Girls Basketball: Defense reigns for Red Wing
For the first time in five years, the Red Wing girls' basketball team left as the top team in its own tip-off tournament. And the Wingers pulled it off with a convincing win over the two-time defending Class A champions.
Led by a defense that didn't allow a double-digit scorer, Red Wing fought off top-ranked Goodhue for a 46-39 victory Saturday at Sonju Gymnasium.
"I'm so proud of the defensive effort," said Wingers head coach Jesse Nelson. "It was a team effort."
Both the Wingers' and Wildcats' defenses appeared in mid-season form, as both teams were held under 40 percent shooting.
"I'm pretty happy with 46 as their number in an up-and-down game," Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme said.
Red Wing was the one to find some space early, opening the game with an 8-0 run. It took Goodhue five minutes to score its first bucket with a 3-pointer from Mariah Tipcke.
The Wildcats tied it up at 13-13 before the Wingers used a Tayzha Buck 3-pointer and a pair of buckets from Hannah Rodgers to go up by seven. Goodhue ended the first half on a six-point run to cut Red Wing's halftime lead to 25-24.
The Wildcats managed to keep it a one-possession game, even taking a brief 33-32 lead after a free throw from Kate Opsahl at the 10-minute, 44-second mark of the second half.
But that lead went away for good when Dani Deming scored a layup for Red Wing, followed by a jumper from Lindsay Reps and a 3-pointer from Buck. It remained a two-possession game the rest of the way.
Reps led the Wingers with 12 points along with nine rebounds and two assists while Buck had 11 points to go with six rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists. Dani Deming scored eight points off the bench, including a four-point play with 5:01 to play that put Red Wing up by eight.
"She did a great job coming off the bench tonight," Nelson said of Deming. "(On Friday) it was Elle Thorson, (Saturday) it was Dani. When we're only playing seven kids at this point, we're going to have to have contributions from them. The kids' fitness is coming around. Just proud of the kids and their efforts."
Lexie Lodermeier paced Goodhue with eight points and nine rebounds. With Buck and Rodgers applying strong pressure throughout the game, Wildcats senior Sydney Lodermeier was limited to seven points and six rebounds. Torrie Rehder, Emily Benrud and Tipcke all finished with six points.
"We need more people to score. We need better possessions," Wieme said. "We had too many empty possessions where we don't get a shot or it's a poor shot."
Red Wing (2-0) will travel to Mankato East Tuesday before beginning a stretch where it will host seven of its next eight games at home. Goodhue (1-1) opens Hiawatha Valley League play Tuesday on the road against Triton.