Blossom girls late rally comes up short in loss to Panthers

Published 11:30 pm Friday, March 6, 2009

AUSTIN — A late surge for the Blooming Prairie girls basketball team wasn’t enough as it fell to New Richland/H/E/G 56-50 in the second round of the 2AA Sub-section 2AA East playoffs in Packer Gym Friday.

After trailing 50-39 with 7:26 left, the No. 4 seeded Awesome Blossoms (20-6 overall) rallied to score eight straight points to close the gap to three and BP had a golden chance to tie the game while trailing 52-50 with 2:32 left.

After a BP steal Lynnae Nelson had a breakaway opportunity, but NRHEG’s Alyssa Kerkhoff caught Nelson from behind and knocked the ball away. On the ensuing BP possession, Ashley Huemann missed a three from the baseline.

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BP’s last chance to pull closer came when Resha Koster missed a deep jumper with 50 seconds left and NRHEG leading 53-50.

The Blossoms didn’t hit one three all night.

“(Outside shooting) was an issue (for us),” BP head coach John Worke said. “But they played tight man and our girls were struggling to screen the ball, because they were so strong.”

BP was neck and neck with the No. 1 Panthers (25-1 overall) in the first half and the Blossoms led 30-27 with 1:47 left in the frame.

“I was very pleased with the way we started out,” Worke said. “We wanted to expose their inside and we did a good job on that. I thought our transition game was working well.”

NRHEG scored the last five points of the half and BP never held the lead the rest of the way. Panthers guard Jenna Brekke, who scored seven, hit a big three with 56 seconds left before the break.

Brekke as one of a few Panther’s who complimented Kerkhoff and Alyssa Hagen — who combined for 29 points.

“They have more than Kerkhoff and Hagen. Some of these other kids can step up and play.” Worke said.

NRHEG out-rebounded BP 28-23 on the night, but the Panthers held a large advantage on the boards in the first half.

“You take out their offensive rebounding in the first half and we’re up by 10 or 12 points,” Worke said. “That’s been one of their strengths and one of our weaknesses all year.”

NRHEG will play Hayfield in Mankato Monday at 8 p.m.

Blooming Prairie 30 20 — 50

NRHEG 32 24 — 56

BP scoring: Lynnae Nelson, 18; Kassie Lueth, 14; Marie Morem, 8; Erica Manske, 4; Ashley Hueman, 4; Resha Koster, 4; free throws: 67 percent (8-for-12); rebounds: 31 (Lueth, 9); turnovers: 23

NRHEG scoring: Alyssa Hagen, 16; Alyssa Kerkhoff, 13; Kelsey Christensen, 10; Jenna Brekke, 7; Anna Schlaak, 5; Kate Quam, 5; free throws: 52 percent (17-for-33); rebounds: 28 (Schlaak, 9); turnovers: 14