Four Winds/Minnewaukan steals, shoots their way past Carrington, 75-47
FORT TOTTEN – A Mallory Yankton scoop-and-steal from the opposing wing was anything but a rare sight Monday evening at Four Winds High School. The Lady Indians team as a whole made it a habit during the first half against the Lady Cardinals as the former picked off Carrington six+ times en route to a 43-26 halftime lead.
Such a dominating performance was not alien to the Lady Indians. After all, the team was a spotless 6-0 heading into their Dec. 20 bout against Carrington. However, it was against Carrington in particular where one could discern a kryptonite of sorts. Dating back to the 2013-14 season, the Lady Cardinals were 7-1 against the Lady Indians.
The track record might have stated one thing, but the on-the-court performance illustrated another as the Lady Indians conquered the Lady Cardinals, 75-47, Monday evening.
The Lady Indians remain undefeated with the win. Meanwhile, the Lady Cardinals drop to 5-2 on the season. In their two losses, the Lady Cardinals have lost by an average margin of 29 points (Carrington fell to Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier, 56-26, in the Stutsman Invitational on Dec. 11).
“Carrington is always well-coached,” Four Winds/Minnewaukan head coach Sean Gourd said after the game. “Andy [Braaten] has been coaching them a long time, and he has a lot of good experience. They worked hard over there. They stifled out fast break a few times we tried to force it in, and they were hustling back and getting deflections and getting steals. That is when we have to be smarter and…just relax out there. If you don’t have it, then you have to reset. There were more than a few times where we just tried to push it, throw it in there [and]...other teams we’d get that, but tonight it wasn’t there.”
A 6-2 run to open the first quarter did not dissuade the Lady Indians in the slightest. Instead, they almost immediately erased the deficit via a steal-and-score, followed by a three-point perimeter jumper.
While the Cardinals attempted to pressure the Lady Indians via their 5’11” big in Sydnie Grager, the Lady Indians found pressure of their own from beyond the arc. The perimeter defense from Mallory Yankton, Alionna Lawrence and Ezura Rainbow helped keep Carrington off-balance and put them in a 43-26 halftime deficit.
To Yankton, the successful pressure came not from talent but from being selfless as a team.
“I think from last year, we have really improved in that as long as we work together, we can overcome anything,” Yankton said after the game. “Instead of being selfish with the ball, we have worked it around to make it work.”
The pressure presence was not Four Winds/Minnewaukan’s only strength. The offensive prowess from the perimeter also showed as they immediately went back to work to open the third quarter. Senior guard Myona Dauphinais opened the third quarter with a three-pointer splash from the wing.
The pressure and perimeter game continued into the fourth quarter to the point where Carrington could not consistently respond.
“Today, the game plan was keeping the pressure on them and get them out of their sync…we always look for the steal, obviously, and we look to trap," Gourd said. "As long as the rotation is there, I am OK with us trapping everything. We have some good hands with Mallory [Yankton], Myona [Dauphinais] and Ez [Rainbow]…that has to be our game, and that has been our game.”
The 28-point margin of victory against the Lady Cardinals served as a moral victory for the Lady Indians. Dating back to the 2013-14 season, Four Winds/Minnewaukan lost by an average margin of 15 points in their seven losses against Carrington over the span. In their lone victory, the Lady Indians won by 10 points (78-68 on Jan. 2, 2020).
The victory was not just another marquee win for the Lady Indians. It was also a monkey off of the team’s collective back.
To Yankton, it came down to executing and playing as a team instead of as an individual player.
It has been this mentality the Lady Indians have made a habit of doing since the season’s inception. From Yankton’s perspective, it is all about keeping these good habits throughout the entire regular season.
“As long as we stay on our toes, we can get there,” Yankton said.