*This story was featured in the Jan. 30th edition of the Hastings Tribune.
ROSELAND — To say points were hard to come by on Friday night between the Lawrence-Nelson and Silver Lake girls basketball teams would be an understatement.
Lawrence-Nelson held on to win 34-16 in a game that saw two significant scoring droughts by both teams, one of which that lasted almost six minutes.
Throughout it all, Lawrence-Nelson Head Coach Cathy Biltoft remained confident that her team would return home with a win.
“I knew we were OK, but they were just putting too much pressure on themselves,” she said. “They still weren’t in rhythm and that’s something they’re going to have to work through.”
Lawrence-Nelson jumped to a 6-2 first quarter lead, thanks to baskets from seniors Cherokee Frahm-Thayer and Kesley Menke. Sophomore Mattee Kucera added to the Raider lead after a steal and layup that put Lawrence-Nelson up 9-2.
Menke added two more in the quarter on a rebound and putback to extend the lead to eight after one quarter.
The second quarter was much of the same story with Menke scoring on the first possession of the quarter. Both teams then traded turnovers, before the scoring in the game came to halt for nearly five minutes.
Silver Lake junior Leanna Wardenburg ended the drought for the Mustangs with a three-pointer at the 3:20 mark to cut the Raider lead to seven.
Lawrence-Nelson junior Molly McCartney responded with a basket of her own to push the lead back to nine.
Lawrence-Nelson added two more, before Silver Lake’s Sydney Skupa hit a three at the buzzer.
The Raiders led 19-9 at halftime.
Senior Alyssa Miller struck first in the third quarter to put the Raiders up 10. Kelsey Menke added four of her 12 points in the third quarter and Lawrence-Nelson led by 14 with 15 seconds remaining.
But Skupa made yet another late three-pointer to trim the Raider lead to 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the scoring came to halt again, this time for nearly six minutes. There was a combined 16 missed shots and only one player between the two teams managed to score.
Junior Molly McCartney, who finished tied for a game-high 12 points, scored seven in the quarter off two three-pointers and a free throw.
With the offense struggling, Lawrence-Nelson leaned on both their defense and their five senior starters to pick up the victory.
Biltoft hopes that experience pays off down the stretch.
“Four of the five (starters) have started since they were freshman and they’ve been through everything, just about,” Biltoft said. “So getting down the stretch I think that we’ll be able to handle it a little better and that will get us to winning games.”
Harlie Himmelberg 0-3 0-0 0 Mattee Kucera 1-7 0-0 2 Alyssa Miller 2-6 0-0 4 Molly McCartney 4-7 1-2 12 Mackinley Cherokee Frahm-Thayer 2-11 1-1 5 Haley Menke 0-1 0-0 0 Kelsey Menke 6-10 0-5 12
Silver Lake (16)
Abby Ehrman 0-6 0-0 0 Leanna Wardenburg 1-4 0-0 3 Sydney Skupa 3-13 0-0 8 Sydney Parr 1-11 3-6 5 Brie Meyer 0-1 0-0 0 Miranda Trausch 0-4 0-0 0