Girls split in two basketball games on road

Victoria Hershberger passes the ball to a Kingsland teammate as she fights off Houston defenders. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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The Kingsland girls’ basketball team split a pair of games on the road last week, starting with a Southeast Conference (SEC) loss at Houston.

The Knights got plenty of shots but couldn’t get enough to drop through the hoop in a 60-48 loss on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Houston. It was off to Decorah to take part in the Iowa-Minnesota Border Battle on Saturday. The Knights clamped down defensively and won a low-scoring game over Decorah-North Winneshiek 40-36. Kingsland is 2-2 on the year (1-2 SEC).

Frustrated at Houston

The Knights had a frustrating evening on the road against Houston. They got plenty of shots in the game (62) but not enough of them went in (16, 25 percent field goal shooting) to have a shot at a conference win. A rough night of outside shooting and free throws would be the difference in the ballgame. The Knights trailed 32-19 at halftime but wound up outscoring the Hurricanes in the second half (29-28) before coming up short by 12 points.

“We were one for 19 from the three-point line and 15 for 30 at the free throw line,” said Kingsland coach Steve Hauser. “There are going to be nights like this, and we have to learn how to get past them.

“Shots just didn’t go in. We had some good shots close to the basket. Our post players, Nora Jahn and Meredith Farlinger, played really well. They had a lot of opportunities inside, but our outside shots just wouldn’t fall. We had their lead down to single digits a couple times, but we just ran out of gas.”

All-SEC standout Lauren Buchholtz led the team with 17 points (four field goals, eight for 10 on free throws). Ellie Buchholtz added 12 points (three steals, one blocked shot), and Farlinger almost joined them in double figures, scoring eight points (three rebounds). Hauser said the lack of offense wasn’t due to poor execution.

“I would say most of our shots were good ones,” he said. “All of the threes we missed were good looks at the basket, but they just didn’t go in. Houston took advantage of it and played well. Alyssa Rostad was outstanding. She was really good at the free throw line, where I don’t think she missed a single one (11 for 11). You can’t put teams like that at the free throw line when you know they aren’t going to miss.”

Alyssa Rostad had a game-high 25 points to lead Houston. Emma Geiwitz scored 12 points and Becca Rostad had 11. Houston made it very difficult for Kingsland to cut into the second half lead by hitting an impressive 20 of their 27 free throws.

The Knights hit the boards hard, grabbing 32 rebounds, 11 on the offensive glass. Lauren Buchholtz grabbed eight rebounds and Shelby Beck grabbed five boards.

The team moved the ball well, finishing with 12 assists, with Lauren Buchholtz getting five helpers and Beck adding three assists. On the defensive end, the Knights had eight steals (Lauren, Ellie Buchholtz three apiece).

Come back with defensive win

The Kingsland girls hit the road to Decorah on Saturday to take part in the annual Iowa-Minnesota Border Battle. The Knights faced the Decorah-North Winneshiek Vikings in what turned out to be a defensive battle. It was a tight game the entire way as Kingsland led 31-27 at halftime. Points were hard to come by in the second half as both teams scored nine points each.

“We played awesome defense,” Hauser said. “They shut us down in the second half, but we still didn’t help ourselves by going 0 for 17 from three-point range. If we make 30 percent of our threes as we did in the first two games of the season, both of the games this week turn out differently.

“We have to help the girls find some confidence in their shots. They can also have confidence in knowing that we play good enough defense that we can be in most games we play.”

In spite of a low-scoring game, the Knights wound up with three players in double figures. Lauren Buchholtz led the team with 16 points (seven of 15 shooting). Freshman Shelby Beck stepped up her offensive game by contributing 11 points and leading the team in rebounds (seven) and assists (three). Ellie Buchholtz added 10 points, five assists, and two steals.

“Shelby (Beck) is really stepping up offensively and I think we’re getting close to counting on her for offensive help every night,” Hauser said. “She does this while also drawing the toughest defensive assignment every night.

The team hit 16 of 57 shots (28 percent) on the night. All of their production came from two-point range, dropping in 16 of 40 shots (40 percent). The Knights hit eight of 13 free throw attempts.

“The team is adapting to the matchup zone that we want to play,” Hauser said. “It’s a way for us to hopefully hide players who are in foul trouble, as well as put people in good position to grab more rebounds. We’ve got some steals out of it. We also played a full-court press we can jump into as well.”

The Knights grabbed 37 rebounds (11 offensive) and limited Decorah-North Winneshiek on second-chance opportunities. Lauren and Ellie Buchholtz each grabbed five rebounds and Farlinger added three.

The Knights came up with 14 steals, including three each from Megan Schultz and Lauren Buchholtz.


The Knights have three games this week ahead of Christmas. It was to start on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at home against Rushford-Peterson. They stay at home on Thursday night to face Lanesboro. The Knights have a tough road trip to finish the week, heading to Goodhue, ranked last week at No. 8 in the Minnesota Class’ A girls top 10.