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Girls Basketball: Red Wing handles Mankato West, Zebro hits milestone

Up by just two at halftime against Big Nine Conference foe Mankato West, Red Wing girls' basketball coach Jesse Nelson wanted to try to work the ball inside for more high-percentage shots.

Then the Wingers hit 15 3-pointers in the game, and senior Morgan Zebro turned in a 23-point effort to become the latest member of the school's 1,000-point club.

After Tuesday's 73-56 win over the visiting Scarlets, coach Nelson could only shrug his shoulders about the proposed inside attack not going exactly to plan.

“We did talk at halftime about wanting to get the ball inside more, but we do what we do,” Jesse said. “If they weren't falling, then we would have made an adjustment.”

Down 13-8 early in the game, Red Wing scored eight straight, capped off by a Kyli Nelson 3-pointer, to take the lead at 16-13. Even with Mankato West shooting over 40 percent in the first half, the Wingers managed to go into the break with a 32-30 lead.

“They shot really well in the first half and we knew we had to amp up the defensive intensity a little bit and put some pressure on them,” Jesse said. “If there was one thing we weren't very happy with in the first half, it was our defensive intensity. We challenged them at halftime to come out with more intensity.”

Tied at 35-35 in the second half, Lindsay Reps scored a layup for a two-point advantage. Then, the 3-pointers started raining for the Wingers as the team hit four 3-pointers as part of a 14-point swing that put the team ahead 49-35.

“It's really nice to have an unselfish team. Nobody plays for themselves and it's all just a team game,” Zebro said. “We always make the extra pass and whether you're open or not, you give it to the next person.”

Zebro's 23 led all scorers while Lindsay Reps finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Kyli hit four 3-pointers for 12 points off the bench, and Tayzha Buck came up with 10 points, four assists, three rebounds and three blocks.

“I don't think I can remember one possession where I was like, 'That was selfish,'” Jesse said. “That's why we're being successful this year. We move the ball so well and you have to decide who you're going to guard on our team. Bubba (Muelken), Tayzha and Lindsay do such a good job of finding the open shooter, finding the extra shooter and making the extra pass. That's been a key to our success.”

Then, fittingly, with 3:03 remaining in the game, Zebro drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to hit 1,000 career points.

“I honestly didn't think I'd get it tonight. I knew I was close,” Zebro said. “The whole point of the game was to get the win, but it was nice to get it at home. … Lindsay, after I got it, said, 'I really wanted that assist.' Then everyone stood up and I was in shock. I didn't think I had 23 points.”

Jesse added, “We're very happy for Morgan. That's a big, nice milestone to achieve at home and get that out of the way and now we focus on getting ready for sections.”

Due to predicted blizzard-like conditions, Red Wing (17-7, 15-6 Big Nine) has canceled its non-conference game against Byron and will now head to Rochester Mayo Thursday for the regular-season finale.

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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