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WAUBUN'S MAREENA LAROQUE (45) and Tera Jasken (12) don't let LP-A's Bailee Bartunek have any breathing room underneath the basket during Thursday's game in Lake Park.

Swarming 'D' helps keep Waubun undefeated at 9-0

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After struggling through a foul-infested first half, the Waubun girls' basketball team used a timely 14-0 run to start the second half to key a 53-39 victory in Lake Park-Audubon Thursday to stay undefeated on the season.

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The Raiders (4-6) used some stingy defense and plenty of trips to the free throw line to stay a step ahead of the Bombers throughout the first half.

But LP-A couldn't quite put any meaningful separation between themselves and Waubun, as the Bombers were able to put a late half rally together to pull ahead 21-18 by halftime.

"Unfortunately, the refs let a lot go by and then called a lot of fouls on us, they were a factor in the first half," said Waubun head coach Jason McCloskey. "I was really disappointed how the game was called in the first half."

The game also featured two of the area's top two scorers in LP-A's Andi Knudsvig and Waubun's Jenna Lundon.

Neither disappointed, as Knudsvig led all scorers with 26 points -- including going 13-16 from the free throw line -- while Lundon led Waubun with 19 points.

Knudsvig's slashing moves into the lane drew much attention from the Waubun defenders, as she either gained a shot on the basket or a foul.

But early in the game, Knudsvig was held in check for the most part, as Waubun was able to clog the lane.

"We knew that Andi is one of the best players in the area and I was going to rotate two or three players to defend her," McCloskey said. "But Jenna said she wanted her one-on-one, so I give a lot of credit to her for doing a good job defensively."

LP-A was able to build an early 8-2 lead, holding it up to the 4:22 mark in the first half, before Waubun forward Rachel Pazdernik made a turn-around shot to give the Bombers a 15-14 lead -- their first of the game.

A three-pointer by guard Taylor Winter extended the lead to 18-14, as the halftime edge tilted to the visitors 21-18.

"We were ready for them to be shooting the ball and have our hands in their face," said LP-A head coach Tiffany Christiansen. "But our shots were not dropping. There was a lid on our basket at home, which hasn't happen to us, yet, this season."

LP-A also took advantage of its free throw opportunities, after being in the bonus at the 9:00 mark and the double bonus with 5:47 left to halftime.

The Raiders were also able to employ their tough 2-3 zone defense, which did slow down the Bombers in the first half.

"They have a good defense," Lundon said. "So we really wanted it in the second half."

But Waubun came out in the second half with a purpose, which resulted in a 14-0 run.

"We were pretty angered after that first half," said senior guard Erin Jasken. "So we wanted to do well in that second half."

Waubun applied a smothering full-court press, which led to more than several easy transition buckets, as Lundon scored seven points alone in the 14-point tangent.

"We went with a man-to-man full court press and that led to an effective transition game," McCloskey said. "Our defense got us back in the game. That was probably our best play of the season in the second half tonight."

LP-A was able to make a couple of dents in the Bomber's lead, which expanded to 20 points at one point, by trimming it 12 at 37-35 with 5:20 remaining in regulation.

"Waubun being able to sub 11 to 12 players did take an effect on us, since we have only around seven or eight," Christiansen said. "Andi and Bailee Bartunek basically played the entire game, so hopefully we'll start seeing more girls step up."

Waubun also started winning the rebounding game, which was keyed by sophomore post Tera Jasken.

"We needed to start rebounding better and Tera stepped up to that call," McCloskey added. "This was a good win over a quality opponent like Lake Park-Audubon."

The Bombers (9-0) will host Climax-Fisher (1-9) Tuesday, while the Raiders will host Fertile-Beltrami (0-9) Tuesday.

Waubun comes a long ways from two years ago

Plenty has changed from last year's 14-10 Waubun team, just not the players.

But lots and lots has changed from three to four years ago, when the Bombers were posting 1-22 records with many of these same players.

"We have come a long ways from the days in practice when we were throwing chest passes on the wall for two hours," McCloskey said. "Many of these girls were seventh and eighth graders and just learning the basics of basketball.

"Now our practices are intense and we get a lot of things done."

The most prevalent sign of the transformation this team has undergone can be seen in their 9-0 start to the 2010-11 season.

It's not just the amount of wins, but who they were against. Already the Bombers have beaten past foes who have feasted on them in wins versus Fosston (60-53), Norman County West (65-42), Norman County East (64-52) and Ada-Borup (50-45).

"We have exorcised some demons from our past," McCloskey said. "It's different now from the past, these girls have learned how to win."

Added Lundon, "It feels good to get wins against those teams, it's giving back a little revenge."

The past few seasons, the Bombers have relied on Lundon to do the bulk of their scoring, as her 1,489 career points as only a junior shows.

But now, a host of Bombers are stepping up to take that burden off of Lundon, as the team is getting more spread out scoring.

"That's been a big help," Lundon said. "Defenses just can't focus on me anymore."

Erin Jasken added the chemistry of the team is strong, since most of them have been playing varsity together since their seventh or eighth grade years.

"We have dedication and work hard," Jasken said of the keys to the 9-0 start. "We've played together forever and we are well-balanced."

With the inside presence of Tera Jasken and Pazdernik -- among others -- defenses have to stay honest to Waubun's inside game, thus leaving their dangerous perimeter shooters more space.

Waubun also is deep, with up to 11 to 12 different players seeing the floor throughout a game.

"We have shooters like (sophomore) Taylor Winter who can hit the three's and just a bunch of good shooters," McCloskey said. "But the key to our season has been our defense. The defense has been very good."

With half of the season yet to be played, the Bombers will not rest on their first-half laurels.

"We need to keep playing good defense and keep working hard," Erin Jasken said. "We need to keep it up."

Waubun at Lake Park-Audubon, Thursday, Jan. 13.

Bombers 21 32 - 53

Raiders 18 21 - 39

Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- Waub: Jenna Lundon 8-1-0-0-19; Samantha Heisler 1-0-0-0-2; Justine Yost 1-3-2-2-13; Taylor Winter 0-2-2-2-6; Tera Jasken 1-0-2-4-4; Erin Jasken 0-1-0-0-2-3; Rachel Pazdernik 2-0-2-2-6; Annie Erickson 2-0-1-2-5. TEAM: 15-6-9-14-53.

LPA: Ashley Thompson 1-0-0-0-2; Andi Knudsvig 5-1-13-16-26; Chelsea Raaen 1-0-0-0-2; Breann Hogie 0-0-3-4-3; Marley McDunn 0-0-1-2-1; Bailee Bartunek 1-0-2-6-4. TEAM: 8-1-19-28-39.

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
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