Tiger defense breaks down in second half

Published 1:27 pm Saturday, January 31, 2009

The lessons have been many this season for first-year head coach Sean Gillam and the Albert Lea girls’ basketball team. The Tigers learned another one Friday in a 55-44 loss to Mankato West in Mankato.

Albert Lea (6-11, 2-7) held the Scarlets (10-5, 7-3) to 17 points in the first half, but weren’t able to keep the same defensive intensity in the second half as West scored 38 points.

“I think we learned tonight how much energy you have to expend to play defense well,” Gillam said.

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Gillam described the first half as the best defensive effort the team has had this season, but Albert Lea wasn’t able to maintain that level throughout the game.

In the second half West starting converting Tiger turnovers into transition layups and starting making 3-point shots to put Albert Lea away.

“We just weren’t getting back defensively like we were in the first half,” Gillam said.

The Tigers offense struggled to find any rhythm, shooting 25 percent from the field as their starting backcourt went a combined 9-for-37.

Abbey Arends and Alyssa Sager both finished with 11 points on the night despite the poor shooting percentages.

“It was one of those nights where your guards weren’t shooting well, but then again nobody was shooting well,” Gillam said.

Albert Lea did hold an advantage on the glass, totalling 40 rebounds compared to 32 to West.

The Scarlets were led by Abby Rothenbuehler’s 13 points and 12 rebounds. Katie Lauer added 11 in the win.

“The defense is a lot more intense than when I first got here, but it’s got a ways to go,” Gillam said.

The Tigers host Mayo Tuesday and travel to Mankato Thursday to face East.

Mankato West 55, Albert Lea 44

Albert Lea 16 28 — 44

Mankato West 17 38 — 55

Albert Lea scoring: Alyssa Sager 11, Abbey Arends 11, Katie Schou 8, Heather Greibrok 7, Sarah Wenum 4, Morgan Stadheim 2, Skyler Anderson 1.

Mankato West scoring: Abby Rothenbuehler 13 and 12, Katie Lauer 11, Jessica Wacholz 9, Ashley Veroeven 7, Brooke Rosenstiel 7, Jessica Henke 6, Brianna Christiansen 2.