Lady Aggies win St. Thomas B-Squad Tournament
Park River-Fordville-Lankin, Grafton battle in St. Thomas
The Park River-Fordville-Lankin (PR-F-L) Aggies repeated as the Girls District 4 B-Squad Champions overtaking the Grafton Spoilers by a score of 53-45 in the 5th Annual B-Squad Basketball Tournament held this past week in St. Thomas.
The Aggies were led in scoring by sophomore Jade Olson with 14 points and freshman Katelyn Brittnel with 10. Grafton sophomore Karly Kennelly had 17 points followed by freshman Sydney Carignan with 15 points.
The deciding factor in this very evenly-matched game was a burst of scoring by PR-F-L’s Olson who scored four baskets in a row, the first being a two-point basket to close the Aggies scoring in the third quarter and then exploding for three 3-point baskets in a row to begin the fourth quarter.
“I knew we needed to get some shots,” said Olson. “It (the win) was such a good team effort. We had so much fun playing.”
The championship game was indeed a classic battle from the opening tip-off. Grafton had been on a streak of winning the tournament in 2010, 2011 and 2012. PR-F-L had won last year’s tournament against Grafton so the level of intensity was apparent early in the classic setting of the St. Thomas gymnasium.
The Aggies held the lead by as much as four points in the first quarter but a last second 3-pointer by Grafton’s Britney Christinson made the score 11-10 in favor of PR-F-L.
The Spoilers then went on a six-point run early in the second quarter to jump ahead 16-11 before a basket by Olson made the score 16-13. The score was close throughout the remainder of the quarter with the Spoilers edging out the Aggies 20-19 at halftime largely due to the eight points scored by Carignan in the quarter.
PR-F-L drew first blood in the second half to retake the lead but Grafton soon went up by two at 25-23. The Aggies however scored a quick five points to jump out to the lead by three. After exchanging baskets, Olson made a basket before Carignan closed out the quarter with a 3-pointer to make the score 34-32 in favor of the Aggies.
The fourth quarter opened with the Aggies finding a scoring groove that answered each Grafton basket with a 3-pointer by PR-F-L. Olson’s three 3-point baskets followed by a 3-pointer by Brittnel eventually built a nine-point lead for the Aggies.
The Spoilers however cut the lead back to three points at the 46-43 mark midway through the quarter before the Aggies rebounding and free throw shooting closed out the Spoilers opportunities to overcome what became a 10-point deficit down the stretch. Grafton added a couple free throws at the end to make the final score 53-45 in favor of the Aggies.
Spoilers coach Chris Pederson was pleased with the performance of his team. “I was really happy with how our post players Paige Rudnik and Adri Lee contended against PR-F-L’s big girls. They (PR-F-L) crashed the boards hard in the second half and had a bigger inside game than us. We just couldn’t quite keep up with their scoring but I’m very pleased with how our girls competed.”
Grafton was without Betsy Jiskra who was instrumental in getting to the championship game.
“Our team played a tough Midway-Minto team to get to the championship and wouldn’t have been there without the help of Betsy (Jiskra). She contributed huge for us Thursday night and was a part of the game-winning buzzer beater to get to the championship game,” Pederson said.
“I was a little nervous to find out where our scoring would come from with Betsy traveling with the varsity team to Kindred but Karly (Kennelly) stepped up huge for us in the scoring end by scoring 17 points. Sydney (Carignan) also stepped up and filled another role by contributing 15.