Lyle-Pacelli girls continue to make strides in win over KW

Published 8:37 pm Thursday, December 27, 2018

HAYFIELD — It’s been a major makeover this season for the defending state Class A champion Lyle-Pacelli girls basketball team and the team is starting to learn to win — even when things aren’t always clicking.

The Athletics struggled with handling the ball, but they were able to overcome that setback to beat Kenyon-Wanamingo 55-35 in the semifinals of the Hayfield Holiday Tournament Thursday.

The Athletics (10-2 overall) jumped out to a 19-2 lead to start the game, but they weren’t able to completely run away with it as they committed 20 turnovers. KW (3-7 overall) pulled as close as 35-23 with 12:37 left in the game when Abby Bollingberg hit a three-pointer to ignite a 9-0 LP spurt over the next five minutes.

Olivia Christianson attacks the hoop against the defense of Kenyon-Wanamingo’s Julianna Boym, left in Hayfield Thursday. Rocky Hulne/

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Bollingberg finished with nine points, five rebounds, seven assists and four steals and she is one of the main returnees from last year’s state title team.

“It was really different at the beginning of the season and you could see it was a struggle for us. Now it’s working out. We’re moving the ball around and everyone is more experienced now,” Bollingberg said. “Those first few minutes we were getting steals, rebounds and we were running the floor. We had a lot of energy and it really worked for us.”

Olivia Christianson, who finished with 18 points, five rebounds and five steals, is LP’s other main returnee from last year. Christianson and Bollingberg have been big for the Athletics, but other players have stepped up as well this season.

Kayla Christohperson had 13 points Thursday, Lucy Nelson had eight points, five rebounds and two blocks and Rachel Nelsen had four points.

“Our first five plays almost the whole way (in games),” LP head coach Anna Meyer said. “Rachel Nelsen has come along way. She’s attacking on offense and she’s a really solid defender and rebounder for us. Lucy is coming around. We’re getting post play out of her.”

Lyle-Pacelli’s Kayla Christopherson handles the ball on the baseline against Kenyon-Wanamingo in the Hayfield Holiday Tournament Thursday. Rocky Hulne/

Nelson says she’s slowly adjusting to playing inside as her teammates have helped her along.

“I’ve been moved to the post position this year and I never really experienced that before,” Nelson said. “Anna’s really been working with me and everyone’s been great about getting me the ball in the right position.”

LP 29  26    55

KW 13  22    35

LP scoring: Olivia Christianson, 18; Kayla Christopherson, 13; Abby Bollingberg, 9; Lucy Nelson, 8; Rachel Nelsen, 4; Myra Kraemer, 2; Kayla Johnson, 2; free throws: 90 percent (9-for-10); rebounds: 22 (Christianson, 5); turnovers: 20

Lyle-Pacelli’s Lucy Nelson takes it to the hoop against Kenyon-Wanamingo in Hayfield Thursday. Rocky Hulne/