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Up-tempo Stillwater gets after it to reach 5-0 with win over Roseville

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 01/29/21, 9:15PM CST


The Ponies' Alexis Pratt scored 23 points and directed the team's effective pressing attack in a 77-60 victory over the Raiders.

Alexis Pratt of Stillwater, who led her team with 23 points, drove with the ball to the basket during the second half against Roseville. Photo: LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navidi@startribune.com

It was all about the spurts. And few girls’ basketball teams in Minnesota can put up points in bunches the way Stillwater can.

The Ponies, with 5-5 guard Alexis Pratt directing their up-tempo pressing attack, raced out to an 18-3 lead and were never seriously threatened thereafter, upending visiting Roseville 77-60 on Friday to improve to 5-0 on the season.

For the most part, Roseville played host Stillwater straight up. The taller, more physical Raiders kept Stillwater from developing any consistent offensive rhythm and controlled the boards. But each time the Raiders would make a run, Stillwater would intensify its vaunted press or knock down a crucial three-pointer or two, sapping the energy from a potential Roseville comeback.

“They score in bunches and that makes it so hard to try to come back,” Roseville coach Tanysha Scott said. “We’re still growing and getting better and we did some good things, but they make it so hard with how quickly they can put up points.”

Pratt, the shortest player on the floor but also the fastest, led Stillwater with 23 points, including three of Stillwater’s 10 three-pointers.

“We’ve been shooting threes pretty well this year,” Stillwater coach Willie Taylor said. “This was an off-shooting night for us tonight.”

Roseville used an 8-0 run to cut the Stillwater lead to 41-34 at the end of the first half.

Pratt sapped any Roseville momentum right away in the second half, hitting a quick three-pointer and leading Stillwater on a 16-7 run, rebuilding a 16-point advantage.

What she did so well was control the tempo for the Ponies and get them into their rhythm. While the presence of Roseville’s big bodies inside, led by 6-4 senior post Tamia Ugass, stymied Stillwater's interior game, Pratt had the ball in her capable hands for most of the game. She led a press that led to plenty of transition baskets, finding open shooters in the half-court or scoring on her own.

“Alexis Pratt, oh my goodness, what a player,” Taylor said. “When you see her going in to grab a rebound against Tamia, it’s amazing. An absolutely incredible basketball player Alexis is.”

Ugass, who has committed to play at LSU, finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead Roseville (2-3).

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