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Girls basketball: Irish split at Hamline Invitational

A few missed lay-ups kept the Rosemount girls basketball team from starting the season with a pair of victories at last weekend's Hamline Invitational in St. Paul.

The Irish failed to connect on more than their share of close-range shots in a season-opening 66-60 loss to Orono Friday night, but salvaged a weekend split thanks to a defense that sparked a big first-half run in a 48-37 decision over Kenyon-Wanamingo Saturday.

"We always expect to win, so we were a little disappointed we didn't come away 2-0. In the Orono game we just didn't shoot well," said new Rosemount head coach Chris Orr, whose squad shot 39 percent from the floor and missed 10 free throws in his debut. "It was good to finally get out and play. The girls have been working hard and learning a lot as everything we have thrown at them has basically been brand new to them. As we continue to work, the shots will start to fall as the girls get more comfortable in our offense."

The Irish trailed by as many as 16 points late in the second half before cutting the deficit to five in the final minute. Orono sealed the game at the free-throw line, connecting on 24 of 33 attempts.

Rosemount's returning scoring leader, Hannah Grim, picked up where she left off a season ago, setting the pace for the Irish with 23 points on 11 of 18 shooting. Senior captains Meghan Schuster and Hannah Halterman chipped in a couple of solid all-around efforts, with Schuster scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds and Halterman going for nine points and four rebounds. Each added four assists.

Ellie Vraa had six points, four rebounds and four steals.

The Irish fell behind 15-4 to start Saturday's game, but used their diamond press defense to put together a 29-6 run that put them in control.

Grim led the team with 14 points, four rebounds and four steals. Halterman added 10 points and Schuster nine.

Liz Evenocheck came off the bench to add eight points and four steals. Kalley McMenomy, Sydney Newton and Gabby Sprang also provided a spark off the bench, according to Orr.

Kenyon-Wanamingo battled back to outscore Rosemount 16-15 in a low-scoring second half. The Irish ended up shooting just 32 percent.

The Irish hosted Wayzata Tuesday and don't compete again until next Thursday when they travel south to take on Farmington in a non-conference game at Tiger Gym.