller (4 points) did all the scoring in a 12-2 LC run that got the Lancers as close as eleven (51-40) with 5:00 to go. R-P quickly responded, getting a Sierra McNamer jumper and then back-to-back three-point plays from Mariah Mueller and Crawford. Add in another Crawford bucket and it spelled a 10-3 R-P run that extinguished the La Crescent comeback fire for good. The last 4-plus minutes took awhile, as the teams combined to score 35 points, many at the FT line.

In the end, behind some good 2-point shooting (23-46, 50 percent), some good FT shooting (13-17, 76.5 percent), and a 1-3-1 full-court trap that caused the Lancers fits (26 turnovers and negated their size advantage), the Trojans downed La Crescent 71-52. R-P only trailed 3-0 and 3-2. Todd was a fit-causer. The 5’9” senior forward headed R-P’s trap. Her jumping ability and quick hands got her 7 steals, to go along with 18 points (8-8 FT’s) and 9 rebounds. Crawford was another Lancer menace. She led R-P with 19 points (8 for 13 FG’s) while also snaring 5 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists. McNamer (12 pts, 8 rebs) and Mueller (9 points, all in the 2nd half, 4 rebs, 3 assists) also played key roles for R-P. For La Crescent, it was the two-gal show of Michalke (22 points) and Waller (19 points).

…K-Craw’s Strong Will

Two nights later, R-P took on Spring Grove. The last meeting between the two teams was a big one. It was for the Sub-Section 1A East title. The (state-bound) Lions took it to R-P 67-35. But without all-everything’s Richelle Mehus (playing at UW-Rivers Falls) and Taylor Elton (in attendance at the game), 2012’s holiday tournament contest begged much more competition and it delivered.

In what could be a preview of 2013’s Sub-Section 1A East title game, both teams came out playing aggressively. The refs allowed them so do so, calling only a few fouls. The squads defensively slugged their way through the first half. Spring Grove dominated the offensive glass early (7 O-rebounds), but to little avail (one second chance point). Kendra Crawford took the ball to the basket early a trio of times giving R-P a small lead. The Lions got a couple key three-pointers from Randi Mehus (Richelle’s sister) and Elizabeth Johnson late to take another small edge, 22-19, into halftime. The teams again slugged away to start the 2nd stanza, as the defensive intensity (poor 3-point shooting) was most noteworthy. Six minutes in, SG clung to a 24-23 lead. Six minutes in, R-P leading scorer Amy Todd still had zero points. Things picked up from there. Todd scored. Samantha Bratland gave Spring Grove a boost off the bench. R-P again got the game’s most pivotal run. Trailing 35-31 with 8:00 to play, the Trojans scored eight unanswered points (four by Crawford) to take a 39-35 lead heading into the stretch run.

The Lions then made some hay at the FT line, but Todd found freshman Brooke Johnson for a bucket, giving R-P a 45-40 lead. From there, the Trojans sealed their fate at the charity stripe. R-P made 7 of 8 down the stretch. Todd (2-2) and Crawford (4-4) were each perfect. The Lions had no answer. They missed their last 12 field goal attempts. Their last made FG of the game came at about the 9:00 mark on an Addy Cross shot (one that gave SG the 35-31 lead). The final margin was much wider than how competitive the game actually was. R-P prevailed 52-41, with the 11-point lead being the largest of the contest. Trojan junior Kendra Crawford, like against La Crescent, was again fantastic. The 5’6” guard fearlessly took the ball to the basket, aggressively went coast-to-coast, each multiple times. She led all scorers with 16 points (6 of 11 shooting), grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, and took three charges (impressive for a gal barely over 100 pounds and one that fought injuries a season ago).

Crawford’s play helped annul Spring Grove’s concerted, and successful effort, to keep R-P leading scorer Amy Todd in check. Todd finished with a season low 6 points (2-12 shooting). Diminutive Keela Brand, who started in place of Cody Manfull (wedding), also picked up the slack. The 5’3” junior played much bigger (9 pts, 9 rebs, 4 stls) than her stature. Mariah Mueller offensively (11 pts) and Sierra McNamer on the glass (10 rebs, 4 pts) also aided the Trojan cause. Of that triad, only McNamer was out for basketball last season (for only half the season). For the Lions, Bratland was high scorer with 12 off the bench. Mehus (10 pts, 7 rebs) also reached double figures. The squads combined to go 3-28 from distance (R-P 0-11, SG 3-17). R-P’s 2-point shooting (21-44, 48 percent) and FT shooting (10-13, 77 percent) helped rule the night, as SG wasn’t so proficient (12-41 on 2’s (29 percent), 8-14 on FT’s (57 percent)).

