Abby Hennen goes in for two points.

Minneota tops Red Lake in state opener

Minneota knew that Red Lake likes to maintain a fast pace and magnetize to the ball in order to utilize its trapping defense.
So, Minneota Coach Chad Johnston and his staff had his starting five practice against seven defenders (the five non-starters, plus two other players that don’t dress for varsity) to prepare for the state tournament opener on Thursday.
“We played five on seven to try and simulate how (Red Lake) traps after every pass,” Johnston explained. “(The Minneota starters) were frustrated at first, but then they realized what was working.”
The Warriors employed that same ball-hawking defensive style last year as they did in this year’s quarterfinals.
But after a few early turnovers, the Vikings began to figure things out and, after jumping out to a 7-0 lead, never looked back en route to a 57-37 victory at the University of Minnesota’s Maturi Pavilion.
Unfortunately, that concluded the 2019-2020 season for the top-ranked and defending state champions, who were favored to repeat by being selected the top seed in this tournament.
Minneota (31-1) was slated to face Waterville-Elysian-Morristown at noon Friday at Williams Arena before Minnesota State High School League officials, after consulting with the Minnesota Health Department, cancelled the remainder of the tournament due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Junior guard Abby Hennen led the Vikings with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
“We got pressure to start (from Red Lake),” she said. “I think we did a good job. Then our subs came in and filled their roles perfectly. I think we had a nice team effort with everybody helping to bring the ball up the court.”
Johnston called Red Lake’s trapping defense “organized chaos”.
“They don’t line up in a 1-2-2 defense, or a 2-2-1,” he said. “It’s hard to figure out exactly what they are doing. They just go and find the ball.”
By creating numerous turnovers, Red Lake had reached the 100-point mark five times this season. But the Vikings limited the Warriors to only 14 points in the first half.
“We kind of went into the game going away from our normal defensive principles,” said Johnston. “We felt they had a couple of players that we needed to force them to use their left hand after they got going on their right hand. They are really hard to stop once they get going.”
Natalee Rolbiecki added 10 points and seven rebounds for Minneota, which out rebounded the Section 8 champion Warriors 52-35 despite being undersized.
“We didn’t want to give them any second chances,” said Rolbiecki. “I think our team did a really good job boxing out, because they have some taller players that are aggressive rebounders. Getting the rebounding going helped get us some transition points.”
Johnston also thought the rebounding edge was paramount because of Red Lake’s height advantage.
“We have a lot of very athletic girls in that 5-9 range that can jump,” he said. “And maybe that’s where we get into trouble sometimes against a taller team, because we think we can just out jump people. That’s why we emphasize to keep boxing out.”
Freshman wing Ireland Stassen chipped in eight points and six rebounds in a solid performance off the bench for the Vikings. Abby Rost finished with six points and three assists, Jeren Rost had four points and 10 rebounds, Morgan Hennen had four points and six rebounds, and McKenna Yost had two points and three assists.
“We weren’t coming up to the ball very well to meet their press at first,” said Stassen. “Once we started doing that, we could break their press and get some transition shots.”
Kelanna McClain led Red Lake with 12 points.MINNEOTA 57, RED LAKE 37
Red Lake (fg-att 3pt-att, ft-att, Pts) - Kaylynn Chaboyea 1-2 0-0 0-0 2, Lashun Roy 3-5 0-1 0-0 6, Gerika Kingbird 0-8 0-8 3-5 3, Autumn Holthusen 2-9 1-6 0-0 7, Kelanna McClain 4-9 0-0 3-6 11, Emma Kingbird 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Elise White 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Brisenia Bravo 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Marlene Blue 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Kingbird Pemberton 0-0 0-1 0-0 0, Karen Guise 1-3 0-0 2-2 4, Rhozario McClain 2-3 0-2 0-2 4, Kailyn Seki 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Daisey Nelson 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Haleigh Seki 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Adriah Sayers 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Nataya Neaudeau 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Latayla Pemberton 0-0 0-0 0-0 0.
Minneota (fg-att 3pt-att ft-att Pts) - Abby Hennen 6-8 3-7 2-2 23, Morgan Hennen 1-5 0-2 2-2 4, Kennedi Jurrens 0-2 0-0 0-0 0, Hailey Kimpe 0-0 0-1 0-0 0, Natalee Rolbiecki 4-12 0-3 2-2 10, Abby Rost 1-4 1-1 1-2 6, Jeren Rost 2-5 0-0 0-0 4, Ireland Stassen 4-7 0-0 0-2 8, McKenzie Tolk 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, McKenna Yost 0-1 0-1 2-2 2.

Red Lake.....……14 23 - 37
Minneota...……...30 27 - 57

SHOOTING: Red Lake (2’s 13-for-45, 29 percent; 3’s 1-for-18, 6 percent; overall 14-for-63, 22 percent); Minneota (2’s 18-for-44, 41 percent; 3’s 4-for-15, 27 percent; overall 22-for-59, 37 percent).
REBOUNDING: Red Lake 35 (Holthusen 10); Minneota 52 (A.Hennen 14, J.Rost 10, Rolbiecki 7, M.Hennen 6, Stassen 6, A.Rost 3, Jurrens 3, Tolk 2, Yost 1).
TURNOVERS: Red Lake 14, Minneota 17
STEALS: Red Lake 10 (K.McClain 3); Minneota 4 (Yost 2, M.Hennen 1, A.Hennen 1).
ASSISTS: Red Lake 7 (Kingbird 3, K.MCClain 3); Minneota 14 (A.Hennen 3, A.Rost 3, Yost 3, M,Hennen 2, Stassen 2, Rolbiecki 1).

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