Southland girls make a statement against No. 9 LP

Published 6:53 pm Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lyle-Pacelli's Courtney Watler is guarded by Southland's Sydney Bendtsen in Adams Saturday. -- Rocky Hulne/

Lyle-Pacelli’s Courtney Watler is guarded by Southland’s Sydney Bendtsen in Adams Saturday. — Rocky Hulne/

ADAMS — The Southland girls basketball team picked up its second major win against a subsection opponent this season when it upended Lyle-Pacelli 62-52 in Adams Saturday.

Southland's Katlin Webber reaches for a loose ball against Lyle-Pacelli in Adams Saturday. -- Rocky Hulne/

Southland’s Katlin Webber reaches for a loose ball against Lyle-Pacelli in Adams Saturday. — Rocky Hulne/

The Rebels (10-5 overall) beat Goodhue earlier this season and the win over No. 9 ranked LP should give them an even bigger lift when seeding time comes in Section 1A West. McKenzie Kirtz had 21 points, four rebounds and three steals for the Rebels and Sydney Bendtsen had 19 points on 3-of-6 shooting on 3-pointers.

Bendtsen said the team has been writing the word believe on their wrists before every game lately and she said it’s given the squad a boost.

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“We write [believe] on our wrists on game nights and it has helped us so much,” Bendtsen said.

Southland head coach Russ Foster said his team is happy with the two big wins over Goodhue and LP, but he knows there’s a long ways to go.

“We’re obviously happy with those two wins, but there’s such a long way to go and we’ve got a brutal schedule,” he said. “Two nights ago we lost by twenty five points. We need to get more consistent offensively, but defensively we’ve come a long ways. That subsection is wide open. Lyle’s going to be back and it comes down to who’s playing well at the right time.”

Lyle-Pacelli's Brooke Walter handles the ball in Adams Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/

Lyle-Pacelli’s Brooke Walter handles the ball in Adams Monday. — Rocky Hulne/

The Athletics (14-3 overall) lost to Goodhue last Saturday and they’ve already taken more losses this year than they did all of last season. LP head coach Justin Morris said the team needs to start hitting its stride soon.

“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and figure out who we are,” Morris said. “It’s gut check time. Are we going to come together or are we going to fold? We’ve faced more challenges in the last seven days than we did all last year.”

Each team had 17 turnovers and that was a big factor in Southland’s favor as Foster was hoping the team would have less than 20 turnovers. Southland held a 34-26 halftime lead and LP got no closer than 48-43.

“We knew they were good and they can always come back,” Kirtz said. “We looked at it as zero to zero at halftime and you have to keep going.”

LP took a lot of shots from the perimeter in the loss and it didn’t shoot at a high percentage. Morris would like to see his team spend more time in the paint.

“We need to look to get the basketball inside more and get higher percentage shots,” he said. “We absolutely settled for threes. We can get those shots any time we want. If you’re going to live by the three, you’ll die by the three. We haven’t shot the basketball well for the last three weeks.”

Freshman Brooke Walter had 26 points, five assists and three rebounds.

LP 26 26 — 52

Southland 34 28 — 62

Southland scoring: McKenzie Kirtz, 21; Sydney Bendtsen, 19; Corbyn Bendtsen, 11; Katlin Webber, 6; Katlyn Kirtz, 3; Olivia Gray, 2; rebounds: 27 (Gray, 9); 55 percent (11-for-20); turnovers: 17

LP scoring: Brooke Walter, 26; Sarah Holtz, 12; Courntey Walter, 9; Madison Truckenmiller, 5; free throws: 71 percent (10-for-14); rebounds: 33 (Holtz, 11); turnovers: 17