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Girls basketball: Aggressive start leads to 66-49 win at South

If the Rosemount girls basketball team and coach Sam McDonald are looking for any signs of progress with the regular season winding down, they only need to look at the results on the team's schedules.

During the first half of the South Suburban Conference season, the Irish struggled against teams in the top half of the conference standings. Rosemount had upsetting double-digit losses to teams such as Bloomington Jefferson, Prior Lake and Bloomington Kennedy.

McDonald believed his team would improve throughout the regular season. The Irish have become a more cohesive, improved team.

The difference in team finishes can demonstrate Rosemount's growth.

The Irish lost to Bloomington Jefferson by 29 points earlier this season and closed the gap to just eight points in the most recent game. Rosemount lost at Prior Lake by 11. The Irish took the Lakers to the brink in a three point loss last week.

"Our conference is so good, especially those top four or five teams," McDonald said. "I felt we've played very well the last bit here. Unfortunately, we only have one win to show for it. We played Jefferson very well over there. Some of these teams that really got into us the first time around, we've played much, much better. Prior Lake was double-digits the last time we played and we really had a chance to beat them in the last minute at our place."

Rosemount (9-13, 4-10 South Suburban) lost 60-57 against Prior Lake last week and followed with a 66-49 win at Lakeville South.

The Irish were on the verge of completely flipping the result last week against the Lakers.

Rosemount held a one point advantage with less than a minute remaining, but Prior Lake hit a three-pointer to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish. After the Irish missed a tying attempt, the Lakers added a free throw for the final margin.

"I was really happy with the way we competed," McDonald said. "We just came up a bit short. We rebounded with them even though they had us severely outsized. Lindy Parker, Meghan Schuster, Elaine Warner and Laura Dennis did a really good job of rebounding for us throughout the game to keep their rebounding edge at bay."

Warner had 11 points and five rebounds. Dennis had six rebounds and Parker grabbed four boards.

Hannah Grim scored 11 points and Rachel Hoeppner finished with eight points.

"We competed right from the get-go, from the start, and the things we discussed pregame and were concerned with game plan-wise and we went out and carried it out," McDonald said. "We did a very good job with attention to detail in that game. When games take place like that, you always feel so bad they weren't rewarded for a great effort."

Hoeppner scored 14 points to lead three players in double figures in the win against Lakeville South. Grim finished with 13 points and four assists, and Warner added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

"South is struggling a little bit in our league and those are always interesting games in getting ready for," McDonald said. "Our first piece is to build off the effort we have against Prior Lake and we talked about that pregame. That led into it being really important for us to get off to a good start because you don't want to let a team hang around. The longer they hang around, the better chance they get more confident and you've got a whole battle on your hands for the entire game. Our big deal heading in was to get off to a quick, aggressive start and the girls did a really good job with that."

The Irish play host to Eastview tomorrow.