Patience pays off for Raiders in win over talented Waubun
A team meeting could become the decisive factor in saving the 2011-12 season for the Lake Park-Audubon girls' basketball team, and it could not have come at a more opportune time.
After losing three of their last five games, the Raiders had to enter hostile territory Thursday for a road game against the tough Waubun Bombers, with another loss potentially dropping LP-A's morale down even lower.
But after that team meeting held this past week, the Raiders played one of their best games of the season for a 49-41 victory over the Bombers (9-2), in a game which featured two of the area's elite scorers in LP-A's Andi Knudsvig and Waubun's 2,000-point scorer, Jenna Lundon.
"We came out focused and just played on a whole different level tonight," said Knudsvig, who was held to season-low 11 points. "The key was the team meeting we had this week and we talked about everything basketball.
"We just decided to bring more excitement and intensity to our game."
It worked out well, as the Raiders used a patient and effective offense, which featured sharp passing around the tough Waubun zone defense.
Not only did LP-A (8-5) possess the ball for longer stretches of time, they finished their series off with points.
LP-A head coach Anthony Bryant said Thursday's win over Waubun was important, not just because it's a win over a good team, but it could potentially lift the Raiders out of the doldrums.
"We've been struggling as of late and we decided to have the team meeting, where the girls poured their hearts out and put their emotions out there," Bryant said. "They really came together after that and played one of their best games in a while."
LP-A was able to slow down the game to a grind, which is the exact opposite of how the high-flying Bombers play. The Raiders handled Waubun's full-court pressure well, which led to some easier baskets.
"Their offense was very frustrating for us to handle," said Waubun head coach Ben Baker. "We played a box and one to limit Knudsvig, but they were able to really slow the game down from the beginning."
The Raiders were able to build in the first half, as they went on a 6-2 mini-run to build a 25-18 halftime lead.
LP-A sophomore forward Bailee Bartunek, who ranks in the top five in the state in rebounding, extended the Raiders' possessions with several crucial offensive boards.
"That's her game," Knudsvig said of Bartunek. "She's a rebounding monster."
Waubun kept it close throughout the second half, closing within two points at 27-25, but the Raiders went on a 9-0 run, which incidentally didn't contain one Knudsvig bucket, due to an ankle injury she suffered at the 11:11 mark.
She returned just three minutes later to help the Raiders seal the deal.
Bartunek led the Raiders with 13 points, with many of them coming on offensive rebound putbacks.
"Everybody was boxing out well and getting the rebounds," Bartunek said. "We really came together tonight and this will lead us into our future games."
Waubun didn't get any closer than six points, after Lundon, junior Lea Haverkamp and junior Taylor Winter combined for six straight points, but LP-A senior guard Tatum Hall tied up the win by going 6-8 from the line in the final 1:30.
Even on Hall's two misses from the free throw line, the Raiders kept their possession alive on a pair of Bartunek rebounds in the final 34.9 seconds of play.
"This was Tatum's best game as a point guard," Bryant said. "She came up big against their defensive pressure and she was so steady at the free throw line."
All of Hall's points came by free throws, with six.
Lundon still managed her output, as she finished with 14 points. Her penetration of the lane led to her deadly stop-and-drop jump shot.
Bryant credited the tandem of junior Meagan Anderson and sophomore Lindsey Olson for keeping Lundon contained.
"Those two sacrificed their offensive games for defense," Bryant said. "They took turns sticking to Lundon and for her to score only 14 points, that isn't too bad for us."
But the slowed down pace the Raiders forced, hindered the Bombers' rhythm.
"Our main goal was to shut down Andi, but they really slowed it down on us and wasted a lot of time," Lundon said. "That's just not our game."
Even the usually dependable full-court pressure didn't seem to bother the Raiders much.
"We tried to deny Knudsvig, but they would just lob it over us," Baker said. "I don't know if it was a lack of effort on our part or what."
Winter also finished with 10 points for the Bombers.
Waubun is still in contention for the conference title, as well as a higher seed in the section playoffs.
The Bombers will travel to Climax-Fisher (0-10) Tuesday and host No. 10 ranked in Class 1A Win-E-Mac (12-0) in a crucial conference tilt Thursday, starting at 7:30 p.m.
With the win, the Raiders hope to have jumped back on the winning track. They will travel to Fertile-Beltrami (4-8) Tuesday and host Climax-Fisher Thursday.
Knudsvig and Lundon features coming up
It's rare enough to have one player in the area score 2,000 career points, but what about two?
That's exactly what's happening, with Lundon already eclipsing the 2,000 point milestone, and Knudsvig just 123 points off the mark.
Find out both of these big scorers' stories in Wednesday's Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Lake Park-Audubon at Waubun, Thursday, Jan. 12.
Raiders 25 24 - 49
Bombers 18 23 - 41
Scroing (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- LPA: Tatum Hall 0-0-6-8-6; Lindsey Olson 2-0-0-0-4; Jennifer Hamre 4-0-0-0-8; Andi Knudsvig 4-0-3-5-11; Breann Hogie 1-0-1-2-3; Marley McDunn 2-0-0-0-4; Bailee Bartunek 5-0-3-4-13. TEAM: 18-0-13-19-49.
Waub: Jenna Lundon 5-0-4-4-14; Samantha Heisler 0-0-1-2-1; Justine Yost 3-0-0-0-6; Taylor Winter 3-1-1-3-10; Tori Voss 3-0-0-0-6; Lea Haverkamp 1-0-0-0-2. TEAM: 15-1-6-9-41.