Feb. 8—WORTHINGTON — The basketball teams at Minnesota West Community and Technical College each faced off against Riverland Wednesday night.
The women's team walked away with a 77-63 win, while the men's team lost 88-61. Here is a recap of how both games went for Minnesota West.
Minnesota West 77, Riverland 63
It didn't always look pretty, but the Minnesota West women's basketball team managed to walk away with a double digit win in the end.
The Lady Jays (18-7, 7-2 MCAC), now ranked third in the NJCAA Division III women's basketball poll, were facing a team that suited up only five players. Throughout the game, Riverland didn't let the score get too out of reach, as Minnesota West came out a little flat at times.
"We just never got any pace going in that game," said Lady Jays coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka. "I thought we were just kind of in slow motion all the time, unaggressive, but hats off to (Riverland). They had five players and I felt at times that they outhustled us, and sometimes I think you see, oh, they only have five, so mentally you start to maybe let up a little bit. I'm a little disappointed in our effort, but I said if you feel like you didn't play well at all and you can still win... I guess that's a good sign."
In the game's first few minutes, the Jays opened up a 12-6 lead off the back of two treys from Audrey Drapeau and another from Olivia Hayenga. After Riverland got to within three points shortly after, the Lady Jays made two-straight 3-pointers to end the first quarter with a 23-14 lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Jays first opened a double-digit lead and later on, their biggest lead was 16 with around 1:30 left. By halftime, West still held a 12-point lead at 36-24.
In the third quarter, the Lady Jays scored the first six points in a row and it looked like they were starting to slowly pull away. Past the midway point of the quarter, 3-pointers from Dasia Potter and from Drapeau pushed the lead past 20 points. Heading into the fourth, West still held a 19-point lead at 54-35.
The fourth quarter began with three Minnesota West turnovers that led to eight-straight points from Riverland. With under seven minutes left, the Blue Devils got within 10 points at 58-48. They couldn't get any closer though as a three-point play on the next possession from Hayenga helped the Jays continue to hold onto their double-digit lead for the rest of the game.
Hayenga finished with a double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds to go along with five assists, two blocks and two steals. Drapeau scored 16 points and made four 3-pointers, Hattie DeVries added 11 points and six assists and Skyla Petersen added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Leading Riverland in scoring were Laura Granada with 19 points and Kenai Holien with 18. The Bluejays outshot Riverland 42% to 40%.
The win completes a regular-season sweep of Riverland for the Lady Jays, having defeated the Blue Devils 86-64 on Jan. 10. Following a big top-five win over Anoka-Ramsey last Saturday, Hayenga-Hostikka thought that Wednesday's game was potentially bit of a let down emotionally.
"I think we went into it thinking that we had it in the bag a little bit and then when we saw they only had five players, and I think that all is that mental edge and we expended a lot of emotion against Anoka in a huge win like that," she said. "It's just those let downs, you just can't let them happen this time of year and so hopefully we kind of learned a lesson tonight."
Riverland 14 10 11 28 — 63
Minnesota West 23 13 18 23 — 77
Riverland 88, Minnesota West 61
Coming off a hard-fought, dramatic win over Anoka-Ramsey last week, the Bluejays faced a tough Riverland team Wednesday night.
The Blue Devils came into the game 22-2 overall and 8-1 in the MCAC South, and they are ranked eighth in NJCAA Division III.
On Wednesday, a fast start from Riverland in the opening minutes of the first half set the tone for an 88-61 win over the Bluejays. The win marks Riverland's second win over Minnesota West this season.
In the game's first five minutes, Riverland jumped out to an 18-0 advantage thanks to a string of turnovers committed by the Bluejays that led to points on the fast break. They would commit 26 turnovers total in the game.
"The saying is you can't win a basketball game in the first five minutes, but you can sure as heck lose one and unfortunately for us, we lost that basketball game in the first five minutes of that game tonight," said Bluejays coach Dan Tharp. "So yeah, it's a little frustrating, obviously, when you turn the ball over that many times, but learning experiences for these young kids for sure."
It wasn't until around the 14-minute mark when the Bluejays finally scored their first points on an inside floater from Jiekgoy Wiel.
Thanks to that 18-0 run, the Blue Devils continued to hold a comfortable double-digit lead throughout the first half with their biggest being 24 points. By halftime, Riverland led 44-23 after a buzzer-beating layup.
The Bluejays opened the second half with six-straight points after a putback from Teddy Collins Jr. and four points from Wiel. Later on in the half, the Jays' strong effort continued as they cut the lead to 14 points at 60-46. It was the closest they've been since Riverland's 18-0 run.
West couldn't get any closer than that though as the Blue Devils began to pull away, eventually pushing their lead past 20 points again and then to nearly 30 points before winning by 27 in the end. After the game, Tharp said he liked how his team battled throughout the game and that there are things to build on going forward.
"We saw a couple of things that we work on every day offensively happen, so there's things to build on," he said. "Obviously, losing is no fun, but it's frustrating to go down like that. They fought, they battled, even the guys that played had great energy all the way to the end for some of those guys that didn't don't play as much, so that was fun to see."
Karasharo Ojulo led the Jays in points with 18, on 8-of-11 from the field, and assists with four. Wiel added 14 points on 7-of-9 from the field, while Jordan Sinclair led the team in rebounds with six and Henry Counsel tied for the team lead with four assists as well. The Bluejays shot 51% from the field in the game, their highest field-goal percentage of the season. They shot 57% from the field in the second half.
Leading the Blue Devils in scoring were Christian Campbell with 17 points and DeWayne Thompson with 16. As a team, they shot 47.9% from the field and had 16 offensive rebounds.
The Minnesota West women's team has three games remaining in the regular season while the men's team has four. Both teams will head to St. Cloud Technical & Community College Saturday for a men's/women's doubleheader.
Riverland 44 44 — 88
Minnesota West 23 38 — 61