A-A girls stifle St. Mary's in 2nd half of 53-31 win
STORM LAKE - The Alta-Aurelia girl's basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak Monday night, turning in a dominant second half to put away St. Mary's, 53-31.
The Panthers rallied from a first quarter hole to tie it up at intermission, but their offense was in shambles in the second half as they were outscored 20-4 in the third and 12-6 in the fourth.
The Warriors took full advantage of their deeper bench as they rotated 15 girls into the game, with nine reaching the scoring column.
"We ran two groups in, and there's really not much difference between them," said Alta-Aurelia head coach Rory Payne. "That second group did a really, really good job. The difference really was defense. We had a plan on Jasmine (Demers) and worked it to perfection. You could see how tired she was getting. When we got tired, we shoved a new five at them."
In a nip-and-tuck first half, the Warriors led 12-8 after one. Trisha Lenhart gave St. Mary's their first lead at 15-14, but A-A's Taler Stanton quickly reclaimed with with two, and pushed it to 18-15 with two more. St. Mary's closed within one yet again, but three more Stanton points made it a 21-17 ball game. The Panthers closed with four straight, however, to level it at the half.
Demers knocked down 1-of-2 free throws for a St. Mary's lead in the opening seconds of the third, but Stanton again answered to retake the lead. From there, Alta-Aurelia took complete control as they reeled off an 18-3 run, fueled by six from Val Hernandez, to end the third with at 41-25 lead.
The Panthers wouldn't challenge again as they dropped their third straight.
Stanton finished with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She notched a double-double with 10 rebounds. Hernandez hit 4-of-5 shots for eight points, Micah Barnes notched seven points, Steph Robbins had six points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals, Tena Heschke had six points and three rebounds, Katie Turnquist had four points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals, Jenna Snyder had two points and five rebound and Tayler Rohwer two points and four rebounds.
"We have maybe the state's only 5-foot-5 center (Stanton)," said Alta-Aurelia head coach Rory Payne. "She knows what to do down there. If she was four or five inches taller, she'd be elite. I've got to give a shout out to Steph Robbins and Gracie Winterhof. They were the ones face-guarding Jasmine all night. When you can hold a 21-point scorer to six, they did their job."
Mackenzie Laven led the Panthers with 10 points on the night. Demers and Trish Lenhart had six apiece and Allie Hartmann had four.
The Panthers (3-7) host Spalding Catholic tonight and East Sac County Friday.
The Warriors (3-9) are at home against South Central Calhoun Friday and Cherokee next Thursday.
"The Twin Lakes is a tough conference," said Payne. "It has to be one of the better 1A/2A conferences in the state. We needed a game like this. The girls worked very hard and they need some results from that. This is just what the doctor ordered. It's nice to see them have some success for all that hard work they've put in."