TMB repel late Viking comeback
Minneota missed its first 14 shots and didn't connect on a field goal until 5:18 left in the first half, falling behind by as many as 21 points in the first half.
But the Vikings (22-3), rated No. 4 in Class A, didn't give hope and came out in the second half playing like it has all year, eventually whittling the deficit to one point at 43-42 with 3:18 remaining.
But Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (19-2), ranked seventh in Class A, held on for a 50-46 victory Thursday night in Tracy.
"I'm not really sure what I was feeling," said Minneota coach Chad Johnston about the early hole the team was in. "I wasn't happy to see how we played early in that game, but I was happy to see how we responded in the second half. We just couldn't get over the hump and get the lead."
Johnston emptied his bench with the team trailing 12-2, inserting players that don't often see the court that early in the game.
"I was trying to send a message," Johnston explained. "I was really happy that didn't come back to bite me, but credit to those girls for coming off the bench for playing right with TMB and really didn't give anything up."
TMB had been driving to the hoop with relative ease when Johnston put his foot dump and sent out the reserves. Soon after, Morgan Moorse stood her ground under the hoop and took a charge.
"Morgan taking a charge couldn't have happened at a better time and helped gain some momentum," Johnston noted.
The coach even switched to a zone defense, something he rarely employs, in an attempt to quell the Panthers' drives to the basket.
"We did it last year against TMB and it helped slow down (Jordan) Munson," said Johnston about TMB's speedy point guard. "I felt like it worked again this year, but they were better prepared for it."
Johnston told his squad at halftime that they needed to execute better and prove how good of a team they really were.
"We told them that they had 18 minutes to get back in this game and that it didn't need to happen all at once," said Johnston.
The Viking players seemed to get the message as they responded with a strong second half in which they outscored the host team 29-18.
"We changed our defense up a little to try and slow them down," Johnston said, when asked what the key was to the much-improved second half. "We were able to get some stops and cause some turnovers. Also, we settled down on offense and started to execute better."
In a meeting with TMB on Dec. 21 in Minneota, the Vikings prevailed 58-41.
This time, though, Minneota had trouble with the Panthers' press and turned the ball over 16 times in the first half.
When TMB built its biggest lead of the game, 32-11, late in the first half, Minneota started an 16-4 run over the end of the first half and expanding into the second half to cut the deficit to 36-27.
In that run, McKenna Yost scored 10 of those 16 points on a three-pointer, a layup and five free throws. Jeren Rost also had a three-pointer and McKenzie turned a steal into a three-point play.
The Viking continued to reduce the deficit. Tolk scored on a drive to the basket and Yost hit another free throw to make it 43-42. That would be as close as the Vikings would get, however, as the Panthers outscored them 7-4 the rest of the way.
Jordan Munson cashed a pair of three throw to make it 45-42. Camille Dolan sank two free throws with 1:03 remaining to make it 47-42.
Natalee Rolbiecki snapped the cords with a three-pointer to pull Minneota within 49-46 with :18 left. Munson then sank one of two free throws for the final margin.
Yost led Minneota with 13 points and three assists. Natalee Rolbiecki had nine points, including a pair of three-pointers, seven rebounds and six steals. Tolk had seven points and three steals despite being in foul trouble and being relegated to the bench for stretches.
Grace Hennen finished with five points, Jurrens and Rost four each, Ireland Stassen three points and nine rebounds, and Faith Myhre one point.
Munson led all scorers with 18 points despite also sitting for extended minutes with foul trouble. She also had seven rebounds and five steals.
Minneota has a 10-day layoff before hitting the road to take on Mayer Lutheran on Feb. 21. Mayer Lutheran beat Minneota in the state volleyball championship match this past fall.
Tracy-MB 50, Minneota 46
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton...................................32 18 - 50
Minneota......................................................17 29 - 46
Field goal shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 16-for-40, 40.0 percent. Minneota 13-for-45, 28.9 percent ... 3-point shooting (good-attempts-pct.): Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 3-for-10, 30.0 percent. Minneota 5-for-17, 29.4 percent ... Rebounds: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 22, Minneota 25.
TMB Individual Statistics
Scoring (total points): Kiarra Danielson 6, Jaysa Davis 2, Camille Dolan 6, Margaret Dolan 8, Maddi Langerock 1, Sheridan Ludeman 5, Jordan Munson 18, Lauren Zick 4 ... 3-pointers: Munson 2, Ludeman 1 ... Rebound leaders: Munson 7, Dolan 5 ... Assist leader: not available ... Steal leaders: Dolan 7, Munson 5.
Minneota Individual Statistics
Scoring (fgm-fga ftm-fta points): Natalee Rolbiecki 3-11 1-2 9, Jeren Rost 1-5 1-2 4, McKenzie Tolk 2-3 3-4 7, McKenna Yost 2-11 8-11 13, Ireland Stassen 1-8 1-3 3, Grace Hennen 2-2 0-2 5, Kennedi Jurrens 2-3 0-0 4, Kenadi Arndt 0-2 0-0 0, Dakoda Hennen 0-0 0-0 0, Emma Bottelberghe 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Moorse 0-0 0-0 0, Faith Myhre 0-0 1-2 1 ... 3-pointers: Rolbiecki 2, Yost 1, G.Hennen 1 ... Rebounds: Stassen 9, Rolbiecki 7, Yost 3, Rost 2, Jurrens 2, Tolk 2, Arndt 1 ... Assists: Yost 3, Rolbiecki 2, Stassen 1, G.Hennen 1 ... Steals: Rolbiecki 6, Stassen 4, Tolk 3, Yost 2, Jurrens 1.