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Minnesota West basketball teams split against St. Cloud Tech, face tough Rochester next

Feb. 14—ST. CLOUD — The men's and women's basketball teams at Minnesota West were both in action last weekend at St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

In the men's/women's basketball doubleheader, the Lady Jays team walked away with a 61-42 victory and in the men's game that followed, the Bluejays were defeated 77-67 by the Cyclones.

Here is a quick recap of both games, plus a look ahead to the next matchup for both the Minnesota West teams.

Women

Minnesota West 61, St. Cloud Tech 42

In the women's game, the Lady Jays defeated the Cyclones by nearly 20 points as they improved their record to 19-7 overall and 8-2 in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference South division.

Saturday's contest was the second of the season between the two schools, with Minnesota West taking the first matchup Jan. 13 in Worthington 95-72.

On Saturday, the Jays scored the game's first six points and allowed only six points in the first quarter to jump out to an eight-point lead. At halftime, the West lead was nine at 26-17.

In the third quarter, the Jays took firm control off the back of a 15-3 run, including a stretch of nine-straight Jays points scored from Olivia Hayenga. During that stretch, West opened up its biggest lead of 21 points. After taking a 41-24 lead after three quarters, the Cyclones attempted to get back in the game in the fourth quarter.

A 7-0 run brought them to within 10 points before the Jays responded with a 9-2 run of their own to regain control with under six minutes left.

Throughout the rest of the fourth quarter, Minnesota West remained in control to earn the 19-point win.

Hayenga led all scorers with 25 points as she made 11 of her 16 two-point shots. She grabbed 14 rebounds to secure yet another double-double this season and she had two blocks on the defensive end.

Hattie DeVries added 16 points and eight boards while Skyla Petersen and Audrey Drapeau each added six points. The Lady Jays struggled shooting the ball from the outside, going only 4-of-27 from behind the arc, but they only turned the ball over offensively six times.

Lily Manning led St. Cloud in scoring with 13 points and had six rebounds. The Cyclones also had a low shooting percentage from 3-point range, going only 1-of-21.

Minnesota West 14 12 15 20 — 61

St. Cloud Tech 6 11 7 18 — 42

Men

St. Cloud Tech 77, Minnesota West 67

The second game of the doubleheader featured the Minnesota West men's team and the Bluejays suffered a 10-point loss after taking a halftime lead.

The loss drops their record to 4-20 overall and 2-9 in the MCAC South. The Cyclones sweep the season series against the Bluejays, having defeated them 79-73 in Worthington Jan. 13.

The first half of Saturday's contest saw the Jays score the game's first five points and jump out to an early 7-2 lead. Back-to-back treys from the Cyclones quickly gave them the lead and from there, the two teams traded blows for the remainder of the half.

Throughout the half, the lead changed hands eight times and the score was tied three separate times. With only three seconds left in the half, Jordan Sinclair gave the Bluejays a 40-39 halftime lead.

St. Cloud Tech opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead. The Bluejays erased the run and from there, the next several minutes were back-and-forth. With around nine and a half minutes left, West took a 57-55 lead before the Cyclones scored the next 10 points over the next few minutes.

After that, the Bluejays had opportunities to either tie the game or grab the lead back and they brought the score to three points a couple of times. With less than two minutes left, the Jays trailed 70-67, but the Cyclones ended the game on a 7-0 run to clinch the win.

Leading all scorers for the Bluejays was Jiekgoy Wiel with 21 points to go along with 13 rebounds in a double-double performance. Teddy Collins Jr. scored 11 points, Henry Counsel added 10 and Sinclair and Karasharo Ojulo each added eight. Sinclair also had six assists to lead the team.

For St. Cloud, R'Moni Warner scored 19 points in 18 minutes off the bench and Matthew Ellingson scored 11 points. The two teams also didn't commit many turnovers with the Jays committing 11 and the Cyclones committing only four.

Minnesota West 40 27 — 67

St. Cloud Tech 39 38 — 77

Looking ahead

Looking ahead for the Minnesota West men's and women's teams is a tough matchup for both of them. They'll each face Rochester Community and Technical College Wednesday in Worthington for a doubleheader.

In the women's matchup, Minnesota West faces a Rochester team that is the defending NJCAA Division III national champion.

This season, the Yellowjackets are picking up where they left off from last season. They have an 18-2 overall record, a perfect 9-0 record in the MCAC South division and enter Wednesday's game on a 10-game win streak.

The Yellowjackets are also ranked No. 1 in the latest NJCAA women's basketball poll and have been in that spot all season.

They currently have a top five offense and defense in the nation in terms of points per game. The Yellowjackets score the second-most points in the nation with 80.3 per game and allow the fourth-fewist defensively at just 48.4 a game. They are also in the top five in numerous other stat categories on both sides of the floor.

Their leading forces offensively are Macaya Copeland and Cassidy Shute who average 16.7 and 13.1 points respectively to pace the team.

The Lady Jays, ranked third in the NJCAA D3 poll, are the team Rochester beat in the national title game last season.

This season, they've been a top-five ranked team all year and are on a four-game winning streak of their own. The last loss came to Rochester in a dominating 91-60 win for the Yellowjackets.

Minnesota West scores 77.4 points and allows 62.1 per game.

Hayenga, the reigning national player of the year, is once-again the team's driving force both offensively and defensively. She is sixth in the NJCAA in points per game with 22.5, 15th in rebounds per game with 11.7, ninth in assists per game with 5.3 and fifth in blocks per game with 2.7.

DeVries is averaging 15.2 points per game for the team and Petersen is averaging 9.4. Drapeau has 5.7 assists per game, which is fifth in the nation.

On the men's side, Rochester is ranked 12th in the D3 men's poll with a 15-8 overall record and a 10-1 MCAC South record. The Yellowjackets have won 10 straight with the last loss coming to Riverland by one point in their South division opener.

One of those 10-straight wins came against Minnesota West in a 77-46 win Jan. 17 in Rochester.

They score 75.7 points per game and allow 70.3 on defense. The team's scoring leaders are Jamison Lien with 14.1 points, Blue Smaller with 10.5 points and Obinna Izoura with 10.4 points per game.

For Minnesota West, Ojulo is its leading scorer this season with 11.2 per game with Counsel right behind with 10.9 per game. Ojulo also averages 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. Sinclair is the team leader in assists per game with 3.5 to go along with 5.3 rebounds per game. Counsel, Wiel and Kenneth Logan each average 5.1 rebounds.