By MARK RUSCHAU
MINSTER — The Minster Wildcats used a great defensive
effort over the final four minutes of the game to hold off the
St. Henry Redskins 44-35 in a nonleague girls game at the Minster
Trailing 37-28, St. Henry scored the first five points of the
final period to cut the Minster lead to 37-33. Baskets by Brenda
Hemmelgarn and Kayla Lefeld and a Kendra Buschur free throw
fueled the St. Henry comeback.
The Redskins had two chances to cut even more into the deficit
but came away empty on both occasions. One trip St. Henry threw
the ball away for a turnover and then Lanee Mikesell missed
a lay-in after she made a great steal at midcourt for another
Minster answered the Mikesell miss with a big basket by Karen
Brackman to rebuild the lead to 39-33 with 4:53 left.
St. Henry cut the Minster lead to four with 3:40 left on a jumper
from the wing by Buschur. Minster quickly responded as Valerie
Bornhorst found Robyn Hoying open under the basket for a score
to rebuild the lead to six, 41-35, with 3:27 left.
The Wildcats then turned up the defense as they forced consecutive
Redskin turnovers which they converted into a basket and a free
throw by Hoying that set the final margin.
In the final 3:40, St. Henry missed one shot from the field,
a free toss and they committed five turnovers on their last
six trips of the game.
“Our problem in the fourth quarter was too many turnovers,”
said Minster coach Nann Stechschulte. “The ball was like
a hot potato, we would make one pass then we would turn the
ball over, it was a real rat race.”
“Truthfully I didn’t realize that we shut them out
over the final four minutes,” continued Stechschulte.
“Sometimes you don’t shoot the ball but the defense
can never leave. Hopefully defense can be something you can
fall back on and that was the case tonight.”
“I think the girls are starting to get comfortable and
doing the things that we want them to do,” said St. Henry
coach Charlie Maier. “There were times there in the fourth
quarter where we really got into good traps and got the lane
cut off, we got some turnovers and got some points.
“On the other hand we got to get our skills better,”
continued Maier. “We had some unforced errors that cost
us. We got into too big a hurry. Once we start to play with
patience, by this I mean just a couple seconds of thought instead
of hurrying everything, we’ll be alright.”
The defensive intensity of the final quarter was the story of
the game s both teams struggled offensively all night long.
For the game, Minster connected on just 20-of-52 from the floor
for 38 percent and made just three-of-seven from the free throw-line.
The Cats committed 24 turnovers.
One bright spot offensively for the Cats was junior Karen Brackman.
Brackman hit for a game-high 14 points, she also gathered nine
rebounds. Hoying added 11 points.
St. Henry shot just 35 percent from the floor, 17-of-48 and
committed 19 miscues. Hemmelgarn was the only Skin in double
digits with 11 points.
“I’m proud of the way the girls played tonight,”
said Maier. “That’s a pretty good Minster team over
there and the fact that we played them to four points with under
four minutes to play says a lot.”
St. Henry, 0-3, opens up Midwest Athletic Conference play Thursday
as it hosts New Bremen. Minster will also open conference play
Thursday at home against Fort Recovery.