Tigers fall to John Marshall by 13

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2008

By Mike Simmons, staff writer

It may be the two biggest clich/s in all of sports &8212; the best team didn&8217;t win and the game was a lot closer than the score indicates &8212; but both were definitely true Thursday night. The Albert Lea girls&8217; basketball team gave class 4AAA Rochester John Marshall (12-4) everything it could handle in a 56-43 Big Nine Conference loss.

The Tigers turned the ball over on their first five possessions without attempting a shot and found themselves trailing 6-0. But after an A.L. timeout the Tigers put on a relentless zone press and clawed their way back into the game taking the lead 15-14 on a Hali Hendrickson jumper.

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After two Moragn Stadheim scores pushed the advantage to 19-16 Katie Schou kept the momentum going with a jumper that put the Tigers in front 23-21.

That was the last time A.L. held the lead as the Tigers went scoreless for the final five minutes of the half and trailed 35-23 at halftime.

&8220;I feel like when we are playing our best basketball we are as good as anyone in the Big Nine,&8221; said Tigers head coach Karol Hansen. &8220;We have to change what we are doing depending on who we have on the floor, when we have our quickest lineup on the floor then we are really good. We are able to put some pressure on the ball and really get going.&8221;

Starting the second half the scoring drought continued for the Tigers as they found themselves on the wrong end of a 42-23 score.

In games past this might have marked the beginning of the end but on this night A.L. took better care of the ball and cut the lead to 14 at 54-40 with under three minutes left in the game.

The Tigers continued to play their hearts out, but in the end the nine minutes they went without scoring came back to bite them as they fell just 13 points short at the final buzzer.

&8220;Outside of losing the game I&8217;m really proud of the girls,&8221; Hansen said. &8220;They have really improved in their effort on the court and the progress they&8217;re making.&8221;

Hendrickson led the Tigers in scoring with 12 points and grabbed seven boards while Abbey Arends was also in double figures with 10 points.

With the loss, the Tigers fall to 4-12 overall and 2-7 in the Big Nine and will be home again next Friday when they host Mankato West.

John Marshall 56, Albert Lea 43

Albert Lea – Alyssa Sager 8, Morgan Stadheim 6, Abby Arends 10, Hali Hendrickson 12, Katie Schou 2, Nichelle Klatt 5