Natalee Rolbiecki, center, is fouled by Hailey Dirksen, left, of Montevideo while going up for a shot last Thursday. Helping to defend is Avery Koenen, right, of Montevideo.

Vikings dominate Montevideo in battle of ranked unbeatens, 68-44

Minneota has been tested by several unbeaten and ranked teams so far this season. The Vikings passed another tough test last Thursday night against Class AA No. 6-ranked Montevideo.
Minneota dominated the first half, pouring in 43 points against the previously unbeaten Thunderhawks and finished with a convincing 68-44 victory last Thursday.
Minneota (11-1), ranked No. 2 in Class A, shot 50 percent from the floor in sinking the Thunderhawks (6-1). The Vikings built a 43-16 halftime lead, but knew Montevideo was capable of coming back and it did against perennial power New London-Spicer earlier in the year when it trailed by double digits at halftime and went on to a double-digit victory.
"I told the girls that Monte was too good of a team to just fold," said Minneota coach Chad Johnston. "They were going to make a run and we were going to have to weather that run and then make of our own. They came out firing in the second half and made even a bigger run than what I was expecting."
Johnston decided to combat Monte's comeback attack by switching defense in an attempt to wear them down.
"It took a lot of energy from them to make the comeback that they did," said Johnston, "and I felt we had a deeper bench."
Montevideo's feature player, 6-3 junior Avery Koenen, who signed a Division I national letter of intent early to attend North Dakota State University, was held to 12 points, well below her season average.
Ireland Stassen, despite giving up several inches, was assigned to guard her and did an outstanding job keeping the ball out of her hands down low. And when she did get a pass down low, the Vikings converged on her with double- and triple-team defense.
"I figured Ireland would be out best option because she is so athletic, jumps well, and likes to play physical," said Johnston. "She would be quick enough to guard (Koenen) around the perimeter and physical enough to play her inside with the help of her teammates. I thought we played as good of a half-court defense as a team that we have played all year in the first half."
When Stassen was assigned to guard Koenen, she knew it wasn't going to be an easy job.
"We all knew that we were going to have to keep Avery off the boards as much as possible and make sure we get in front of her," said Stassen. "We had to make sure we didn't give her any easy shots. When she gets the ball, it's very hard to stop her. She's very quick and powerful. I knew I had to be as physical as I could be and tire her out as much as possible."
Montevideo did come out of the second half on fire. After Jeren Rost scored to put the Vikings ahead of 29 points (45-16), the Thunderhawks went on a 13-0 run to get back in the game. Monte eventually trimmed its deficit to 11 points at 48-37 with eight minutes left in the game.
"When they made a comeback, we knew we weren't playing as aggressively as we were in the first half," Stassen said. "We were giving them too many open shots, so we picked up our intensity and tried to match our defensive play from the first half."
Minneota then went on a 7-2 run and took over the rest of the second half.
"As I said before, we changed up our defense a little," said Johnston. "I think of the other things was just that a few shots started to fall. During Monte's run, we were getting some good looks, but shots weren't falling. We all know that can become a mental issue and I do think that got inside out heads a little."
The Vikings utilized another balanced scoring attack in which nine players scored four-or-more points. McKenna Yost had 12 points, Natalee Rolbiecki 10, Jeren Rost nine, Stassen and Grace Hennen eight apiece, McKenzie Tolk seven, Kenadi Arndt six, and Kennedi Jurrens and Morgan Moorse four each.
Arndt and Rost pulled down seven rebounds each. Tolk also had five steals and four assists, and Yost also made five steals.

Minneota 68, Montevideo 44
Montevideo................................................16 28 - 44
Minneota.....................................................43 25 - 68

Team Statistics
Field goal shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Montevideo 15-for-39, 38.5 percent. Minneota 27-for-54, 50.0 percent ... 3-point shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Montevideo 5-for-16, 31.2 percent. Minneota 3-for-12, 25.0 percent ... Rebounds: Montevideo 23, Minneota 29.

Montevideo Individual Statistics
Scoring (total points): Hailey Dirksen 12, Teagan Epema 3, Epema 1, Keely Foley 13, Avery Koenen 12, Taylor Viessman 2, Weber 1 ... 3-pointers: Foley 3, Dirksen 1, Epema 1 ... Rebound leader: Foley 7 ... Assist leader: not available ... Steal leader: Epema 2.

Minneota Individual Statistics
Scoring (fgm-fga ftm-fta points): Natalee Rolbiecki 4-8 2-5 10, Jeren Rost 4-9 0-0 9, McKenzie Tolk 2-5 3-3 7, McKenna Yost 5-10 1-2 12, Ireland Stassen 2-5 3-4 8, Grace Hennen 4-6 0-0 8, Kennedi Jurrens 1-1 2-2 4, Kenadi Arndt 3-6 0-0 6, Dakoda Hennen 0-2 0-2 0, Emma Bottelberghe 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Moorse 2-2 0-0 4, Faith Myhre 0-0 0-0 0 ... 3-pointers: Yost 1, Rost 1, Stassen 1 ... Rebounds: Rost 7, Arndt 7, Rolbiecki 4, Stassen 4, Tolk 3, Moorse 2, Yost 1, G.Hennen 1 ... Assists: Tolk 4, Stassen 2, G.Hennen 1, Jurrens 1, Yost 1 ... Steals: Yost 5, Tolk 5, Rolbiecki 1, Jurrens 1

Minneota 73, Pipestone 49
(Result Tuesday, Jan. 11)
McKenna Yost had 19 points, Natalee Rolbiecki 17 and Ireland Stassen 12 as the Vikings (13-1) routed Pipestone despite the Arrows sinking 12 three-pointers.
Minneota built a 37-27 halftime lead and put the game away midway through the second half The Vikings, who sank six 3-pointers, shot a robust 54 percent from the field.
Nine players scored for the Vikings and 11 players grabbed at least one rebound. Jeren Rost finished with nine points, Kenadi Arndt had five, Grace Hennen four, Faith Myhre three, and McKenzie Tolk and Morgan Moorse two each.
Aubrea Kor, who connected on five of seven treys, scored a game-high 25 points for the Arrows.
Minneota plays Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Thursday in Kerkhoven.

