by Dan Ruud
The Belle Plaine High School girls’ basketball team started the 2016-17 season with two wins in a row and ended the regular season with three wins in a row with a 70-51 triumph at Breck School in Golden Valley last Tuesday night.
In between those two winning streaks the Tigers mustered just one win on their way to a 6-20 overall record, two of those victories coming against winless Le Sueur-Henderson.
All that added up a No. 7 seed for Belle Plaine in the eight-team Section 2AA, North Subsection Tournament that got underway Tuesday night after this edition of the Herald went to press. The Tigers were at No. 2 seed St. Peter, which finished 20-4 in the regular season, with one of those wins accounting for No. 1 seed Norwood Young America’s only loss of the season. NYA hosted No. 8 seed LS-H in another subsection quarterfinal game Tuesday night.
The Belle Plaine/St. Peter winner will play the winner between No. 3 seed Glencoe-Silver Lake (13-11) and No. 6 Sibley East (10-15) 7:45 p.m. this Friday at Prior Lake High School. The NYA/LS-H winner will square off on the same floor at 6 p.m. against either No. 4 Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop (18-7) or No. 5 Tri-City United (18-8). The subsection championship game is set for 7:45 p.m. next Tuesday at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The winner of that game will play the champion of the South Subsection 8 p.m. March 10 for the right to go to the state Class 2A tournament.
The top seed in the South Subsection is New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (21-5). The No. 2 seed is Blue Earth Area (13-12).
Tigers 70, Breck 51
The Mustangs raced to a 9-6 lead early before the Tigers clawed back to a take a 15-9 advantage and lead the rest of the way en route to a 70-51 win last Tuesday night at Breck School.
“They (Breck) had a couple of good players and once we figured them out, we defended them well,” said Tigers coach Randy Carlson. “Our pressure defense got to them and they made a lot of mistakes that we turned into points.
“All in all, it was a good way to end the regular season on a positive note by winning three consecutive games,” Carlson continued.
Belle Plaine’s Paige Narveson was 7 of 13 from three-point range on her way to scoring a game-high 28 points. Elizabeth Johnson contributed 16 points, while Jaylen Struck-Schmitz and Sara Lenz both had seven, followed by Lily Vinkemeier with six. Alexa Lenz, Lauren Johnson and Sidney Schafer each had two points. Johnson led the team in rebounds (7), assists (8) and steals (4).
“Elizabeth Johnson showed a lot of heart and stepped up in a leadership role early and set the tone for us,” Carlson said. “It was good to see Paige Narveson continue her improved play. We also did a good job of helping to get her open”