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Section 6A-South girls' basketball: Chargers move on with low-scoring victory

Eric Morken, Echo Press Brandon-Evansville's Heather Strese (left) fought for a rebound with Ashby's Mariah Nelson on Monday night.1 / 2
Eric Morken, Echo Press Mackenzie Schmuck set up for a jumper that would be the first points of the game for either team in the first half.2 / 2

In his more than 30 years of coaching, Dick Simpson has never seen the strategy from an opponent that he saw from Ashby on Tuesday night.

The Arrows came to Brandon hoping to upset the sixth-seeded Chargers in the opening round of the Section 6A playoffs. Their plan for doing that was to slow the game down and limit the possessions. The end result was a final score that looked more like a playoff game in football, with Brandon-Evansville moving on after a 24-13 win.

Simpson had heard of games like this but never been a part of one. Ashby passed the ball around the perimeter for minutes at a time throughout the game. Neither team scored until the Arrows got a jumper from Mackenzie Schmuck with a little more than 11 minutes left in the first half.

Heather Strese finally answered that after a timeout. On the Chargers' ensuing possession, the junior got her team on the board before draining a three from the corner to give the Chargers a lead they would not relinquish.

With the way things were going, every basket seemed important for both teams. Heather Dickey hit a big one late in the first half when her three from the left wing made it a 9-4 game. That is how the two teams went into the half.

"When you slow it down, you don't shoot in rhythm," Simpson said. "That's what I told our girls. We got to move the ball, but you got to take the shot when you're open."

The Arrows continued to apply the same philosophy in the second half. They held the ball for more than two minutes on their first possession after the break.

The problem was Brandon-Evansville hit a few more shots in the second half. Megan Friedrich hit an important one when she answered a three by Ashby with one of her own from the left wing that made it a nine-point game.

The Chargers were content with letting the Arrows hold the ball once they took a lead. Brandon-Evansville dropped into a zone and forced Ashby to take most of its shots from the outside. The end result was a 6-for-29 shooting night for the Arrows.

The Chargers countered by hitting 7-of-22 shots from the field. Heather Strese had 11, while Friedrich poured in seven. Perhaps the stat that stood out the most was the zero fouls called on the Chargers on the night.

"I thought we were patient defensively, if that's possible," Simpson said. "I was happy with that. We didn't fall asleep. I think they were trying to lull us to sleep and slip in someone from the backside. We did a good job of [not allowing] that, and we rebounded well."

It wasn't pretty but the win sent the Chargers to the subsection quarterfinals where they were scheduled to match up with Underwood last night, Thursday. In the playoffs, advancing is all that matters.

"A win's a win," Simpson said. "We'd rather win ugly than lose looking good, at this time of the year especially."


ASHBY 4 10 - 14


TEAM STATISTICS - Brandon-Evansville - Field goals - 7-22; Rebounds - 17; Turnovers - 11; Ashby - Field goals - 6-29; Rebounds - 11; Turnovers - 8

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE - Friedrich - 7 points, 5 rebounds; Tasmine Okerlund - 2 points; Heather Dickey - 3 points, 6 rebounds; Strese - 11 points, 5 rebounds

ASHBY - Haley Ness - 7 points; Cassandra Jordan - 3; Mackenzie Schmuck - 4 points

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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