Four Winds/Minnewaukan rides strong second half to overtake Dunseith, 66-40
MINNEWAUKAN – To some, the Saturday afternoon matchup between the Four Winds/Minnewaukan Lady Indians and Dunseith Lady Dragons was a rematch of sorts. After all, the Lady Indians dominated the Lady Dragons, 72-40, to claim the Lake Region Invitational title on Dec. 4.
To others, the Dec. 11 bout might have been a trap game, especially from the perspective of the hosting team. Of course, Dunseith was not only looking to adjust from the previous week’s encounter but perhaps even dish out a dose of revenge, too.
Although the Lady Dragons delivered a couple of reality checks early and often, the Lady Indians eventually bounced back during the second half to defeat the District 8 power, 66-40.
With the home win, the Lady Indians are a spotless 10-0 against the Lady Dragons, dating back to the 2017-18 season (Dunseith last beat Four Winds/Minnewaukan in overtime, 77-76, on Dec. 20, 2016).
Although Dunseith eventually faltered, they gave Four Winds/Minnewaukan a brief scare. However, Dunseith’s offensive adjustments in the low post did not tell the entire story. Instead, the final piece to the puzzle was a potentially dangerous case of playing lax.
A 16-7 first quarter in Dunseith’s favor illustrated this almost to a tee. While the Lady Indians bounced back to a livelier 15-9 second quarter in their favor, they still were not there at the pace they were at during the tournament final on Dec. 4. Something was missing, but what, exactly?
“They [Dunseith] were a little more patient,” Four Winds/Minnewaukan head coach Sean Gourd said after the game. “They didn’t seem to get panicked a whole lot, which is something they worked on, obviously. At the same time, we probably came out a little too relaxed and too complacent…our intensity wasn’t where it should’ve been. We beat them by 30 last time, but we have to stay at our level. I keep telling them we can’t come down and play…we have to stay at a high level, which we are capable of. But we just can’t take teams for granted or take them lightly. ‘Oh, this is an easy win for us.’ It doesn’t work like that.”
The Lady Indian switch turned on almost immediately at the start of the third quarter as a Myona Dauphinais three from the wing, in addition to a Mallory Yankton three-point play, set the tone on the offensive side.
A 25-22 halftime deficit against Four Winds/Minnewaukan instead transformed into a 43-33 Lady Indian lead through three quarters.
To Dauphinais and Gourd, it was all about tempo and defensive pressure. With more mid-court traps and picks, the Lady Indians utilized the size from their forward in Alionna Lawrence and center in Ezura Rainbow.
“We definitely picked it up the second half,” senior guard Myona Dauphinais said after the game. “Just basically reversing the ball in the zone gets you open.”
“We switched up a lot of presses a little bit,” Gourd said. “I think that picked up the pace. We put a little more pressure on the ball, and that definitely translated into more offense. We try to get our offense off of our defense, and that happened also.”
A 20-7 fourth quarter capped off the Lady Indians comeback. While they outscored the Lady Dragons, 41-15, through the final two quarters, the game illustrated that the team still a long way to go. Now, it is about maintaining consistency from start to finish.
“Just pick up our intensity and not drop down to their level," Dauphinais said. “We are a state-contending team, and we need to stay that way.”
From Gourd’s perspective, it is all about staying ahead of the curve. As long as the Lady Indians play with authority and energy, Gourd believes his team can tap into more potential.
“The bullseye is just getting bigger on us,” Gourd said. “I tell them that we have to be on top of our game. We are going to bring out everybody’s best game, and Dunseith played a lot smarter today. We have to be mentally prepared, which is probably the biggest thing…I stress that enough, but it is on the girls to make sure they are ready.”