Rebels fall in subsection semifinals

Published 3:36 am Friday, March 6, 2015

Headed into halftime, the United South Central girls’ basketball team cut a 10-point deficit to three points.

However, No. 7 Mankato Loyola responded with five second-half 3-pointers to eliminate the Rebels 51-35 Thursday in the Subsection 2A South semifinals at Fairmont.

USC coach Stu Hendrickson said his team kept Loyola from finding an offensive rhythm late in the first half.

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“We mixed our defenses up, they were throwing up some pretty wild shots and we were there to clean up the rebounds,” he said. “We were forcing a lot of perimeter shots and limiting them to one shot (per possession).”

Anissa Janzig led the Rebels’ scoring attack with 12 points to go with eight rebounds and two blocks. Shianne Robertson led USC on the glass and added a double-double: 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Janzig, Taylor Schultz and Taylor Steckelberg played their last high school basketball game for the Rebels.

“We’re going to miss those three seniors,” Hendrickson said. “They’ve given us leadership and a lot of good play on the court with three successful seasons at the varsity level. They’ve been good examples and role models.”

After a 3-4 start, USC (16-12, 6-6 Gopher) finished the season by winning six of its last nine games.

In their first game of the postseason on Monday, the Rebels beat Nicollet 75-56. It was USC’s second straight season with at least one postseason win.

“It’s tough to win on the road this time of year, and I was proud of that,” Hendrickson said.

The last season the Rebels had a losing record was in 2007-08, which was the year before Hendrickson took over. Hendrickson’s teams posted seven straight winning seasons.

Last season, USC posted a 19-8 record, and won two postseason games for the first time in 17 years. After beating Martin Luther and St. Clair, the Rebels were eliminated by Loyola 48-41.

This season, USC met Loyola twice before the postseason. The Crusaders edged the Rebels 75-70 in overtime on Dec. 29 at the St. Clair tournament, and USC lost 59-49 on Jan. 24 at Mankato.

In the subsection finals, the Crusaders will play Heron Lake-Okabena (21-6, 15-1 Red Rock) at 6 p.m. Monday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Heron Lake-Okabena beat Granada-Huntley-East Chain (15-11, 9-5 Valley) 61-52 Thursday in the subsection semifinals.