Offense trends upward as L/E/M tops Hettinger/Scranton in consolation
Throughout the postseason, the defense for the Cardinals has remained steady as a rock. L/E/M's press up and down the court has shown little to no give since entering districts a few weeks ago. The press has pushed L/E/M all the way to state, but the offense has had its highs and lows this past weekend.
Thursday night against Carrington, the Cardinals' offense was a step off throughout, eventually leading to a loss. Friday afternoon in Minot, the Cardinals came into The Dome with a chip on their shoulder. They were unhappy with the way they had played on offense. They took the court against a Hettinger/Scranton squad that also had a chip on their shoulder after falling to Central Cass by 15.
Two teams were looking for a rebound in Minot, in yet another battle of the birds, and were able to find that spark on offense. Posting up almost identical scoring numbers in the first and second halves, scoring 25 in the first half and 26 in the second, Langdon/Edmore/Munich would roll past Hettinger/Scranton, 51-37, to advance to the fifth-place game against Kenmare Saturday afternoon.
"We spent a lot of energy last night playing defense and it's always demoralizing when you play D and you can't put the ball in the hole, so they were down and I thought we went after it pretty good," Cardinals head coach Rob Scherr said. "Our defense was still there, which was nice, but we had trouble finishing at times. We were trying to build our confidence saying we're good shooters and we can score, but we just had to wait for the right opportunity."
In solving the lull on offense, L/E/M brought its guards down into the post to get some easier buckets from close and help the regulars under the net. Junior forward Morgan Freije paced the offense for the second straight night with 12 points, shooting 4-8 from the field. The guard switch around was highlighted by freshman guard Jaya Henderson, whose movement down low saw her finish with 10 points, going a perfect 4-4 from the line.
"I think we played really great defense and toward the end of the game our offense started to pick up and click more," Henderson said. "We were posting up more and getting control of the ball. That was really helping us."
Henderson has been a part of the Cardinals' younger core that has shown a lot of promise as the season had gone on. Not only was Handerson the only freshman to help the scoring rush, but freshman forward Cora Badding would finish with nine points for a third-best overall tally.
"We got her [Henderson] inside, made some moves, and started to attack the basket more," Scherr said. "They were overplaying her really hard and she has that nice side step through. She's a great finisher and a great player. Last night Carrington was all over her and held her to three points, which really hurt us."
The offense clicked more than it did last night against Carrington, but the Cardinals believe that they can do more. The fourth quarter showed flashes of a rising offense, made up of patience and drive according to Scherr. L/E/M pounded Hettinger/Scranton in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 13-4, seeing the drive charged by Freije and Handerson.
Freije continues to be a stable hand for L/E/M on the boards, which is why Scherr moved down the guards to relieve some of the pressure off of her. Her strengths on the boards saw her pick up a team-high seven rebounds, with five of those coming on the offensive end. There was some hesitation for the Cardinals, but at the same time, they were moving a little quickly on offense. Scherr is looking for a healthy balance between the two in order to have a big finish against the Honkers tomorrow.
"We have to make sure we calm down offensively and get on a roll," Scherr said. "I told them, once you go down there and make a couple of shots, it's going to be weird cause we'll make everything. We just need someone to go make some shots and get going. We've got to slow down or offense and take some better shots too. We just need to get into a better flow."
It was a concern earlier on in regionals that Scherr had noticed was coming on in the offense slowing down. New Rockford Sheyenne, Nelson County, and Four Winds/Minnewaukan all held the Cardinals to less than 50 points in their matchups, seeing L/E/M's defense hold back any sort of comeback from the lower scoring. Scherr said it comes to playing the opposition one on one and having the confidence to do that.
At the same time, the defense still remains a strong point for L/E/M as they forced the Night Hawks into 23 turnovers, seeing Bailee Pierce cough up the ball eight times on the night. Senior forward Kaylee Lowery would take advantage of any Night Hawk mishandles as she would pick up a team-high five steals. Hettinger/Scranton keyed in on the senior on offense, but she would provide a big lift on defense.
L/E/M faces a one-loss Kenmare squad tomorrow for fifth place. After playing it close, the Honkers were able to pull away from Glenburn, 40-27, seeing Brenna Stroklund run the offense with 21 points. In going to that game the goal remains the same to keep the offense progressing upward and keep bringing that aggressive press that got them to Minot in the first place.
"We need to make sure our offense is there and make sure the defense can stop number five," Henderson said.
L/E/M faces Kenmare tomorrow for fifth place at 2:30 p.m. at the Minot State Dome.
Langdon/Edmore/Munich 51, Hettinger/Scranton 37
Langdon/Edmore/Munich - 9, 16, 13, 13 -51
Hettinger/Scranton - 8, 10, 15, 4 - 37
Langdon/Edmore/Munich -- Frejie 4 4-6 12, Henderson 3 4-4 10, Baddin 4 1-1 9, Olson 2 2-2 6, Lowery 2 2-5 6, Swanson 1 2-2 4, Hetletved 1 0-0 2, 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 15-20 51
Hettinger/Scranton - Oase 6 9-10 21, Pierce 2 3-5 8, E. Jensen 1 0-0 2, Miller 1 0-0 2, L. Jensen 1 0-0 2, Schalesky 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 12-15 37.
3-pointers: Langdon/Edmore/Munich 0. Hettinger/Scranton 1 (Pierce 1).