United South Central's Anissa Janzig drives the lane during Monday night's victory over Martin Luther. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune
United South Central's Anissa Janzig drives the lane during Monday night's victory over Martin Luther. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune

United South Central downs Martin Luther at home

Published 9:28pm Monday, March 3, 2014

WELLS — Under the bright lights of the playoffs, sometimes a team needs a leader to carry the group.

Anissa Janzig put United South Central on her back Monday night.

After watching a large first-half lead evaporate into a one-point halftime deficit, the USC girls’ basketball team turned in a gritty second-half performance to defeat Martin Luther 64-59 in the second round of the Section 2A tournament at home.

Eryn Eilertson of United South Central looks to pass the ball Monday during the second round of the Section 2A tournament against Martin Luther. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune
Eryn Eilertson of United South Central looks to pass the ball Monday during the second round of the Section 2A tournament against Martin Luther. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune

With the game close and 20 seconds left on the clock, Janzig rebounded a missed free throw by Shianne Robertson and put it back for the game’s final two points. Those may have been her biggest points of the game, but they weren’t her only ones of the game.

“Anissa had a great game,” said USC head coach Stu Hendrickson. “Other players played well, but Anissa did a lot of good things for us on both ends of the floor.”

Janzig finished the nights with 32 points and 18 rebounds. The point total is a new USC record, knocking off Kirsten Thisius’ 30 point total from the 2005-06 season. Janzig was also three rebounds shy of the school’s rebound record set by Val Sahr in 2011.

“Big thanks to the wings. They were really feeding me the ball,” Janzig said. “I just had to finish. They did a super job of getting it inside.”

Despite leading by double digits in the first half, USC trailed 32-31 at halftime. Martin Luther converted a three-point play with less than one second left in the half to take the lead. Martin Luther was clutch from the free-throw line all night.

Stu Hendrickson, United South Central’s girls’ basketball head coach, instructs his players Monday during a timeout in the second round of the Section 2A tournament. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune
Stu Hendrickson, United South Central’s girls’ basketball head coach, instructs his players Monday during a timeout in the second round of the Section 2A tournament. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune

“I wanted to call a timeout there with less than a minute left there in the first half, but I didn’t want to burn one,” Hendrickson said. “I probably should have called one there because things started to go wrong. I told them we just have to do what we’ve been doing all year. Get the ball inside and take our chances there.”

Janzig said the mood in the locker room was good at half, despite losing the lead.

“We have our ups and downs. So does the other team,” she said. “We were joking that they got a little ripple in the pond, and we’ve got to come back with a tsunami in the second half.”

To start the second half, Janzig made three straight layups to help the Rebels regain the lead. Martin Luther recaptured the lead later, but USC grabbed it back with one minute left and held on.

“She carried us tonight,” Hendrickson said. “She had a heck of a game.”

USC picked up the win in the last basketball game held at United South Central’s High School. It was the Rebels’ third postseason win in 10 years. A new school will open in Wells next school year.

“We talked before the game that a trivia question some day might be, ‘Who won the last game?’” Janzig said. “And Stu said that it wouldn’t sound right if the answer was Martin Luther.”

USC will play again in the section quarterfinals against St. Clair at 8 p.m. Thursday at Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial High School.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: March 3 post.