Brandon-Evansville senior guard Haddey Zastrow knocked down the very first shot of the season on Friday night in Evansville.
That three from the right wing wasn’t exactly a shot that ignited the B-E girls basketball team to the win over Browerville, but it was the start of a big night for Zastrow. She and her Charger teammates went cold through the first half, but they erupted after the break. It led to a 56-35 win over the Tigers that gave head coach Zach Traphagen his first win on the sidelines at Brandon-Evansville.
“Second half was good because they had some confidence once they saw the ball go through the net,” Traphagen said. “We had good looks in the first half, and they just weren’t going in. We had the same looks in the second half, and they go in.”
The Chargers were stuck on eight points for a long time early in the game before going on a 10-0 run. That helped them secure a 21-16 advantage at the half.
Zastrow again hit her first three of the second half. This time, it did ignite the Chargers’ offense. She knocked down four threes after the half and five of Brandon-Evansville’s six total triples to finish with a game-high 17 points.
“It feels great,” Zastrow said. “New coach, new atmosphere. Everything is new, and it was a great feeling (to play this well)...I was feeling it, but it’s mainly just working with my team and having a great time. That atmosphere is what makes it fun.”
The Chargers started the second half on a 17-4 run. Zastrow had three threes within the first six minutes to lead her team to a 38-20 lead that B-E never came close to giving back.
“Haddey is capable of doing that,” Traphagen said. “She has to be that type of player for us. Sometimes with Haddey, it’s a confidence thing. We stay on her and tell her, ‘We trust you. We believe in you. We know you can make the shots. If you’re open, don’t think about it. Catch it in rhythm and let it fly.’ She did that in the second half.”
Traphagen was happy to see his senior guard knock down those shots because of how hard she works on the other side of the court too.
“What she does on the defensive end gets so overlooked. She works her butt off, and she knows where she’s supposed to be,” Traphagen said. “She’s in good body position. She gives it everything she’s got, and it’s really nice to see somebody work really hard and have some of that rewarded with making some shots too.”
The Tigers (0-1) had no answer for the inside-outside attack that the Chargers featured on Friday. Junior center Mikenna Pattrin is coming off a solid sophomore season, and she picked up where she left off with 15 points, six blocks, six steals and five rebounds. Alyah Abrahamson had a team-high nine points for Browerville, and Zoe Hillmer added eight.
Traphagen made it clear that the plan to generate more offense this year starts by featuring Pattrin in the post. At 6-feet tall, she has the potential to pose matchup problems for most teams, and that has the ability to open things up for shooters on the perimeter like it did in the season opener.
“We have to be an inside-out team,” Traphagen said. “I thought we got Mikenna good touches early and then we went away from it because they were crowding. We can still get good inside touches even when a team is crowding the paint. It comes down to spacing, setting good screens and being patient offensively, which we did a better job of in the second half.”
Traphagen knows what the gameday experience is all about.
He spent the last four years as the boys varsity coach in Canby, but he said he still felt some jitters leading up to his first game running the Chargers.
“I’d say probably the last two nights, I’ve got six hours of sleep combined,” he said with a smile. “I’m just kind of weird like that. Even when I was in Canby, I just rarely sleep before games. Once the school day ended and once the kids started to come in, my nerves just kind of went away. You want to get out here, and you’re excited for them. You don’t know what you’re going to get, but the excitement was pretty good tonight.”
Canby is in southwest Minnesota, so even as a spectator, Traphagen never really got a chance to see the girls teams he will be facing much of this season. He will get to know the opposition soon enough, but he’s focused right now on what his team can control.
“We kind of focused on having a higher energy level than them, higher intensity, playing with relentless effort,” Traphagen said. “I saw girls in the second half diving on the floor for loose balls. We got second-chance opportunities with offensive rebounds. They checked a lot of boxes off tonight. Very proud of their effort, and hopefully we can build on it.”
Traphagen was happy with the win in the opener, but said there are plenty of things the Chargers can do better ahead of a Tuesday night game at Park Christian on the road.
“The girls shot the ball very well in the second half, but it was just one half,” he said. “We gave up offensive rebounds in the first half, and we had too many turnovers. There’s a lot of improvements that need to be made.”
BRANDON-EVANSVILLE 21 35 - 56
BROWERVILLE 16 19 - 35
B-E TOTALS - FG - 20-46; Three-point FG - 6-18; FT - 10-15; Assists - 12; Blocks - 6; Rebounds - 16; Steals - 20
B-E - Kristen Kokett - 4 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 4 steals; Bailey Schaefer - 9 points, 4 assists, 1 rebound; Olivia Otto - 3 assists; Haddey Zastrow - 17 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds, 2 steals; Kailee Klimek - 4 points, 1 rebound, 5 steals; Maddie Otto - 3 points, 1 assist, 5 rebounds, 3 steals; Kiley Lund - 2 points; Brittany Korkowski - 2 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound; Mikenna Pattrin - 15 points, 6 blocks, 5 rebounds, 6 steals