Riverland coach nets first win

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 1999

Suzy Hebrink’s first win as a college basketball coach came much, much earlier than her first win as a high school coach at Pacelli.

Tuesday, November 23, 1999

Suzy Hebrink’s first win as a college basketball coach came much, much earlier than her first win as a high school coach at Pacelli. She got her win in her second game, the first home game, as the Riverland coach with her former Pacelli player, sophomore Breanna Seira, hitting four straight clutch free throws down the stretch. The final score of Hebrink’s initial win was Riverland 53, Western Wisconsin Technical College 47.

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The Blue Devils fell behind by 10 points at the half and trailed 28-18 as Western guards Jess Severson and Michelle Adler scored a dozen apiece.

The speedy Rachel Burzinski was the only one showing any offensive prowess for the Devils with 10 first-half points. Burzinski scored 21 for the game with seven steals.

The rest of the Blue Devils picked up on her larcenous ways at the beginning of the second half. The Blue Devils went on a 15-5 run to tie the score at 33-33 in the first four minutes. The Blue Devils ran up and down the court at will. Burzinski scored the tying bucket with an assist from Kelly Leif, another former Pacelli player.

Over the next 12 minutes it was an even match with the Cavaliers taking a 45-44 lead on a basket by Adler. Seira then was fouled on a put back shot with 3:45 left she made both free throws to give the home team the lead. After a couple of more trips down the court she made it 48-45 at the 2:03 point on two more free throws.

"I had so much fun watching KJ (Leif) play last year," Seira said, "that I had decided to play this year. I missed playing with her. It is exciting to get to play with her for one more season."

Burzinski then made another steal and fed Leif for the score to go up 50-45. Anna Keefe, 15 points on the night, made a couple of free throws down the stretch and Burzinski made one of two to close out the scoring.

"Burzinski moves to the ball well and has great court awareness which you can’t coach," Hebrink said. "With her and Leif’s speed we have a lot of speed in the back court."

Rounding out the scoring for the Blue Devils was Seira with eight points, Leif four, Renae Bebler with three, and Melissa Rosel with two. Seira and Rosel were tough on the boards with nine rebounds apiece, Keefe had six.

Riverland Men

The men’s team ran past the Cavaliers 99-77. The Blue Devils quickly broke out of the starting gates taking a 55-28 half time lead.

"I was really happy for the team in the first half," head coach Dave Lillemon said. "It was really fun to watch them go up and down the court in the first half. We wanted our big men to run the floor and they did a good job of beating their opponents down the court. They got some big points which opened up the perimeter for us."

Those big men with big points were Brandon Kettner with 17, Brett Rogers with 10, and, off the bench, Kris Brose with nine. Leading the attack was Garret Ulrich with 21. Nick Peters scored 11, Jesse Heiny 10 and Tom Yost nine.

"It was nice to get everyone into the game," Lillemon said. "Our goal in these games leading up to the Conference games is to play harder than the other team and keep improving. We played real hard tonight."

This Saturday is the Alumni game with the women’s tipoff at 5 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m. Being inducted into the Riverland Hall of Fame are Wendy (Dickinson) Eickhoff, Sue Johnson, Jane Synoground, Jim Riles, Rick Knutson, and Jon Stephenson.