LP-A rallies, but fall short
The Norman County East girls' basketball team proved to be very opportunistic in their 56-51 win in Audubon Tuesday, after going a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line.
Junior center Alecia Stene went 8-8 herself, while pouring in a total of 20 points, as the Eagles controlled the paint both offensively and defensively.
"Their free throws won the game for them," said LP-A head coach Tiffany Christiansen. "They also took away our inside game, which hurt."
The Raiders (2-3) made a couple of nice stabs in the Eagles' lead, with the closest being 53-51 with 46 seconds left in regulation on a three-pointer by senior guard Chelsea Raaen.
"That's important that our seniors are stepping up like that," Christiansen said.
But Stene abruptly stalled that momentum swing by the Raiders, after powering up for a rebound on NCE's next possession and laying it back, along with a foul.
Stene converted her eighth free throw of the game to put the lead back to five at 56-51.
The Raiders struggled to work the around the perimeter for a three-point shot, which ate up precious seconds, as the game effectively was ended on an LP-A turnover.
When the Eagles needed to curb a potential Raider rally, they went inside to Stene, who had six field goals in the game -- all coming from five-feet within the bucket.
"Our girls need to learn how to help out on the backside when the ball goes inside like that," Christiansen said.
But when the Raiders needed a lift, their top-scoring threat junior guard Andi Knudsvig provided it.
Knudsvig's strong drive to the bucket by splitting the lane in half on her penetrating moves, allowed LP-A an inside game.
The Raider guard finished with a team-high 25 points, including a 7-8 performance from the charity stripe after drawing fouls on her strong inside drives.
But another positive came with eight different scorers logging in points for LP-A.
"We had some well-rounded offense tonight, the other girls really stepped up and we didn't have to solely rely on Andi," Christiansen said. "That was good to see."
Junior guard Jane Varty also netted 14 points for NCE, including two of the Eagles' six three pointers.
With the Raiders record sitting at 2-3, Christiansen has already seen plenty of progress with her young team.
"We have improved immensely from game one to five," the LP-A coach included.
The Raiders will be off for the holiday break and resume their schedule Tuesday, Jan. 3, at No. 5 ranked Hawley (5-0) and home against Park Christian (1-5) Jan. 4.
Norman County East at Lake Park-Audubon, Tuesday, Dec. 21.
Eagles 34 22 - 56
Raiders 27 24 - 51
Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) LPA: Lindsey Olson 1-0-0-0-2; Ashley Thompson 1-2-0-2-8; Emma Ulmer 1-0-0-0-2; Megan Anderson 2-0-0-0-4; Andi Knudsvig 6-2-7-8-25; Chelsea Raaen 1-1-0-0-5; Marley McDunn 0-0-3-4-3; Bailee Bartunek 1-0-0-1-2. TEAM: 13-5-10-15-51.
NCE: Jane Varty 3-2-2-2-14; Renata Varriano 2-2-0-0-10; Alecia Stene 6-0-8-8-20; Katelin Sirjord 0-2-4-4-10; Emily Pederson 1-0-0-0-2. TEAM: 12-6-14-14-56.