8th-grade basketball girls 2nd in tourney

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2004

Coming off a third-place finish in the Big Nine tournament, the Albert Lea eighth-grade traveling girls’ basketball team was looking for its fourth championship of the season in its home-town tourney.

The girls started against Fairmont, taking a commanding 23-6 lead. Eight of nine players scored as Albert Lea won 33 to 12.

Waseca was the next opponent for the Tigers, who were then without teammate Dezeray Jacobs who as in a state band competition.

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The Tigers had Jessica Sosebee front the Bluejays’ center, leaving her scoreless for entire game. Sam Cole and Hali Hendrickson took care of the baseline while Annika Smed and Chelsea Niebuhr continued to put pressure on the ball, with Smed deflecting several passes.

Beth Niebuhr and Jordan Reim also contributed to a tough defense which held Waseca to four points in the first half as the Tigers prevailed 34-22.

The championship game put was against Rochester Mayo.

The Tigers, with a squad of seven, faced a Mayo team of 10. The Tigers trailed at halftime, 15-13, and were up 27-21 at the end of the third quarter, but they ran out of gas in the fourth as Mayo won 38-29.

Statistics for the tournament: Cole nine points, 17 rebounds, one steal, four assists; Hendrickson 27 points, 13 rebounds, eight steals, 10 assists, four blocked shots; Reim two rebounds, one assist; Chelsey Niebuhr two points, eight rebounds, one steal, two assists; Jacobs six points, three rebounds, one steal, one assist, one blocked shot; Beth Niebuhr, three points, six rebounds, one steal, one assist; Smed, 20 points, 14 rebounds, six steals, eight assists; Sosebee 27 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, one assist, one blocked shot.

“The girls saw the court really well this tournament, with many of the girls contributing to the scoring, said coach Kelly Hendrickson. &uot;Our defense is what has really improved this year. The girls are focusing on the fundamentals of basketball and it is showing when they step on the court

Each girl played their role and it made for some great teamwork. There were some great passes this weekend.”