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Huskers girls dominate with defense
BY HERMAN LENSING
Staff Writer

The Huskers' offense started slow but its defense was in all but shut-out mode in the 67-31 win over Pierz Jan. 3 in a Central Minnesota Conference (CMC) match-up in Holdingford.

"I'm a defensive guy, but it is nice to see the 60s," said head coach Aaron Bring.  "We've been struggling to put the ball in the hoop."

Those struggles were apparent in the first nine minutes.  The Huskers had plenty of scoring opportunities, but just could not put the ball in the hoop.  Their three-point shots hit the rim, lay-ups rolled off or came up short, and free throws were missed.

"We are kind of in a funk," said Bring.  "They work hard and we got the shots we wanted but sometimes they just don't go in."

That the Huskers were able to build a lead was a tribute to the defense.  No matter where the ball was, the Huskers were racing to it.  They intercepted high passes meant for post players, stole passes off the bounce, took toss in passes and if the ball went to the floor, the Huskers were diving for it.

The defense kept creating scoring opportunities, and after the first nine minutes the Huskers started consistently cashing in on scoring chances.  The go-to person became Grace Gerads, who finished with 27 points, 13 from field goals.

"She is a very team-oriented person and doesn't like attention to come to her," said Bring.  "We are trying to make her our go-to person."

Pierz could not really ignore her.  She scored off passes from teammates, steals and rebounds.  When the Pioneers focused on her, others stepped up and put the ball into the hoop.  Carolynn Becker scored 11 points and Marissa Gerads just missed double digits, scoring nine points.

"They work hard and give everything they have," said Bring.

The defensive effort remained throughout the game.  The Huskers allowed only 10 field goals in the game.  In the first nine minutes of the second half, they outscored Pierz 21-4 taking a 40-20 lead.  In the last five minutes, the clock was left running as the Huskers took a 60-25 lead.

Holdingford put 15 different players in the game and 11 of them scored.  Jordyn Patrick hit two three-pointers, Becker had one thee-pointer.

Holdingford 48, 
Royalton 39

The Huskers kept up their winning ways defeating Royalton 48-39 Jan. 3.  Becker led the team's offensive and defensive efforts.

She scored 22 points and had 13 rebounds along with two blocks and three steals.  She also hit the Huskers' only three-pointer of the night.  Grace Gerads again turned in a strong offensive effort scoring 12 points.  Marissa Gerads again finished with nine points.  Five of them came from free throws.

Holdingford's defense did not allow Royalton much shooting space inside the three-point arc.  Five of Royalton's 11 field goals came from three-point range. 

The Huskers trailed 15-14 at the half, but outscored Royalton by 10 in the second half.  The Huskers' next contests are Friday, Jan. 11 in Eden Valley and Monday, Jan. 14 hosting Albany in Holdingford.

Holdingford 67, Pierz 31
Pierz                  16 15-31
Holdingford      28 39-67
Holdingford: 
Jordyn Patrick 2 0-0 6 r 2a, Marissa Gerads 3 0-0 9 2r 5a 7s, Paige Soltis 0 1-2 1 r, Grace Gerads 13 1-2 27 10r 2a 8s, Allison Skwira 2 0-0 5 2r 2a 2s, Kendra Gerads 2 0-2 4 4r 2a, Lydia Hoikka 2 0-0 2 3r a 4s, Ari Schmidt 1 0-0 2, Danielle Lyon r s 2b, Carolynn Becker 4 2-5 11 6s, Paige Paulzine a, Jaden Breth a s, Brooke Fiedler 0 0-0 0; Holdingford 28 7-20 67 27r 16a 29s 3b, Pierz 10 9-15 28 35r 4s 3b.

Holdingford 48, Royalton 39
Holdingford                   14 34-48
Royalton                        15 24-39
Holdingford: 
M. Gerads 2 5-7 9 5r 5a 2s b, G. Gerads 5 2-2 12 6r 2a 3s, Hoikka 0 3-5 3 6r 3s b, Paulzine s, Lyon 1 0-0 2 r, Becker 7 7-6 22, 13r 3s 2b, K. Gerads r b, Patrick 0 0-0 0; Holdingford 15 17-31 48 35r 11a 10s 5b, Royalton 11 12-21 39 27r.  3PG: Becker-1, Royalton-5.