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Chargers drop season opener to Barnesville

Carrigan Okerlund (right) goes up for a layup in front of Barnesville’s Nicole Herbranson during the season opener on Tuesday night. Okerlund finished with four points as the Trojans used a big second half to beat the Chargers. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Chargers were only down 31-25 at halftime on Tuesday, but a second-half surge by Barnesville handed the Brandon-Evansville girls’ basketball team a 68-39 loss in its season-opening home game.

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Emma Friedrich led Brandon-Evansville with 13 points and nine rebounds. Elizabeth Vinson also finished with double-digit scoring in the game with 11 points and six rebounds. Head coach Dick Simpson said after the game that he felt the Chargers played better than the score indicated.

“For the first half we played well,” Simpson said. “It was one of those games where it looks lopsided, but I thought it was closer than the score indicated. We played hard; it just kind of got away from us.”

Rachel Solum had an impressive game for Barnesville in scoring 21 points. Holly Vancura also scored 14.

Trouble at the free throw line and scoring in the second half did not do the Chargers any favors. They were 8-for-22 with free throws and only shot 13-for-35 on field goal attempts. The Chargers also committed 22 turnovers while Barnesville only had 15.

“They were very aggressive, and probably a little bit stronger than we are,” Simpson said. “We had some balls slip out of our hands.”

Although the team started the season off in a losing effort, Simpson was optimistic they will have plenty of opportunities for wins. Last year, Brandon-Evansville lost their first five games but rebounded to finish with a winning season.

“We’re taking one game at a time,” Simpson said. “We started out 0-5 last year and ended up 15-5 the rest of the way.”

The Charger players also felt optimistic after wrapping up their first game of the season. This year Brandon-Evansville is competing in both the Little Eight Conference and the Pheasant Conference, and Friedrich was optimistic they can be successful in both.

“To finish in the top half of both conferences would be nice,” she said.

Brandon-Evansville is returning three starters from last season, and they feel a lack of height on the roster is something they can overcome.

“I don’t think we have a lot of height, but we have a quick team,” Friedrich said.

With only three seniors and two juniors on the varsity roster this year, the team will look to underclassmen to play a role this season. Simpson said playing time will help the Chargers improve.

“We’ve got some younger kids that it’s just going to take playing time to get better,” Simpson said. “I think we’ll be OK.”


BARNESVILLE 31 37 – 68

B-E TOTALS – FG – 13-35; FT – 8-22; Rebounds – 26; Turnovers – 22; BARNESVILLE – FG – 27-52; FT – 9-16; Rebounds – 31; Turnovers – 15

B-E – Megan Kokett – 5; Melissa Hasemann – 1; Carrigan Okerlund – 4; Elizabeth Vinson – 11; Mariah Hansen – 3; Emma Friedrich – 13; Kristine Bettermann – 2

BARNESVILLE – Rachel Solum – 21; Megan Nielsen – 8; Alli Skogen – 6; Holly Vancura – 14; Peyton Boom – 6; Nicole Herbranson – 4; Alissa Bentley – 9

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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