STORM LAKE - With a share of second place in the Lakes Conference on the line, the Storm Lake girls' basketball team put forth an inspired effort against visiting Spirit Lake Tuesday night. The game was a defense battle with both teams limiting the opposition's high-powered offenses to their lowest scoring outputs of the season.
The Tornadoes managed just 10 points in the second half, but their 26 in the first half proved to be enough to earn the victory, and a share of second place in the Lakes alongside the Indians, 36-26.
"We played one of our best all-around halves to start the game, but our offense struggled in the second half," said SL head coach Mike Wabeke. "Our defense was the key to this game. Katie (Blum) and Jordan (Bauer), again, did a great job."
Storm Lake held the Indians to 20 points below their season average (47.4), thanks largely in part to their effectiveness in shutting down All-State center Amber Kirschbaum. The Indian senior entered the game averaging 15 points and 12 boards a game, but the Tornadoes were able to hold her to nine points and limit her effectiveness on the glass.
With their inside game having little success, Spirit Lake conceded to launch 20 three-point attempts, making just one.
Storm Lake was 10-31 from the field and 13- 21 from the foul line. They outrebounded Spirit Lake 35-33.
"I thought Cassie (Meylor), Slone (Masters), and Nya (Deng) did a great job of rebounding against a much taller team," said Wabeke. "Our free throw shooting could still be better, but the last few games, it has really improved. Last night we really needed them with field goals so hard to come by."
Jordan Bauer scored eight of her team-high ten points in the first half to lead Storm Lake. Slone Masters finished with eight points, 12 rebounds, and three assists, and Katie Blum notched six points, eight boards, and two stills in the win.
The Tornadoes now gear up for regional playoff action beginning Wednesday night against LeMars. SL won both regular season meetings, but the Bulldogs cut the margin of victory from 20 to just four. Tip-off in Storm Lake is at 7PM.