Sauk Centre senior Maesyn Thiesen moves around an Annandale defender during the Breakdown Tip Off Classic in Hopkins on Dec. 2. Thiesen had 10 points in the Mainstreeters' 63-36 victory over the Cardinals. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
If Sauk Centre wanted to show its state title aspirations Saturday at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic at Hopkins High School against Annandale, consider it done.
The Mainstreeters (3-0, 1-0) got their first 2017-18 matchup against a ranked opponent and showed just how much separation there is between a top-ranked team and an Annandale team on the edge of cracking the top 10 in a 63-36 victory.
Sauk Centre, No. 1 in Class 2A by Minnesota Basketball News, looked formidable while solidifying their ranking Saturday. The Mainstreeters, last year’s Class 2A runners-up, displayed a swarming defense that forced 36 turnovers and jumped out to a 32-9 lead with six minutes left in the first half.
Maesyn Thiesen, Sauk Centre’s 5-foot-8 senior guard and a Minnesota-Duluth recruit, scored 10 points but she didn’t need to score much after the way she distributed the ball to find open teammates. Thiesen finished with seven assists to lead the team.
“She’s very unselfish,” Mainstreeters coach Scott Bergman said. “She looks for other girls before she looks for her shot. Our girls know if they run the floor for her, she’s going to find them. It’s quite a luxury to have her.”
Julia Dammann benefitted early and scored the first six points for the Mainstreeters and finished with a game-high 17 points. Kelsey Peschel added 15 points and Tori Peschel finished with 10 points.
Sauk Centre held the No. 12-2A Cardinals' leading scorer, 6-foot-1 Hannah Purcell, to just nine points with Thiesen guarding her much of the game. All of Purcell’s points came in the first half.
“She took our best player and definitely controlled her,” Cardinals coach Matt Dreier said. “With her size — to take on a bigger bodied, taller girl — she’s just so quick. She just kept at it. She’s a fun player to watch.”
The Mainstreeters held a 37-14 lead at halftime but Annandale made a quick run to start the second half. The Cardinals (1-1) started the second half on a 8-1 run but that proved short-lived as Peschel hit back-to-back three-pointers to extend the lead to 22 with 14 minutes, 6 seconds to play.
The Streeters know the long road ahead of them if they wish to reach an eighth straight state tournament.
No. 3-2A Roseau and No. 10-2A Minnehaha Academy play later today in Hopkins and last year’s loss has helped serve as a reminder of what it will take to get there.
“We know we want to try to get back there and have a successful season,” Thiesen said. “It’s just helped us to try to get better to get back to that spot.”
Sauk Centre sophomore Julia Dammann goes up for two of her team-high 17 points against Annandale. The Mainstreeters defeated the Cardinals 63-36 at The Breakdown Tip Off Classic in Hopkins. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Newly annointed No. 1 in Class 2A, Sauk Centre showed why Minnesota Basketball News deemed the Mainstreeters its top team with a 63-36 victory over Annandale at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic in Hopkins.
Julia Dammann led all scorers with 17 points for Sauk Centre, which finished second-place in Class 2A last year. Kelsey Peschel added 15 points, while Maesyn Thiesen and Tori Peschel tallied 10 points apiece.
The Mainstreeters (3-0, 1-0) led 37-14 at halftime, after pressuring the No. 12-2A Cardinals into several turnovers.
Annandale (1-1) played without starting center Allie Spaulding, who scored only two points, for much of the game and struggled to make shots on offense. Hannah Purcell led the Cardinals with nine points in the loss.
Annandale forward Hannah Purcell drives to the lane against Sauk Centre during the Breakdown Tip Off Classic at Hopkins High School on Saturday. The Cardinals fell to the Mainstreeters 63-36. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
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