Strong start extinguished for Lanesboro girls at Hayfield

KRISTI RUEN/NEWS LEADER Malia Tessum looks for an open Lanesboro teammate in the game against Hayfield.
S. Lee Epps

It did not end like it began for the Lanesboro girls at Hayfield on Jan. 6. The final 66-26 Viking victory began as a back-and-forth contest that started with a Payton Benson 3-point Burro basket.

"We played really well to start the game," said Lanesboro coach Bret Klaehn. "We came out with high energy and played fast. We forced some turnovers and hit some shots. It was probably our best start to a game all year as the score was 20-19 midway through the first half.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to sustain this pace. Their defensive pressure really started to get to us, and the turnovers started to mount.

"They outrebounded us by a wide margin from there on out, and we went ice cold shooting the ball."

Hayfield led 26-21 before a 10-point run resulted in a 34-24 halftime count. And then there was the second half in which the Burros scored only two points — the last two points of the game. After scoring the last three points of the first half, Hayfield scored 27 unanswered points after the break.

Benson led LHS scoring with 14 points, netting four of the team's five 3-point field goals. Brielle Ruen added 5 points, Sophie Pieper 4 points and Sophia Simes 3.

Sydney Taylor had team highs with 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Simes and Benson each rebounded 5 times, but the Vikings out-boarded the Burros, 42 to 25.

Hayfield had 18 offensive rebounds, which led to 24 second-chance points and 62 official shots for the Vikings to only 38 for Lanesboro.

The Burros were more successful from 3-point range (5 for 19, 26%) than was the home team (2 for 16, 13%). But Hayfield has six times as many 2-point baskets, outshooting LHS overall 42% to 24%.

Lanesboro found no solace at the foul line. The Vikings hit 12 free throws (12 for 19, 63%), while the Burros attempted 12 (3 for 12, 25%).

Lanesboro had eight assists on nine baskets, 3 helpers from Ruen.

"As usual I was happy with the way the girls kept battling," added Klaehn. "These games are great learning opportunities."

There was scoring balance for the home team with four Vikings in double figures. Eighth grade guard Kristen Watson led with 15 points.

Class A Hayfield improved to 5-7, the first of three wins last week as the team finished at 7-7.

After their only game last week, the Burros came home at 6-7 overall and still in second place in the SEC East Division at 5-1.

This week and next

Seeking a season sweep, the LHS girls played at Mabel-Canton on Tuesday of this week before a bus ride to Grand Meadow on Thursday, Jan. 16. They return home the next night (Jan. 17) against Randolph.

Schaeffer Academy visits Lanesboro on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The Burros head to Spring Valley to play Kingsland for the second time on Friday, Jan. 24.