Girls basketball: Defense shines in conference opener
It was an up-and-down three-game home stand for the Rosemount girls basketball team last week.
In a span of five days, the Irish lost to Shakopee in a game that came down to the final seconds, defeated Bloomington Jefferson in their South Suburban Conference opener and hung with ninth-ranked Park of Cottage Grove, all without leaving town.
"It was a busy week, to say the least," Rosemount coach Chris Orr said. "The girls competed hard in all three games and huge progress has been seen since the beginning of the year. If we can just clean up the little things, the big things, like wins, will start to happen more frequently."
The Irish did some good things Saturday against Park. They shot 49 percent from the field and turned the ball over just 11 times, but the Wolfpack used a 38-21 advantage on the glass to turn a three-point halftime lead into a 69-53 road win.
"We fought hard and competed. We just had too many mental lapses, whether it was on defense, not communicating in transition, talking on screens or offense executing out of time outs or dead balls," Orr said. "Against a good team like Park you can't have those mental lapses and win."
Hannah Grim made 10 of 23 shots from the field and finished with a team-high 22 points for the Irish. Meghan Schuster added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Hannah Halterman tacked on nine points.
The Irish shot just 35 percent from the field Thursday against Jefferson, but Orr said their defense made the difference in a 52-42 conference win. The Jaguars managed just 11 field goals and shot 26 percent.
"The girls came out aggressive. It was by far our best defensive game as a team," he said. "We had great energy for 36 minutes not only from the girls on the floor but from our bench."
Liz Evenocheck came off the bench to score nine points, grab seven rebounds, hand out three assists and grab three steals. Grim and Halterman notched 13 points apiece and Ellie Vraa added eight points.
"Starting off with a win was huge for our confidence going forward," Orr said.
Rebounding was once again an issue for the Irish last Tuesday against Shakopee. The Sabers had a 44-28 edge on the glass and used those second-chance points to sneak away with a 58-56 win.
Grim finished with 21 points in the loss. Halterman tacked on 16 points and Schuster had six points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Irish (3-4) continue their South Suburban schedule this week with a road game at Prior Lake Tuesday and a home contest tonight against Lakeville South.