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Girls Basketball: Wingers rebound with win over Northfield

Red Wing's McKenzie Muelken charges down the lane through a pair of Northfield defenders during the first half of Friday's Missota Conference game in Red Wing. Muelken finished with nine points in a 56-39 victory.1 / 3
Red Wing's Macy Kelly (left) dribbles around the Northfield defense during Friday's game at Red Wing High School.2 / 3
Red Wing junior guard Kara Norvet looks for a pass along the perimeter during Friday's Missota Conference game against Northfield in Red Wing.3 / 3

Once it got a handle on the ball, nothing slowed down the Red Wing girls basketball team.

Turning the ball over 10 times in the first 10 minutes of Friday's Missota Conference game against Northfield, the Wingers committed just six giveaways in the remainder of the game en route to a 56-39 victory at Red Wing High School.

"With those turnovers you take away a shot each time, so we gave up 12 shots in that first half," said Red Wing head coach Dave Muelken. "We were much better after (the first 10 minutes) and we put together a nice run at the end of the half."

After a grueling 63-45 loss to Academy of Holy Angels on Tuesday, Friday's victory over the Raiders was just the lift the Wingers needed heading into the final few games of the season.

"We just got to keep going," said junior guard Kara Norvet, who finished with seven points - all in the second half - and five rebounds. "We need to build off this one with Chanhassen coming up."

Through the first half, Red Wing (17-6, 8-4 Missota) struggled to pull away with the turnover troubles. In the middle of the half, the Wingers were called for traveling on four straight possessions.

But when Red Wing slowed the game down and controlled the ball, the team was dominant, finishing the first half on a 17-2 run over the last eight minutes for a 27-13 halftime lead.

"Compared to how Tuesday went," Muelken said, "we were more effective and our attitude improved tonight."

Pacing the Wingers were seniors Macy Kelly and Tesha Buck, who combined to score 25 of the team's 27 first-half points. Buck finished with a game-high 24 points on five 3-pointers, and also had 10 rebounds and four assists.

In the second half, Red Wing opened the floor and got the rest of the offense involved. After scoring just two points in the first half, McKenzie Muelken dropped seven in the second half, finishing with nine.

"The big thing for us is we needed to make everyone better," said Kelly, who had 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

On the defensive end, the Wingers managed to force Northfield's pair of 6-footers in Allyson Harris and Anna Pfefferle into outside shots. Pfefferle had a team-high 13 points and Harris, who is signed to play Division II basketball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, scored 12 points. Quinn Hanzlik added 12 for the Raiders.

On Tuesday, the Wingers hit the road for another Missota matchup against Chanhassen. When the two teams met on Jan. 22 in Red Wing, the Storm stunned the Wingers in a 70-52 victory.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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