Experienced Blossoms outlast young Vikings

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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HAYFIELD — The Blooming Prairie girls basketball team saw the potential of a young Hayfield squad early on, but the Awesome Blossoms were able to settle down and take control as they beat the Vikings 53-43 in Hayfield Tuesday night.

It looked like it was going to be a close finish when freshmen Kristen Watson and Emily Beaver scored back-to-back buckets to bring Hayfield within 40-36 with nine minutes left in the game, but that’s when BP (4-0 overall) put together its own 12-0 run over a seven-minute stretch. Megan Oswald had a key three-point play to start the rally and Bobbie Bruns hit a three and converted a steal for a lay-up as well.

Oswald finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals, but she gave credit to the Vikings for forcing 22 BP turnovers. 

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“It was their pressure that made it tough. We had to take a breath and settle down,” Oswald said. “We just had to work together to break their press. We’re improving a lot with every game and every practice.”

Hayfield (3-1 overall) opened the game on a 15-4 run as it forced seven early BP turnovers. BP head coach John Bruns said his team had to gather itself to get back in it.

“We’ve done a little bit of prep against the press, but it’s a whole different ball game when you go against Hayfield’s press,” Bruns said. “They have some kids that are aggressive and quick and they can put some pressure on you. We were a little shell shocked there.”

BP grabbed a 30-26 lead when Oswald scored and Bobbie Bruns converted a steal for a lay-in just five seconds later. Hayfield would tie the game at 32 in the second half, but it would never take the lead again.

“They’re a very aggressive team,” said Watson, who finished with nine points and four steals. “I thought we had them in the first half, but we went down. They got a few lay ups on us and it didn’t work out well.”

Bobbie Bruns piled up 19 points, nine rebounds and eight steals, but she said the Blossoms are still adjusting to playing at a fast pace after having virtually no preseason practices to prepare for the year.

“It’s still a battle. You get your second wind eventually, but it’s tough, especially with the masks,” she said. “We’ll get through it. We have a lot of depth this year and we have a lot of girls that can play big minutes off the bench. That really helps.”

Hayfield head coach Kasey Krekling knows that BP is a tough matchup for the Vikings, who play three freshmen big minutes, but he liked what he saw in stretches.

“We had the deer in the headlight look in the second half,” Krekling said. “It was a close game and this was the first close game for a lot of our girls in a pretty eventful atmosphere. They made more plays and we made some weak passes. We played a good team and we were close; we’ll get there, we just have to keep playing as a team.”

BP 32  21    53

Hayfield 28  15    43

Hayfield scoring: Natalie Beaver, 11; Kristen Watson, 9; Caitlynn Hendrickson, 8; Alexis Ward, 4; Ava Carney, 3; Josanne Tempel, 3; Chelsea Christopherson, 3; Aine Stasko, 2; free throws: 38 percent (3-for-8); rebounds: 33 (Beaver, 8); turnovers: 21

BP scoring: Bobbie Bruns, 19; Megan Oswald, 15; Allison Krohnberg, 7; Anna Pauly, 6; Maggie Bruns, 4; Emily Miller, 2; free throws: 58 percent (10-for-17); rebounds: 33 (Bobbie Bruns, 9); turnovers: 22