ST. JAMES - The No. 2-seeded Martin County West girls basketball team took the first lead of the game in the opening minutes and never relenquished it as the Mavericks cruised by No. 3-seeded Windom Area during Section 3AA, South Sub-Section semifinal action on Tuesday in St. James.
The Mavericks (20-4) advance to face No. 1-seeded Fairmont in the Sub-Section final at 7 p.m. on Friday in Windom.
The Cardinals advanced by posting a 65-47 victory over No. 4-seeded Jackson County Central in the sub-section semifinals in St. James.
ELEVATION — Martin County West’s Taryn Tumbleson (11) elevates to pull a rebound away from Windom Area’s Leigh Hanefeld during Section 3AA, South Sub-Section semifinal action Tuesday night in St. James. The Mavericks’ Kate Thiesse (back left), Madyson Larson (35), Reilly Geistfeld (33) and Ellie Kuehl (right), along with the Eagles’ Kelsey Hanefeld (left), Rachel Sorensen (3), Jasmine Carlson (21) and Madison Maras (25), watch the action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Windom Area finished its season with a 13-11 record.
"I thought that we came out sluggish. We didn't hit some shots right away, but we didn't play as good of defense and were a little sluggish," said Martin County West head coach Rodger Taylor.
Both teams had a hard time sinking shots in the opening half, shooting a combined 19 for 55 from the floor.
The Mavericks were able to hold a five-point lead for the majority of the first half, thanks in part to Reilly Geistfeld and Madyson Larson inside the lane.
Geistfeld scored eight of her 14 points in the first half, while pulling down five of her seven boards. Larson scored five of her nine points and grabbed four of her team-leading eight rebounds during the first 18 minutes.
"I don't think we were as aggressive as we needed to be in the first half. We needed to attack the basket, and we just didn't do that enough," Taylor.
After Eagles junior Jasmine Carlson sank a jumper in the lane to cut the Mavericks' lead to three, the black-and-blue rallied to build back up to an eight-point advantage.
Madyson Larson caught a pass from Taryn Tumbleson and spun for a basket from the block on the ensuing Mavericks' possession.
Kate Thiesse then picked Carlson's pocket on the next Eagle possession and turned it into a layup to go ahead 27-20.
Geistfeld was fouled on her next shot attempt and converted one of two free throws to make it 28-20.
Sophomore Katie Kelly gave the Eagles some momentum going into halftime, scoring a traditional three-point play to cut the Mavericks' lead to five points.
Martin County West responded out of the break by going on a 13-3 scoring run to stretch its lead during the second half.
"We came out aggressive after halftime. We played better defense and shots started falling a little easier for us," said Taylor. "It wasn't until about halfway through the second half that we really were able to work a bigger lead."
Tumbleson, who scored a game-high 16 points, was fouled on a shot from the elbow before sinking one of two free throws.
The junior then swished a 3 from the wing on the next Maverick possession to keep the scoring run alive.
Eagle senior Rachel Sorensen tried to counter with a 3 on the other end, but her team could not keep up.
Ellie Kuehl sank the first of her two 3s, before Madyson Larson caught a pass from the wing and banked a shot off the backboard to go ahead 36-26.
Geistfeld then kept the momentum going, scoring on back-to-back possessions to take a 40-26 edge.
"Our defense was better the second half, and our goal is to win and advance. It wasn't pretty, but we did that tonight," said Taylor.
Kuehl finished with eight points for the Mavericks, while Thiesse added six and Jordan Gregory scored four points in the win.
Sorensen topped the Eagles with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Kelsey Hanefeld scored seven and Carlson tallied six.
Kelsey Hanefeld 2-10 3-4 7, Sorensen 6-15 2-3 15, Kelly 2-5 1-1 5, Leigh Hanefeld 2-5 1-2 5, Carlson 2-9 2-4 6, Maras 0-1 2-4 2, Vollan 0-0 2-2 2, Riordan 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 15-46 13-20 44.
Tumbleson 5-15 3-6 16, Kuehl 3-6 0-0 8, Thiesse 3-4 0-2 6, Geistfeld 5-12 4-7 14, Madyson Larson 4-10 1-2 9, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Gregory 2-2 0-0 4, Williamson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 23-52 8-17 59.
3-pointers: Windom 1-3 (Sorensen 1-2, Carlson 0-1); MCW 5-14 (Tumbleson 3-7, Kuehl 2-5, Smith 0-2). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Windom 21 (Sorensen 8); MCW 40 (Madyson Larson 8, Geistfeld and Tumbleson 7 each).