The result puts each team’s record at 5-5 overall. R-P is 3-5 in the 3-Rivers. Spring Grove hasn’t lost in SEC action (5-0). With the Lions being the SEC’s (all single-A squads) preeminent team, and R-P being the best Class A team out of the 3-Rivers, they may see each other again in March.

Boys Do Some Thumping

Meanwhile, the R-P boy’s beat tap-tap-tapped on versus the same two squads. The Trojans made La Crescent (76-45) and Spring Grove (69-44) tap out. Versus the Lancers, R-P shot lights out, on 2-pointers (15-22, 68.2 percent), three-pointers (11-23, 47.8 percent), and from the FT line (13-16, 81.2 percent). It wasn’t one player in particular (an emerging trend this season for Tom Vix’s crew). Sophomores Alex Vix (16 points, 5-7 shooting) and Cole Kingsley (9 pts, 4-5 shooting), and juniors Jorli Hauge (14 pts, 9 rebs), Seth Thompson (8 pts, 7 stls, 5 assists), and Austin O’Hare (8 pts), the big five returnees from last season, all contributed efficiently and effectively to the effort.

Two days later, Kingsley was a big Lion tamer. Cole led R-P with 15 points (7-11 shooting), 9 assists, and 6 steals. Hauge (12 pts) and senior Kyle Johnson (10 pts) each also reached doubled figures. The win over the Lions was R-P’s 5th straight. It also staked one early claim in Section 1A East supremacy. A year ago, the squads hooked up twice, both in tournament contests (holiday, post-season). R-P won both, the later for the 1A East title. The Trojans are 4-2, 6-2 on the season.

Boys Basketball


•Mabel-Canton 51, Hope Lutheran 58 OT (M-C: Hunter Johnson 21; Noah Manning 7 pts, 13 rebs. Justin Ward DNP. HL: Jason Klug 26; Brady Meyer 14; Andrew Fratzke 12. Cougars led by 6 at halftime. Teams went to OT tied at 49. Patriots outscored M-C 9-2 in extra time for win. Winona Tourney)


•M-C 27, Goodhue 49 (M-C: H. Johnson 11. Justin Ward DNP. Winona Tourney. Cougars are 2-3 in the SEC, 2-6 overall)

•Chatfield 47, Watertown-Mayer 49 OT (C: Nate Skare 12 pts, 6 rebs, 4 assists; Christian Bance 12 pts, 6 rebs; Jayme LaPlante 12 pts, 7 rebs. Jake Neis DNP. Gophers led most of the game; missed FT’s down the stretch. Skare had a look for the win in regulation, and for the tie in OT, but neither fell. Annandale Tourney)


•Chatfield 53, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 65 (C: Luke Isensee 16 pts (hit 4 of 9 three-pointers); J. LaPlante 11 pts, 11 rebs; N. Skare 10 pts, 6 rebs. Jake Neis DNP. Z-M: Nathaniel Rauen 17; Jacob Ugland 12; Kevin Niebuhr 11; Lucas Ziemba 10. TO’s put Gophers in a big hole early, one that ballooned (down 26 in the 2nd half), before shrinking. Annandale Tourney. Gophers are 3-3 in the 3-Rivers, 4-5 overall)

Girls Basketball


•Lanesboro 52, St. Francis WI 65 (L: Johanna Bearson 16; Olivia Haug 14; Alisa Warnes 12. SF: Shaylyn Fuerstenau 26)

•Mabel-Canton 42, Hope Lutheran 44 (M-C: Sara Lind 13; Lydia Geving 12. HL: Dakota Ellinghuysen 16 pts, 8 rebs)


•M-C 51, Lanesboro 41 (M-C: Carly McCabe 16; S. Lind 15; Christy Welscher 10. L: A. Warnes 15; O. Haug 14. Cougars are 4-1 in SEC, 6-2 overall. Burros are 1-3, 2-6)

•Chatfield 57, #10 in AA Crookston 50 (C: Kirsten Keefe 13; MaKenzie Miller 11 pts, 8 rebs)


•Chatfield 34, Annandale 55 (C: K. Keefe 19 pts. Gophers are 5-3 in the 3-Rivers, 6-4 overall)

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