PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Fasching’s monster game helps HLWW hold off Lester Prairie

HOWARD LAKE – Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted girls basketball coach Drew Waldbillig looked to his bench and didn’t see many options. The Lakers had just eight players dressed in their matchup with Lester Prairie. One player fouled out and there were four more players with four fouls on the court.

None of that mattered as the Lakers overcame that thanks to a monster performance by senior Ivy Fasching that led HLWW to their first win of the season with a 78-67 win over the Bulldogs Tuesday night.

“We talk a lot about having a short memory,” Waldbillig said. “That was the biggest thing. The girls were so resilient. We had a lot of them in foul trouble but they kept at it. Everybody did a phenomenal job. It was a total team effort.”

The Lakers put a strong first half together to take a nine-point lead into the break but Lester Prairie didn’t go away quietly. Addison Hoof started the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers, and just like that, the Bulldogs were back within three. HLWW never panicked though as they answered back in a big way. A 15-0 run pushed their lead back to double digits.

“It was so great,” Waldbillig said about seeing his team respond. “There have been times this season where we’ve had moments where we think here we go again when teams make a run. Honestly, tonight it didn’t phase them at all and it was very surprising. I’m really proud of them. We talk about attitude and effort. Those are the two things we can control and they did that tonight.”

The Lakers were forced to overcome foul trouble through the second half as well. HLWW had at least four players on the floor with four fouls over the final 12 minutes and only had one player foul out as they came together when they needed to down the stretch.

“It’s a new group that we haven’t really worked with a lot,” Fasching said. “The younger kids are really stepping up. I’m really proud of the other seniors too. They’ve been killing it. It’s our last year so we’ll just fight to the end.”

Fasching came through time and time again in big spots for the Lakers. She finished with a career-high 41 points including knocking down eight 3-pointers in the win.

“I haven’t had the best of games so tonight was really nice,” she said. “When the first one went in, I just kept shooting and shooting. I just wasn’t going to stop.”

Fasching scored 22 of her 41 in the second half helping keep HLWW’s lead in double digits for the second half despite multiple runs by the Bulldogs.

“That was amazing,” Waldbillig said. “Ivy played out of her mind. She’s been waiting for a game like this and I have too. When she’s on, she’s on. I love that she shoots with so much confidence.”

Despite trailing by as many as 18 in the second half, Lester PRairie never rolled over. The Bulldogs closed the gap to 10 with just under three minutes to go but that’s as close as they would get as HLWW had the big answers when they needed them.

“We kind of hung around the second half,” Bulldogs coach Blaine Walstrom said. “We thought we would make that run but it just never happened. It was one of those games where we ran into one girl who had a heck of a night and that changed the game.”

The win for the Lakers is their first win of the after getting out to an 0-4 start.

“This was huge to get our first win before winter break,” Waldbillig said. “We’re excited to try and get two more this week. The biggest thing we talk about is competing.”

Finally,” Fasching said with a smile about getting a win. “It feels like our hard work is paying off. Everything’s coming together as a team. It just feels great and will give us some more energy.”

For the Bulldogs, they fell to 5-1 on the season and the schedule doesn’t get any easier. Lester Prairie has two more big conference games left this week against Norwood Young America and Mayer Lutheran.

“This week is going to be tough,” Walstrom said. “It doesn’t get easier. I think we’re just going to get through this week healthy and do the best we can and go into Christmas break looking to get better.”

For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the Dec.23 edition of the Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.  Subscribers have full access to this article and more by clicking here. Subscriptions start as low as $1.50 for a two-day subscription, the same price as a newspaper on a newsstand.

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports

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