Gallery: Late run lifts Red Wing over Albert Lea
Published 10:00 pm Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Albert Lea and Red Wing girls’ basketball teams had one common opponent this year: Austin.
The Wingers pounded the Packers 66-39 on the road, and Albert Lea lost 63-54 at Austin seven days later.
However, Red Wing learned at Albert Lea that stringing game scores together is dangerous.
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The Wingers needed a 10-0 run on Thursday to climb out of a four-point deficit and build a lead of their own in the last five minutes of regulation to beat the Tigers 58-54.
“It’s just realizing that on any night, anything can happen,” said Albert Lea head coach Lindsey Hugstad-Vaa. “If you show up and play hard, it can be a good game.”
The Tigers gave the Wingers a run for their money from the opening tip. Bryn Woodside scored the first points of the game on a steal and layup, and Megan Kortan added five straight points to give Albert Lea a 7-2 lead.
“Once we got on the court, the girls noticed that we can play with them,” Hugstad-Vaa said.
Red Wing fought back with a full-court press and went on a 6-0 run to take an 8-7 lead. Albert Lea countered with a 9-3 run of its own to build a 16-10 advantage.
The score was tied at 26 after three more lead changes with 10 seconds before halftime. Red Wing drove the lane and hit a buzzer-beater, but its second-half lead was short-lived.
An offensive rebound by Sydney Rehnelt led to a 3-point play by Woodside, and Albert Lea reclaimed the lead 33-32. Woodside scored two-more of her team-high 27 points later in the second half to give the Tigers a 50-46 lead. However, Red Wing caught fire from beyond the arc with a pair of 3-pointers. Albert Lea was unable to stop the momentum and ran out of time.
“It’s the small things. Not following (a shot) and getting an offensive rebound,” Hugstad-Vaa said. “But the effort was there and the heart was there, so that’s the important part.”
Albert Lea forced 13 turnovers and had seven steals with a defense Hugstad-Vaa implemented Wednesday.
“We worked on it for one day, and we caught onto it really well,” she said. “We were going to bump and talk and be more physical, and we did that.”
The big three: Woodside, Kortan and Rehnelt combined for 91 percent of Albert Lea’s offensive production.
Hugstad-Vaa said Fran Eckstrom and Caycee Gilbertson stepped up in the post.
“They did a really good job of talking to each other, and they’ll get stronger and more comfortable,” she said. “It’ll just take time.”
Next, Albert Lea (1-3 overall, 0-1 Big Nine Conference) will play at Faribault at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Falcons (0-2 overall, 0-2 Big Nine Conference) lost 43-30 at home against Rochester Century and 45-31 at home to Rochester Mayo.
Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Dec. 12 post.