MaKenzie Rensch (23) drives the lane past defender Jordan Case (24). Rensch led the field with 20 points as Hutchinson cruised past Orono 59-49 in their conference opener. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
Last year, Orono defeated Hutchinson in the Class 3A, Section 6 championship en route to a state title-winning season and a 27-4 record. Hutchinson didn’t forget that game, and on Friday night, the Tigers headed to Orono with victory on their minds.
Hutchinson turned visualization into actualization, jumping out a big lead and defeating Orono 59-49 to extending the Spartans’ skid to seven games -- a different picture from last year’s dominant season.
“Whenever you come to Orono and win, with our history, it’s always nice,” Hutchinson coach Tim Ellefson said. “We know it’s going to be a tough matchup and we’re real proud we’re 1-0.”
The Tigers (8-5, 1-0) were successful Friday by controlling the glass and creating additional chances on offensive rebounds.
“Unfortunately we missed enough shots to get a lot of opportunities to get offensive rebounds, but we scored a lot of baskets by being tough (in the paint),” Effelson said.
Hutchinson outrebounded Orono 45-23. The duo of Gabby Hahn and Morgan Ellis each had 10 rebounds each finished the game with a double-double -- Hahn scored 12 points and Ellis put up 10.
The Tigers played with a lot of intensity on defense, double-teaming Spartans’ leading scorer Madeline Loder in the backcourt. But Orono (3-11, 0-1) lost Loder to an injury and couldn't to recover.
Effelson said the loss of Loder freed up the Tigers defense to pressure in the half court and focus on trapping. He complimented the Spartans for the way they played without Loder.
“To their credit, they handled it pretty well when she was out, I thought they moved the ball a little bit better,” Effelson said.
“Loder is an outstanding player,” he added. “It’s unfortunate she’s going through some injury bugs right now. I hope to see her back on the court soon.”
While the season is not living up to the expectations the defending champions set for themselves, it isn’t diminishing the Spartans’ enthusiasm.
Orono coach Lavesa Glover is an encourager on the sidelines, constantly cheering for her girls when they make smart plays -- even when the game is out of reach. The bench also responds with energy and excitement.
“I coach basketball for development; I coach basketball to see improvement,” Glover said. “From Game 1 to Game 14, we’re getting better, and that’s exciting for me.”
Despite so much going wrong for the Spartans, from a losing skid to an injured top-scorer, Glover remains optimistic.
“When your best player goes out, you assume instantaneous panic. But they believe in each other, and they have faith in each other, and I think that showed,” she said.
Glover thinks this is the kind of performance that can lead to more improvement as the season matures.
“We did some tremendous things as a unit, while playing a great team in Hutch,” she said. “I’m hoping it inspires them and pushes them, and all we can hope for is to continue to get better.”
Hutchinon's Gabby Hahn (22) looks for the lay up from the lost post. Hahn's 12 points helped the Tigers open Wright County East conference matchups with a 59-49 over the Spartans. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
Hutchinson visited Wright County Conference East Division rival Orono on Friday night and returned home with a 59-49 victory.
MaKenzie Rensch, the Tigers' leading scorer at 20.9 points per game, continued to dominate and finished the night with a team-high 20 points.
Hutchinson (8-5, 1-0) won the game on the boards, however, outrebounding the Spartans 45-23. The duo of Gabby Hahn and Morgan Ellis each had 10 rebounds, helping both end the game with double-doubles -- Hahn scored 12 points and Ellis had 10.
Orono (3-11, 0-1) has now dropped seven straight games.
The Tigers controlled most of the game, but they got help in the second half. The Spartans’ leading scorer, Madeline Loder, missed most of the second half with an injury. Loder still led the Spartans with 10 points.
Senior guard Madeline Loder (22) takes the lay up through traffic. Loder led Orono with 10 points despite leaving the game early in the second half. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
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