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Hutch relies on old standbys

By Star Tribune staff reports, 03/14/12, 10:48PM CDT


Class 3A: Balanced scoring and aggressive defense get the job done against Hill-Murray. Richfield is next

Alissa Retterath of Hutchinson (in white) was fouled by Tessa Cichy of Hill-Murray. Cichy had a rough afternoon, scoring just 11 points — 11 below her average — on 4-for-17 shooting. Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

There are plenty of individual stars in the Class 3A girls' basketball tournament. Hutchinson prefers to do everything the old-fashioned way: sharing the basketball and playing defense.

The Tigers used their typical balanced attack and managed to control Hill-Murray's prolific scorer, Tessa Cichy, eliminating the fourth-seeded Pioneers 68-51 Wednesday afternoon at Williams Arena.

"Our goal at the start of the season was to get to state," Hutchinson leading scorer Nichole Wittman said. She finished with 20 points, pacing three players in double figures. "Now that we are here, it's to win it. And, we believe we can do that."

Hutchinson (26-3) went on a 7-2 run late in the first half to open up a nine-point cushion. It led 31-24 at halftime, and four players were between five and nine points.

"We can score from all five spots on the floor," Hutchinson coach Bill Carlson said. "That's a big key for us because teams can't key on anybody."

Wittman opened the second half with a three-pointer, stretching the margin to 10. Hill-Murray (22-8) never got closer than six the rest of the way.

The Tigers' tandem of senior Molly Monahan and sophomore Taylor Jurgenson held Cichy to 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting. She had been averaging 22.4 points per game.

"We never put a number on it, but I would have been happy with 20," Carlson said. "Our kids really buy into playing man-to-man defense. They love it."

It showed.

-- Ron Haggstrom, Star Tribune

Richfield 68, Red Wing 53

Nobody needed a timeout more than Richfield coach LeeAnn Wise. Her top-seeded Spartans were suffering from stage fright.
Wise called a timeout 5 minutes, 35 seconds into the Spartans' first state tournament appearance, and her squad trailing 14-4.
It responded with a quick 9-0 burst.
"We were a little nervous," Wise said. "This is such a huge place, and we had to relax."
The Spartans and Wingers battled back-and-forth from that point on for the next 21 minutes. That's when smooth junior guard Jessica January ignited an 11-0 run over a three-minute span, giving No. 3-ranked Richfield a commanding 52-42 lead with just over six minutes to play.
"There is a time for being a leader by passing, and getting assists," Wise said. "There is another time when you have to be a leader as the go-to player."
January finished with 21 points, 16 in the second half. She also had six assists and five steals. Classmate Sierra Ford-Washington added 20 points for the Spartans (26-4).
"There does become a point and time when I have to spark our team," January said.
Senior forward Marisa Toivonen had 19 points for Red Wing (19-11).

-- Ron Haggstrom, Star Tribune

DeLaSalle 79, Monticello 50

DeLaSalle starters Tyseanna Johnson and Allina Starr were making their fourth consecutive state tournament appearance. Monticello was playing in the state tournament for the first time in team history.
Given that recipe, it's no surprise that the defending Class 3A champion Islanders out-everythinged the Magic, running out to a 19-point halftime lead en route to a victory.
"We wanted to take advantage of the fact that they were [inexperienced]," said Starr. "But at the same time, we knew we had to play hard and stay humble. Every team that gets here is good and plays their hardest."
Monticello, a .500 team going into the final week of the regular season before getting hot in the playoffs, was unnerved by DeLaSalle's athleticism and aggressiveness from the outset. The Islanders forced five turnovers on Monticello's first six possessions, taking a 15-4 lead before the game was five minutes old.
The rest of the first half became a showcase for Johnson and Starr. Johnson had 22 of her game-high 32 points before the break on an array of slashing drives and easy layups courtesy of Starr's ability to penetrate and find the open player. Starr had eight assists in the first half and finished with a double-double: 18 points and 13 assists.

"That chemistry started in eighth grade," said DeLaSalle coach Faith Johnson Patterson. "They have found a natural niche together. They always seem to know where the other is."

-- Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune 

Fergus Falls 68, Chisago Lakes 37

Wildcats senior guard Whitney Tinjum matched the Otters point-for-point for a little over three minutes. When that ended, so did Chisago Lakes' chance at a victory.
Second-ranked Fergus Falls held a slim 7-6 lead over Tinjum when it went on a 28-2 run. The Otters led 44-18 at halftime.
"The bigger the situation, the better we play," Otters coach Josh Mohagen said. "Our whole team is really playing together right now."
Sophomore guard Brianna Rasmusson scored 18 of her 22 points in the first half for the Otters (29-1). They had four players in double figures.
Tinjum wound up with a game-high 24 points for the first-time state entrant Wildcats (24-6).

-- Ron Haggstrom, Star Tribune

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