Girls' Basketball: Red Wing holds off Austin
The good times kept rolling for fifth-ranked Red Wing as it downed Albert Lea 68-32 on Friday.
It was a big shooting night for Red Wing junior Kyli Nelson as she made 7 of 13 from behind the arc and scored a game-high 24 points.
Nelson's big night didn't come until late in the first half. Red Wing wasn't finding many open looks in the paint, so they took 3-point shots instead but missed on them.
"Our start was not the best," Nelson said. "We changed it up, started curling and finding the open person. Then we started executing."
Nelson hit a 3-point shot in consecutive possessions.
"I have confidence in myself and can hit the shot when needed," Nelson said.
Her shot got the offense flowing again and was exactly what team needed. A minor adjustment in strategy led to Nelson getting wide-open looks; curling around the screen.
"Kyli made a really nice curl and I think that change of the pace helped us out a little bit when we were in that lull in the first half," said Red Wing head coach Jesse Nelson. "I think we shot four, five 3s and missed them all. The next possession, Kyli goes down and gets that curl. That was also a key play to keep adjusting and doing things a little bit different if the 3s aren't going in."
Jesse said Kyli has shot the ball well from behind the arc all year and has greatly improved to be dependable from long range.
"Kyli has been cutting really hard lately," Jesse Nelson said. "She's becoming very difficult to guard. She's not being so predictable. Last year, she just floated around the 3-point line. This year she's cutting a lot harder. ... Her basketball IQ is what gets her open a lot of times."
With a 31-15 lead after Nelson's jolt, the Wingers defense shut down Albert Lea the rest of the way, allowing only 17 points in the final 20 minutes of the game.
"I think we kept the pressure on them defensively in the second half," Jesse Nelson said. "We continued to make shots and play fast."
The defense in the second half allowed for more fast breaks for the Wingers, something that has been one of the focal points for the team all season. With more fast break points available, the Wingers were able to spread the ball around more effectively.
"Defensive intensity has been the main focus for us and it helps us in the transitions," Kyli Nelson said. "Once we get a stop we look to push it up and find the shooters or the post running to the rim."
Lindsay Reps complimented Kyli's night with 21 points and five steals, while Dani Deming added 10 points.
The Wingers improved to 12-2 overall and 8-2 in the Big Nine.
The Red Wing girls' basketball team came out on top, 53-46, over Austin on Tuesday.
Trailing by a point at halftime, the Wingers scored 29 points in the second half to secure the win.
Lindsay Reps and Kyli Nelson each had a team-high 13 points. Abi Deming nearly had a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.