Girls' basketball: Parkers Prairie wins battle of area top teamsThe Panthers trailed most of the night before using their defense to edge Osakis
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Parkers Prairie girls were pushed as hard as they have been all season through 28 minutes on Tuesday night. Then in the final eight minutes, the Panthers pushed back to come away with a 48-39 win over a 10-1 Osakis team.
Parkers Prairie is beating teams by an average of 30 points per game this season. They are used to coasting toward the finish line in the second half, but that wasn’t going to happen on this night. Not against an Osakis team that had already beaten third-ranked Sauk Centre and was eager to prove itself against another top team.
“It’s a lot more fun to actually have to play a whole game and not come out in the second half,” Panthers’ senior forward Ally Taylor said. “It’s more fun to know you have to play every second and play defense down there on every possession.”
Ultimately, defense is what it came down to in the end. The Silverstreaks held a lead for most of the night before scoring just seven points over the final seven minutes, 27 seconds.
The Panthers increased their pressure near half court and caused a few turnovers that led to some easy buckets. That completely changed the momentum after Osakis had used a 9-0 run to take a 30-24 lead.
“They got that little run in the second half and that’s when there was that moment when it just boiled down to defense,” junior guard Micaela Noga said. “We just shut them down after that. It was our game through the rest of the second half, and we controlled the game with our defense.”
The Silverstreaks didn’t have an answer after a Taylor steal and lay-up gave Parkers Prairie a 33-32 lead with 7:12 left in the game. Taylor, who scored all seven of her points in the second half, followed that up with a three from the top of the key the next time down the court to expand a lead that her team never relinquished.
“They were really playing hard defense on all of us, but especially Micaela and Madi [Dorn],” Taylor said. “I just felt they needed me in the game, and I had to step up.”
That’s exactly what she has done all season after getting her feet wet as a junior. Taylor has taken on an expanded role on this year’s team after the Panthers lost two starters in Tamara Schmidt and Kaylee Dorn last season. She didn’t finish in double figures on Tuesday, but her seven points came at opportune times to help the Panthers change the momentum in the game.
“This year, I felt like I really had to step up after losing Kaylee and Tamara,” Taylor said. “They were big scorers last year, so I felt it was my opportunity to step up and just be in that role. When I have the ball, I feel more confident this year and more like my team does need me to score, so I need to do something with the ball when I have it.”
For Osakis, it felt like an opportunity missed. The Silverstreaks controlled the game for much of the night by slowing down the pace. Their goal was to not let the Panthers get out in transition and score easy buckets, and for the most part, they accomplished that.
Osakis used 10 points from Annalise Savageau in the first half to take a 21-19 lead into the break. The Silverstreaks weathered an early Panthers’ run right out of the half to seemingly take control of the game again with that 9-0 spurt.
“We can’t have lapses at the end of the game like we did,” head coach Pat Kalpin said. “I thought we lost that game in three or four minutes of the game. We had some bad mistakes where passing the ball was kind of all over the place. We didn’t execute offensively the way we should have. In a game like that, every possession is important and it proved true tonight.”
That’s why both these coaches were happy to schedule this kind of non-conference game in the middle of the season. Both Osakis and Parkers Prairie have high hopes come tournament time, and win or lose on Tuesday night, both teams got a taste of the kind of game they will likely have to win against a strong section opponent in March.
“Parkers is a good team,” Kalpin said. “They’re rated and undefeated for a reason. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in losing to them. It’s just how we lost that is probably the frustrating part. It has no bearing on where we’re going to end up at the end of the year or anything. It’s a game that’s going to prepare us to get better.”
PARKERS PRAIRIE 1 9 29 – 48
OSAKIS 21 18 – 39
OSAKIS TOTALS – FG – 15-46; Three-point FG – 2-10; Free throws – 7-8; Assists – 10; Blocks – 2; Rebounds – 21; Steals – 5; Turnovers – 11
OSAKIS – Tayler Waldvogel – 4 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound; Rachelle Rajdl – 2 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Savageau – 15 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 5 rebounds, 1 steal; Brooke Sorenson – 10 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Brittney Sadlemyer – 4 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Becka Sadlemyer – 2 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Madi Forsell – 2 points, 1 assist, 1 block, 5 rebounds, 1 steal
PARKERS PRAIRIE – Dorn – 14 points; Noga – 15 points; Taylor – 7 points; Brenna Warren – 6 points; LaDeanna Swanson – 4 points; Danielle Pratt – 2 points