Miscues cost Tigers

Published 2:17 am Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In the last two weeks the Albert Lea girls’ basketball team has risen and fallen from the Big Nine standings and after Tuesday’s game with Faribault the gap between the Tigers and the top of the conference widened considerably.

After beating Mankato East Jan. 15 Albert Lea stood in third place in the conference but after Tuesday’s 55-38 loss to the Falcons (8-7, 7-3 Big Nine) at Albert Lea High School the Tigers sunk to sixth.

Albert Lea (6-8, 4-4 Big Nine) committed 25 turnovers against Faribault’s press and gave up 29 offensive rebounds as the Falcons grabbed control of the game in the second half.

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For the second consecutive game an opponent’s full-court press harassed the Tigers and afterward Albert Lea senior Abbey Arends said the team has lacked confidence handling the ball against the press.

“We’re not being confident with the ball,” said Arends, who was held to nine points. “When we get the ball we’re being either too hesitant or too quick to give the ball up. We need to start playing with confidence and we need to start playing with intensity out there.”

The Tigers played with neither in the second half and Faribault took advantage despite shooting 25 percent from the field in the game.

The Falcons got their points from the free throw line and offensive rebounds. Faribault attempt 20 free throws in the second half and made 15 of them and converted on second chances in the paint.

Jenna Henry led the Falcons with 15 points and Michaela Smith scored 13 points to lead Faribault to its sixth consecutive victory and into a tie for second in the conference. Nearly half of their points came from the free throw line.

After shooting 33 percent in the first half and taking a 22-20 halftime lead, Albert Lea shot 17 percent from the field in the second half and made just five shots from the field.

“We didn’t score for a little bit there at the beginning of the half which killed more than anything else,” said Tigers head coach Sean Gillam. “When you’re scoring you can get other things taken care of, but we just didn’t score.”

After Arends hit a jumpshot to give the Tigers a 24-22 lead early in the second half, Albert Lea had two field goals in the next five minutes.

Morgan Stadheim led the Tigers with 15 points.

The Tigers lost their third consecutive game and second to a conference opponent, which severely crippled any chance of competing for the conference title.

“It’s extremely, extremely frustrating,” Stadheim said. “We had every intention of going out and winning the Big Nine this year.”

Albert Lea plays Austin Thursday in Albert Lea.

Faribault 55, Albert Lea 38

Faribault 20 35 — 55

Albert Lea 22 16 — 38

Faribault scoring: Jenna Henry 15, Michaela Smith 13, Jenna Peanasky 10, Marisa Amacher 6, Emily Dell 5, Maggie Stoeckel 4, Tess Burkhartsmeyer 2.

Albert Lea scoring: Morgan Stadheim 15, Abbey Arends 9, Alyssa Sager 6, Mikaela Pierson 5, Taylor Friehl 3.