(Minneota 73, Pipestone Area 49)
Pipestone Area.........................................27 22 - 49
Minneota....................................................37 36 - 73

Team Statistics
Field goal shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Pipestone Area 17-for-46, 37.0 percent. Minneota 28-for-57, 54.4 percent ... 3-point shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Pipestone Area 12-for-24, 50.0 percent. Minneota 6-for-13, 46.2 percent ... Rebounds: Pipestone Area 23, Minneota 30.

Pipestone Area Individual Statistics
Scoring (total points): Kayla Hubbling 8, Kyla Hubbling 6, Aubrea Kor 25, Jadyn Kor 7, Madelyn Wiese 3 ... 3-pointers: A.Kor 5, Kayla Hubbling 2, Kyla Hubbling 2, J,.Kor 2, Wiese 1 ... Rebound leader: Kyla Hubbling 7 ... Assist leader: not available ... Steal leader: A.Kor 2, J.Kor 2.

Minneota Individual Statistics
Scoring (fgm-fga ftm-fta points): Natalee Rolbiecki 6-7 3-4 17, Jeren Rost 4-8 1-1 9, McKenzie Tolk 1-3 0-0 2, McKenna Yost 8-12 1-2 19, Ireland Stassen 4-10 3-7 12, Grace Hennen 1-5 2-2 4, Kennedi Jurrens 0-1 0-0 0, Kenadi Arndt 2-5 1-1 5, Dakoda Hennen 0-1 0-0 0, Emma Bottelberghe 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Moorse 1-2 0-0 2, Faith Myhre 1-3 0-0 3 ... 3-pointers: Yost 2, Rolbiecki 2, Myhre 1, Stassen 1 ... Rebounds: G.Hennen 5, Rolbiecki 4, Yost 4, Arndt 3, Rost 3, Moorse 3, Tolk 3, Stassen 2, D.Hennen 1, Jurrens 1, Myhre 1 ... Assists: not available ... Steals: Arndt 3, G.Hennen 2, Rolbiecki 2, Yost 2, Stassen 1, Tolk 1.

(Minneota 86, Dawson-Boyd 11)
(Result Friday, Jan. 7)
Minneota overwhelmed a young Dawson-Boyd team that made just four field goals in the entire game. The Blackjacks have only one senior and two juniors on the team.
All 11 Viking players scored three-or-more points as the reserves saw extended action. Minneota shot 49 percent from the field.
Natalee Rolbiecki had 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Vikings (12-1). McKenna Yost connected on a trio of three-pointers and finished with 15 points, four assists and three steals. Ireland Stassen added 14 points and six rebounds. Jeren Rost had 10 points and four steals. Rolbiecki and Emma Bottelberghe also hit three-pointers.

(MINNEOTA 86, DAWSON-BOYD 11)
Dawson-Boyd..............................................9 2 - 11
Minneota.....................................................45 41 - 86

Team Statistics
Field goal shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Dawson-Boyd 4-for-36, 11.1 percent. Minneota 35-for-69, 49.3 percent ... 3-point shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Dawson-Boyd 1-for-15, 6.7 percent. Minneota 5-for-12, 41.7 percent ... Rebounds: Dawson-Boyd 17, Minneota 36.

Dawson-Boyd Individual Statistics
Scoring (total points): Katherine Dahl 6, Chelsie Husby 3, Allison Estling 2 ... 3-pointers: Husby 1 ... Rebound leader: Ayiana Hastad 5 ... Assist leader: not available ... Steal leader: Estling 2.

Minneota Individual Statistics
Scoring (fgm-fga ftm-fta points): Natalee Rolbiecki 6-11 3-5 16, Jeren Rost 3-8 4-4 10, McKenzie Tolk 2-4 2-6 6, McKenna Yost 6-7 0-0 15, Ireland Stassen 6-9 2-2 14, Grace Hennen 2-9 0-0 4, Kennedi Jurrens 2-5 0-0 4, Kenadi Arndt 3-5 0-0 6, Dakoda Hennen 1-3 2-5 4, Emma Bottelberghe 1-2 0-0 3, Morgan Moorse 2-6 0-0 4 ... 3-pointers: Yost 3, Rolbiecki 1, Bottelberghe 1 ... Rebounds: Stassen 6, Rolbiecki 6, G.Hennen 5, Jurrens 5, Arndt 5, D.Hennen 4, Moorse 2, Rost 2, Tolk 1 ... Assists: Yost 4, Rolbiecki 4, Stassen 3, G.Hennen 3, Tolk 2, Jurrens 1, Arndt 1, D.Hennen 1 ... Steals: Rost 4, Yost 3, Tolk 3, Rolbiecki 2, Arndt 1, G.Hennen 1, D.Hennen 1, Stassen 1, Jurrens 1, Moorse 1.

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