Barnesville and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton was a classic ‘slow and steady’ against ‘fast and furious.’ Slow and steady won the race this time around.
With less than a minute to go and his team clinging to a three-point lead, Barnesville coach Ryan Bomstad looked at his assistant coaches and said nothing was going to come easy. That sums up the game to a tee. Nothing was easy for either side — which was exactly how the Trojans wanted it.
Barnesville got 20 points from Emma Nielsen and 14 from Nicole Herbanson, edging Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 56-52 Tuesday night in Glyndon.
“Overall I thought we stayed in it and we were poised at the end,” Bomstad said. “They have such a different style that you can’t simulate it. It’s one of those things; I felt that if we had an opportunity to make the game a low-scoring one, we’d have a chance. That’s what we were able to do.”
The key to the game was the pace. The Rebels wanted to get out and run while the Trojans wanted to limit possessions and work the ball inside. In the first meeting, a 70-69 win for Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, the game was played on the Rebels’ terms.
This time around was different. Some of that was due to the Rebels’ offensive struggles. Some of it was due to the Trojans’ defensive intensity and a big part was due to the Trojans’ offensive execution. When they didn’t turn the ball over, they scored.
A game that at first glance would’ve likely been decided by Herbranson or Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton guard Natalie Steichen — both Minnesota State University, Moorhead signees — turned out to be in the hands of Nielsen, who knocked down five three-pointers, including two in a four-minute stretch that allowed the Trojans to turn a six-point lead into a 45-32 advantage.
“Emma is our bulldog,” Bomstad said. “She always does it on the defensive end and all of a sudden she gets on streaks where she can hit a few [shots] in a row and it’s a different game.”
When the Rebels finally mounted a comeback, it was their pressure defense in the fullcourt spearheading the effort. They turned Barnesville, ranked No. 16 in Class 2A by Minnesota Basketball News, over on six straight possessions. But they couldn’t speed the game up enough and when relegated to the halfcourt, their offense stagnated, too often devolving into standing and watching as Steichen tried to make something happen — and she finished with 18 points despite not being fully healthy after suffering an injury in Friday’s loss to Pelican Rapids.
“We didn’t shoot very well,” Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton coach Tom Critchley Jr said. “We’re little and we scrap, but if you don’t make shots the game turns into a halfcourt game. We’re not as efficient when the game is like that. We still worked and scrapped but we’re a little out of sync right now.”
All that and still the Rebels had a chance. But when No. 2-2A Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton got the ball back with 25 seconds left down by three points, it was the Barnesville defense making a big stand and forcing a contested midrange jumper from Steichen before Nielsen knocked down a game-sealing free throw.
“That’s our bread-and-butter,” Bomstad said of the defense. “That’s what we do. We’ve always said ‘do what we do’ and we were able to do enough of that tonight.”
Barnesville improved to 18-3 on the season and plays again Thursday at Pelican Rapids. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton dropped to 19-3 and plays again Thursday at Breckenridge.
Barnesville and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A by Minnesota Basketball News, was a classic ‘slow and steady’ against ‘fast and furious.’ Slow and steady won the race this time around.
Barnesville got 20 points from Emma Nielsen and 14 from Nicole Herbranson, overcoming a flurry of late-game turnovers to take down Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 56-52 Tuesday night in Glyndon.
The No. 16-2A Trojans built a 13-point lead midway through the second half, going up up 45-32 thanks in large part to stifling defense and timely shot-making from Nielsen.
The Rebels started to pick up the pressure with about nine minutes to go and it worked as they turned Barnesville over on six straight possessions. But the Trojans' defense didn’t let Natalie Steichen dominate the game — the senior guard finished with 18 points — and bottled up the rest of the Rebels throughout the night.
Barnesville (18-3, 9-1) plays again Thursday at Pelican Rapids while Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (19-3, 6-3) heads to Breckenridge Thursday.
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