Trojan girls drop three to start season

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The Rushford-Peterson girls’ basketball team is three games into a new era under head coach Jake Dahl.  The week started with a 50-33 conference road loss at Lewiston-Altura on Tuesday, Nov. 27th. The Trojan girls dropped their home opener on Thursday night to Fillmore Central 48-33. The week finished up with a non-conference game Saturday against Moose Lake-Willow River. The Trojans’ offense picked up the pace, but M-L/W-L won the game 69-59. The Trojans are off to an 0-3 start (0-2 TRC).

R-P vs. L-A

Dahl said the team played hard in their first game out. Even though the shots didn’t fall as consistently as they wanted in a 50-33 loss to the Cardinals (1-0, 1-0 TRC), he was pleased with the way the team executed their new offense.

“They did a really good job of taking the things we had been working on in practice and translating them to the court,” Dahl said. “It went faster than I thought it would.”

The Trojans scored 16 points in the first half and 17 in the second, hitting nine field goals inside the three-point line and three shots from outside the arc. Julissa Trejo led the team with 11 points, the only R-P player in double figures. Dahl said she was aggressive taking the ball to the basket, creating opportunities.

“Julissa had about four possessions in the game where she took the ball straight to the basket,” he said. “It wasn’t a one-on-three or one-on-four situation either. Four straight possessions, she took the ball and drove right by the defender, all within the scope of the offense. If Julissa was cut off on the drive, she passed to a teammate, and if she didn’t, she took it straight to the basket. She was really something offensively midway through the second half.”

 Megan Oian added seven points while Jimmi Ritter chipped in four points. The girls hit six of their 11 free throws (54%).

R-P vs. FC

The R-P girls played host to conference-rival Fillmore Central (2-0, 2-0 TRC) in their home opener Nov. 30th. The Trojans had trouble getting their shots to fall consistently and dropped the contest 50-33.

Lauren Lawston led R-P scorers with 12 points, going six for six from the field. Kjersta Hinz added eight points while Trejo and Kaylee Ruberg each scored four. The team shot well, combining to go 13 for 27 (48%) from the field, including three for 10 from three-point range. The Trojans only attempted nine free throws against the Falcons, hitting four (44%).

“Lauren (Lawston did a really nice job shooting the ball against Fillmore Central,” Dahl said. “She seems to have a comfort zone right out there near the free throw line. It’s kind of a sweet spot for her.”

On the defensive end, the girls did deflect 13 Falcon passes, picked up seven steals (Ruberg 3) and four blocks (Lawston 2, Hinz 2). The early-season defense is a work in progress.

“We’re primarily playing zone defense right now,” he said. “What hurt us is we aren’t recognizing their outside shooters, and which one has the hot hand quickly enough. We’re not really shifting the defense quickly enough when the offense comes down the floor. We need to make someone else shoot the ball.”

The team grabbed 22 rebounds, but only three came on the offensive end. Peyton Hoiness was the top Trojan on the glass with 10 rebounds.

Ritter led the team with four assists. The Trojans hurt themselves with 26 turnovers.

R-P vs. ML/WR

After scoring 33 points in each of their first two games, the Trojans almost matched the combined total of 66 during their non-conference game at home Saturday against Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels. Dahl said there is one specific reason for the improved offensive production.

“It goes hand-in-hand with something we’ve been talking about,” he said. “We’ve been keeping an eye on our turnovers. We were in the mid-20s during the first two games. That number dropped to the mid-teens on Saturday. That just gives us more possessions and more chances to score. Instead of accidentally throwing the ball out of bounds or to the other team, we took much better care of it.

“We also got a boost from Abby Hoegh (17 points) returning to the floor on Saturday,” he added. “She’s going to be very good for us as far as creating her own shots. Abby will handle the ball once in a while, but most of the time she’ll be coming off a screen out on the wing. That’ll free her up to shoot a little more than she would as the primary point guard/ball handler.”


The Trojans had three games last week and will add another three to their total this week. Dahl said he’d like to have a little more practice time available but did say the busy schedule will “toughen up the girls” a little bit.

“We call it our ‘WNBA schedule,’” Dahl said. “We practice, then play a game. Practice, and then play a game. Wednesday and Thursday of this week, we’ll have back-to-back practices for the first time since before Thanksgiving.

“I told the girls after the Moose Lake game that they should go back and take a look at the tape of the preseason scrimmage we did before the season. We tape everything, and the girls have an account they can go to in order to watch every game. They’ve shown a lot of improvement between then and now.”

The Trojan girls hosted La Crescent/Hokah on Tuesday, Dec. 4. They have a busy weekend ahead that starts with a Friday (Dec. 7) non-conference home game against Schaeffer Academy, and a Saturday (Dec. 8) contest at Decorah, Iowa, where they play South Winneshiek. R-P returns to conference play at Winona Cotter Tuesday, Dec. 11.