Freshman guard Jaylen Struck-Schmitz, with the ball against St. Peter last Tuesday night, is among many regulars who will be returning for the Tigers next season.
Freshman guard Jaylen Struck-Schmitz, with the ball against St. Peter last Tuesday night, is among many regulars who will be returning for the Tigers next season.
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by Dan Ruud
The Belle Plaine High School girls’ basketball team was not able to continue its three-game winning streak at the finish of the regular season into the postseason as it lost 67-55 to St. Peter in the first round of the Section 2AA, North Subsection Tournament last Tuesday night in St. Peter.
The seventh-seeded Tigers did not go down without a fight, however, as they led the second-seeded Saints much of the second half, including 15-7 at one point. But St. Peter, playing its final game in its longtime gym before moving to its new high school next year, battled back to take a 40-32 lead at the end of the first half. Belle Plaine got the lead down to 44-39 early in the second half before St. Peter built a double-digit cushion and maintained it.
“We came out ready to play against a very good team in a tough atmosphere,” said Belle Plaine coach Randy Carlson. “It was great to see us keep our composure and play our game. We defended and rebounded very well early in the game and were able to find ways to score.”
Paige Narveson, Elizabeth Johnson and Sarah Lenz led the Tigers with 19, 17 and 10 points, respectively. Lauren Johnson added five points and Lily Vinkemeier had three. Elizabeth Johnson had nine rebounds and four assists, both team highs.
“I am really proud of the way our team came to play and the effort they showed,” Carlson said. “We have come a long way this year and it was good to finish with some wins and a solid game in the sections. Hopefully, our younger players gain some confidence and motivation from this. If they really devote themselves this offseason, we can expect some big things from them. It will come down to how good do they want to be.
“This game marked end of the (high school basketball) careers of four seniors that showed a lot of determination and leadership – Alexa Lenz, Schuyler Sterk, Ireland Lambrecht and Elizabeth Johnson,” Carlson continued. “They battled through adversity and some major injuries and showed great perseverance. We will really miss them. Thanks to them for all they have done. Also, a special thanks to Carly Werner for all of her help as my assistant coach this season. Her presence has really helped our program. Thanks for all the support that we saw at St. Peter and all season. Your presence really helped us and was appreciated.”
Belle Plaine, which was 2-10 in the Minnesota River Conference, finished the season with an overall record of 6-21. St. Peter went on to lose Friday night’s subsection semifinal game to No. 3 seed Glencoe-Silver Lake 76-53. G-SL was scheduled to play No. 1 seed Norwood Young America in the subsection championship at Minnesota State University, Mankato Tuesday night after this edition of the Herald went to press.