PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Tigers hold off New Prague to snap three-game skid

DELANO – Delano girls basketball coach Seth Potter knows there will be plenty of ups-and-downs with a young roster. That’s why fans hear him preaching learn and move on over on the sidelines throughout the game.

There were plenty of times to learn and move on for the Tigers in their matchup with New Prague. Whether it was a cold stretch in the first half that allowed the Trojans to get close. Whether it was some sloppy turnovers down the stretch or missed free throws. Whatever it was, it was a learning experience for the Tigers as they held on for a 59-50 win Tuesday night to snap their three-game losing streak.

“It was nice to pull out a win,” Potter said. “We’re in situations we haven’t been in all season. We easily could have let that getaway. Our girls made some interesting decisions at times, but we did what we had to do to pull it out. I’m happy for the girls. They played some tough minutes.”

New Prague’s full-court pressure gave the Tigers fits at times. Even when there wasn’t a turnover, Delano was forced into quick shots in the first half. Delano showed their adjustments in the second half, making the better decisions which helped them turn a three-point lead at the half into a 12-point lead later on.

“In the first half, we would break their press and then jump right into their gameplan,” Potter said. “We’d shoot a quick 3-pointer or long jumper. In the second half, we did a better job of breaking to get a layup or otherwise making them play defense. They don’t want to play defense. They want to get up and go. The longer we can make a possession with three or four passes on offense, stuff breaks down a lot better. Our girls settled for shots in the first half. In the second half, they did a better job.”

Junior Louisa Stowman got the Tigers off to a nice start in the second half. She scored four of the first six points on drives to the basket for Delano, extending their lead to nine right out of the gate.

“She gets a little rushed sometimes,” Potter said about Stowman. “If she can keep her game in control with how hard she can drive, it’s really hard for girls to stop her.”

Delano led by as many as 12 in the second half, but New Prague wouldn’t go away easily. A 6-0 run by the Trojans got them back within two possessions, but freshman Sidney Schmit knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Tigers back up eight.

Free throws didn’t come easy for the Tigers down the stretch as they went just 4-for-9 from the line in the final minutes. With New Prague looking to pull off a comeback, it was junior Macki Deters who knocked down two clutch free throws to extend Delano’s lead. Then it was Stowman delivering a bucket, sealing the win for the Tigers.

“We have upperclassmen that do a really good job in certain situations,” Potter said. “You just kind of have to play with who you know can dive into this situation and execute when you need to.”

While the win snaps a three-game losing streak, Potter and the Tigers know there is plenty of things to improve on. With a wide range of talent on the roster, it’s all about learning from the experiences for the Tigers.

“The freshmen are so used to playing together,” Potter said. “They’re not used to playing with the upperclassmen. You just have to plug them into those situations and honestly hope for the best.”

“It’s definitely harder,” Stowman said about playing with younger girls. “They’re still learning. We’re still learning. We just have to learn to play as a team.”

A balanced attack offensively is one way the Tigers can come together. In the win over New Prague, Delano had five players score eight or more points. Stowman led the way with 13 points, while Norah Danielson (12 points), Taylor Tool (11 points), Kelly Peterson (nine points), and Sidney Schmit (eight points) all came through in big spots for the Tigers.

“We have to have balance,” Potter said. “We have kids that can dominate in certain situations. When a team like this, who isn’t short, but quick and medium height, we can’t rely on one or two people. We need to rely on our defense and playing together.”

“We haven’t had that in a while,” Stowman said about the balance. “It felt good to have that again and (it showed) in our total score.”

For the complete story and more Delano Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the Feb. 19 edition of the Delano Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information. 

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter. 

Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports

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