Gallery: Vikings hold off Huskies

Published 9:23 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Shelby Low of Northwood-Kensett glides toward the basket Tuesday in the Vikings' 61-58 home win over Nashua-Plainfield. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Shelby Low of Northwood-Kensett glides toward the basket Tuesday in the Vikings’ 61-58 home win over Nashua-Plainfield. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

NORTHWOOD — The Northwood-Kensett girls’ basketball team is back on track.

The last time the No. 12 Class 1A Vikings took the court, they were derailed with a 66-24 loss at No. 12 Class 2A North Butler on Dec. 17.

After having 20 days to stew about it, Northwood-Kensett responded by pummeling unranked Nashua-Plainfield 21-5 in the first quarter on Tuesday en route to a 61-58 win.

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“I think we play so much better when we get out and pressure teams and push the ball up the court,” said Northwood-Kensett head coach Daryl Love. “That showed in the first quarter. We had our way.”

Kayla Branstad scored the game’s first four points in the paint to give the Vikings an early lead. After a free throw and a transition layup by Shelby Low, Northwood-Kensett led 7-0. The Vikings extended their lead to 18-3 with a 3-pointer by Low.

However, in the second quarter Nashua-Plainfield did the same thing it did in the third and fourth quarters: Cut into its deficit.

Midway through the second quarter, the Huskies went on a 10-0 run, but Northwood-Kensett’s Chloe Breitsprecher scored eight points in the quarter to preserve part of the Vikings’ lead.

“We were getting some good looks because when you pass it inside, a lot of times they’ll kick it back out and you’ll be open,” Breitsprecher said.

At halftime, Northwood-Kensett led 31-18.

The Huskies cut further into their deficit in the third quarter. At the start of the fourth, the Vikings’ lead was shaved to single digits.

When the Northwood-Kensett broke Nashua-Plainfield’s press, the Vikings were rewarded with a clear lane to the basket. However, the press also forced multiple Northwood-Kensett turnovers.

“We knew they were going to play full-court man on us,” Love said. “They’ve done the same thing the last three years. They take chances. They’ll put two, three girls on the ball.”

With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Vikings led 53-52. That’s when Hattie Davidson buried a free throw-line jumper to extend Northwood-Kensett’s lead to three points. Nashua-Plainfield pulled within one point again, but Low followed Davidson’s lead and knocked down two free throws. From that point on, the Vikings lead grew.

“They did all night what they needed to do,” Love said. “They kept showing resiliency.”

Northwood-Kensett never trailed.

The Vikings were 10 of 20 from the charity stripe, and the Huskies were 16 of 33.

Low led Northwood-Kensett with 15 points, Breitsprecher had 14 and Branstad had 11.

Next, the Vikings (7-2 overall, 3-2 Corn Bowl Conference) will host Rockford at 6 p.m., Friday.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Jan. 7 post.