Girls Basketball: Storm's outside shooters sink Wingers
Red Wing had to ride with the ebbs and flows of Chanhassen's shooters on Tuesday.
Thanks to some hot shooting to open the game, the Storm bolted out of the gate for a 23-7 lead midway through the first half. Once the shooters went cold, the Wingers were able to storm back, making it a 1-point game at halftime.
But in the second half, the Storm's snipers were sharp with eight 3-pointers after half, putting the team up by as much as 22 points in a 70-52 Missota Conference victory Tuesday. Chanhassen's win snapped the Wingers' 8-game winning streak.
"They just shot really well," said Red Wing head coach Dave Muelken. "At that point, you take your hats off to them and say, 'Hey, you shot well.'"
Turning the ball over in three of its first four possessions, third-ranked (3A) Red Wing was stunned early on as Chanhassen's Lauren Shifflett opened the game with nine straight points, including two 3-pointers. With a mix of jump shots and put backs, the Storm (11-6, 5-1 Missota) surged to a 23-7 lead midway through the half following a layup by Anna Letsche.
In desperate need of a momentum shift, the Wingers got the outside shot to drop, thanks to senior forward Macy Kelly. Normally the Wingers' top presence in the paint, Kelly stepped outside and hit three 3-pointers in a two-minute span, cutting Chanhassen's lead to 25-20 with 5 minutes, 14 seconds left in the first half.
"Macy's a really good shooter and she's been big for us this year," Dave Muelken said. "Most teams don't give her that space, especially in the conference. For her to step up and shoot like she did, we weren't surprised by that."
The only thing that slowed down Kelly in the first half was fouls. With 4:31 left in the half, she had to exit the game after picking up her third foul.
"It didn't help, especially with her being on a roll," Dave Muelken said. "I would have liked to keep riding that streak a little bit, but after her third, you can't do that."
Tesha Buck and McKenzie Muelken were able to keep the comeback going, putting together a 9-0 run that was finished off by a pair of free throws from Muelken that put the Wingers up 29-27 with over a minute left until halftime. The Storm retook the lead right before halftime by hitting 3 of 4 free throws.
After the intermission, the Storm went back to the outside shot and found their stroke, starting the second half with a 10-2 run to go up 40-31.
"They can put five shooters out there, and then they play five-out," Dave Muelken said. "They attack and kick, attack and kick. They put a lot of pressure on the defense."
After going scoreless in the first half, Tia Wright found her shot in the second half with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Up 48-39 with nine minutes remaining, Chanhassen pieced together a 13-0 run that cemented the victory. Shifflett led all scorers with 20 points, while Becca Smith and Danielle Gitzen added 13 and 10, respectively.
Tesha Buck led Red Wing (14-3, 6-1 Missota) with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while McKenzie Muelken and Kelly added 13 points each. Just five players scored for the Wingers in the loss.
"Tesha's been big for us all year, and it just wasn't going for her tonight," Dave Muelken said. "She's a 44 percent 3-point shooter, and she had good shots, but they weren't falling.
"Chanhassen was better than us tonight. They played hard, they got after it and they shot a high percentage."
Red Wing continues conference play Thursday at Shakopee.