Minneota's Morgan Hennen tried to shovel the ball to the basket against Lac qui Parle Valley defender Katlyn Gades as Haley Wollschlager of the Eagles looked on.

Vikings shoot down high-flyin' Eagles

“You proved to me tonight you can play defense,” Coach Chad Johnston told his players after they’d defeated Class A’s No. eight-ranked Lac qui Parle Valley Eagles, 67-61.
“Every time we go into Lydia (Sussner), everything is better,” said Assistant Coach Dale Kockelman.
Better, well, very much so. Sussner scored 28 points, 12 rebounds; had two blocks, two assists and two steals.
“We’ve been working on helping each other,” said Sussner, who had three other Vikings join her in double figures.
Abby Hennen and Morgan Kockelman each has 12 and Lizzy Gillingham contributed 10 points to the effort.
“They collapsed hard a lot of the time,” said Minneota’s junior post player. “We knew they were going to score — so we concentrated on ending their runs ... and we did a good job of that,” Sussner said.
The high-flyin’ Eagles, now 16-3, came into the came ranked No. 8 in state, while the 14-3 Vikings are not ranked.
And they brought Lac qui Parle Valley’s all-time best scorer (boys and girls), Kelsea Lund.
She scored 27 points, left the game with 2,104 points and beat the previous Eagle record held by Bobby Beck at 2,092 points, set during Lac qui Parle Valley’s first year as a school when Beck led the team to the state tournament.
“We knew they had speed (and could shoot), but they were not super tall, and once we got their post (Grace) Hegland in foul trouble, we had the advantage on them,” said Coach Johnston.
Advantage? Yes, because Sussner controlled the inside game. No, because there still was Lund and all that speed.
Minneota built a 55-42 lead with 7:20 to go — but it didn’t last long. Lund slammed in a tree-pointer, and though Minneota would have a 12-point lead at 57-45, the Lund-led Eagles kept flappin’ away at that lead.
“Post is where we excel,” related Coach Johnston, and between Sussner and some very nice free throw shooting, Minneota was able to stay ahead.
In fact, between Morgan Kockelman, Abby Hennen and Sussner, sank 10 of 11 free shots in the final seven and a half minutes.
But the Eagles, whom Coach Johnston says, “Have four quick guards,” used Lund, Haley Wollschlager with 12 points and the outside shooting of Isabel Schirm to stay in the game.
Schirm’s three-pointer pulled the Eagles within three at 59-56 with 1:59 to go.
But Abby Hennen, who made two decisive steals earlier, hit two fee shots, Kockelman sank two of hers and Minneota kept enough space between themselves and the Eagles to stave off the comeback effort.
“This was probably the best game we’ve played since BOLD (first game of the year),” said Coach Kockelman.
“They are such a good three-point shooting team,” said Coach Johnston. Yet, his Vikings sank four of their own — and got a jump start right out of the box when Gillingham hit two, three-pointers at the start of the game.

By halftime Minneota forged a 10-point lead, 35-27 and Sussner had 15 points and seven rebounds. More important, they’d held Lund to just six, first-half points.
“This team knows how good they can be. And maybe we benefitted by not playing last night (Monday’s game with a tough Wabasso team was postponed due to the weather). There was a lot of pressure in this game and we didn’t panic,” said the coach.
The most important lesson learned, said Coach Johnston, “Was they you must sustain a lead and not give it up.”
He added, “It was a great game for us. They’re a good team,” he concluded.

MINNEOTA (2’s, 3’s, FT, F, TP) Lizzy Gillingham 1 2 2-2 3 10; Abby Hennen 3 0 6-6 2 12; Morgan Hennen 1 0 2-2 2 4; Morgan Kockelman 1 2 4-5 2 12; Mariah Muhl 0 0 0-0 0 0; Natalee Rolbiecki 0 0 1-2 1 1; Abby Rost 0 0 0-0 0 0; Lydia Sussner 12 0 4-8 0 28. Totals 18 4 19-25 11 67.
Lac qui Parle Valley (2’s, 3’s, FT, F, TP) Katlyn Gades 0 0 0-0 2 0; Sidney Gerdes 0 1 4-5 3 7; Grace Hegland 2 0 0-1 5 4; Lindsey Kranz 1 1 0-0 2 5; Kelsea Lund 5 3 8-8 2 27; Macie Lund 0 0 0-0 1 0; Isabel Shirm 0 2 0-0 1 6; Haley Wollschlager 3 2 0-0 1 12. Totals 11 9 12-14 17
Score by Halves
Lac qui Parle Valley                27     34     —    61
Minneota                                 37     30     —    67
SHOOTING: Minneota (2’s 18 of 37 for 49 percent; 3’s 4 of 11 for 36 percent; overall 22 of 48 for 46 percent); LqPV (2’s 11 of 33 for 33 percent; 9 of 19 for 47 percent; overall 20 of 62 for 39 percent).
FREE THROWS: Minneota 19 of 25 for 76 percent; LqPV 12 of 14 for 86 percent.
REBOUNDS: Minneota 26 (Sussner 12; Abby Hennen 6; Kockelman 4; Gillingham 3; Rolbiecki 1); LqPV 14 (Gerdes, K. Lund, Kranz 3 each; Hedland 2).
TURNOVERS: Minneota 19; LqPV 14.
STEALS: Minneota 9 (A. Hennen, Rost, Sussner 2 each; Gillingham, Kockelman, Rolbiecki 1 each); LqPV 3 (Gerdes, Lund, Schirm 1 each);
ASSISTS: Minneota 13 (A. Hennen, M. Hennen 3 each; Kockelman, Sussner 2 each; Gillingham, Rolbiecki, Rost 1 each); Lqpv 5 (Gerdes 2, K. Lund, Krnz, Wollschlager 1 each).
BLOCKS: Minneota 3 (Sussner 2, A. Hennen 1); LqPV 1 (Hegland 1).
B SQUAD: Minneota 36, Lac qui Parle Valley 31.

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