Walter’s big night lifts LP girls past Southland
Published 11:19 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015
ROCHESTER — Lyle-Pacelli senior Madison Truckenmiller and junior Courtney Walter have each been on the varsity team since they were seventh graders and neither of them had ever won a tournament game in Rochester — until Tuesday.
The No. 2 seeded Athletics overcame some early foul trouble and a slow start to cruise past No. 3 seeded Southland 55-40 in a Section 1A West semifinal in Mayo Civic Auditorium.
The Rebels (18-10 overall) opened with a 9-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game and Walter had two early fouls. It wasn’t looking optimal for an LP team that had lost 62-52 to Southland Jan. 24.
Email newsletter signup
“You’ve got to give credit to our older kids for keeping their composure,” LP head coach Justin Morris said. “We’re a different team this year, we’re battle tested and we’ve stuck together. We didn’t let that lead extend too big early on and we executed the game plan really well.”
LP changed the script thanks to a strong effort by Walter, who recovered from a slow start by hitting a couple of short jumpers to keep LP in the game in the first half. Then she put the dagger in the Rebels by knocking down three 3-pointers in the second half. Walter finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Walter said she wanted to come out driving the basketball, because the Rebels wouldn’t expect that.
“I played with a lot of them in AAU and they knew that I like to shoot, so I figured that I needed to switch it up and add to more my game if I’m going to help the team at all,” Walter said. “We were really hungry for a win. We were going to do whatever we could to get it. It’s a huge step for the program. We’ve been waiting for this win forever.”
LP (23-3 overall) closed the first half on a 19-7 run and it pulled away early in the second half. Walter hit a 3-pointer on LP’s first possession of the second half to trigger 12-3 LP run. The Athletics led by as much as 52-29 with four minutes left in the game, before the Rebels made a late surge to get as close as 13.
The Athletics were able to get past Southland on Tuesday by crashing the boards and sharing the wealth. All five of LP’s starters scored at least seven points and the Athletics out-rebounded Southland 43-21.
Truckenmiller had 10 points and 13 rebounds for LP.
“The first time around, that’s what killed us and that’s what our focus was all week in practice,” she said. “To get to the next step we had to focus on rebounding and boxing out.”
LP will now face another team that it lost in the regular season. The Athletics will play top-seeded Goodhue for the Section 1A West title 5 p.m. Saturday in Mayo Civic Auditorium. The Wildcats beat LP 61-45 Jan. 17.
“Just like we did against Southland, we’ll have to go look at the tape and see what we can do differently,” Morris said. “They’re an unbelievable basketball team and they’ve very well coached.”
LP has now won nine games in a row by at least 10 points each since it lost to Southland in the regular season. Truckenmiller said LP is a different team now than what it was when it lost to Goodhue.
“There are a lot of things that we did in that game that we’ve gotten better at as a team. We need to lessen our errors,” she said.
Southland 16 24 — 40
LP 21 34 — 55
LP scoring: Courtney Walter, 19; Sarah Holtz, 10; Madison Truckenmiller, 10; Bethany Strouf, 7; Brooke Walter, 7; Kendal Truckenmiller, 2; free throws: 65 percent (15-for-23); rebounds: 43 (Truckenmiller, 13); turnovers: 12
Southland scoring: Kaitlyn Kirtz, 9; Kaysie Allen, 8; McKenzie Kirtz, 6; Sydney Bendtsen, 5; Olivia Gray, 4;Haley Laack, 3; Maggie Vlasaty, 3; Corbyn Bendtsen, 2; field goals: 30 percent (16-for-54); 3-pointers: 31 percent (5-for-16); free throws: 50 percent (3-for-6); rebounds: 21 (McKenzie Kirtz, 6); turnovers: 12