When things got away, the Lincoln girls basketball team went back to the basics. After a mediocre first half against fourth-ranked Rapid City Stevens, the Patriots found their footing after the break Friday night en route to a 62-55 victory at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.
Stevens knocked down seven first-half three pointers, mixing in 6-footer Cassidy Steele down low to give an inside-out attack and build a 35-31 lead at halftime. It was a confident effort, and while the Patriots hung in with 10-for-22 shooting from the field, their apparent lack of hustle and attention to detail was a sore spot for coach Matt Daly.
“Little tiny things, if you lose your focus and don’t to them, you look awful,” Daly said, referring to lackadaisical effort on the fundamentals.
It’s worth noting that Izzy VanVeldhuizen wasn’t guilty of playing flat. The 5-foot-10 senior dove for loose balls on successive plays late in the first half, the latter which included a flip pass to Ellie Brecht, who finished in transition.
A shot in the arm may have been needed for the other players.
“We had a real simple conversation at halftime — Get back to basics,” Daly said.
In the third quarter, that’s what Lincoln did — and Ellie Brecht and sister Anna led the charge. Lincoln opened the quarter on a 15-0 run to seize a 46-35 lead, often scoring in transition and playing at a higher tempo than in the first half.
“We came out flat and we realized that and knew that in order to get back in the game, we had to come out strong,” said Ellie Brecht, who led Lincoln with 21 points. “We came out (in the third quarter) as a team.”
Stevens, meanwhile, continued to mix its attack, leaning on Steele and fellow post Marissa Hirchert to anchor their inside game.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the outside shot that worked so well early faltered down the stretch. Stevens ended up 8-for-26 from beyond the arc after connecting on 7-of-12 in the first half.
With the Patriots playing cleaner and Anna Brecht continuing to hit fourth-quarter shots, Stevens’ late cold streak proved enough to sink its chances at a win.
“She has unbelievable confidence, and that’s amazing for a sophomore,” Daly said. “We don’t win this game tonight without Anna Brecht just gutting through it while we were out of sync.”
It was a valiant effort for Stevens, which couldn’t continue its first-half shooting and hit on just 8-of-32 attempts from the field after the break.
“They’re a great offensive team,” said Stevens coach Dallas Richter. “We knew we were going to get some points on the board. Late, we just didn’t hit shots. But overall, that’s a tough team and we competed right there until the end.”
It was a character win for the No. 2 Patriots, who were without their starting point guard, sophomore Sydney Rosinsky, and backup — senior Sydney Miller. Both are dealing with back issues, and Rosinsky’s stress fracture could sideline her for a few weeks. It’s more of the same for Lincoln, which went stretches earlier this season with its No. 1, 2 and 3 centers sidelined with injuries.
“When we’re all healthy and all clicking, we’re a really good team,” Daly said. “And when we’re struggling with injuries we look out of sync like tonight. But we gutted through it and got a ‘W’.”
VanVeldhuizen finished with a versatile nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while center Jille Ricke added six points, 10 boards and an impressive eight blocks.
For Stevens (11-5), Tianna Duda had 15 points while Steele added 11 points and six rebounds. Steele’s minute were limited, returning from injury just this week.
RAPID CITY STEVENS (11-5)
Tianna Duda 5-14 0-0 15, Alexis Marsico 4-9 0-0 8, Marissa Hirchert 2-3 1-2 5, Taylor Molstad 0-7 0-0 0, Kaitlyn King 2-5 0-0 6, Hanna VanDerWerff 2-8 3-3 8, Kiana Maxon 1-5 0-0 2, Cassidy Steele 5-8 1-2 11, Haley Molstad 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-59 5-7 55.
Anna Brecht 7-17 4-4 19, Izzy VanVeldhuizen 3-5 2-2 9, Jill Ricke 2-8 2-5 6, Allie Schriever 1-2 0-0 3, Ellie Brecht 9-16 2-2 21, Samantha Deloy 1-1 0-2 2, Torrey Eirinberg 0-1 0-0 0, Maggie Smither 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-51 10-15 62.
Stevens 13-22-9-11 55
Lincoln 15-16-17-14 62
3-pointers – RCS 8-23 (Duda 5-11, King 2-3, VanDerWerff 1-3, Marsico 0-1, Maxon 0-2, T. Molstad 0-3), SFL 4-10 (VanVeldhuizen 1-1, Schriever 1-1, E. Brecht 1-2, A. Brecht 1-5, Eirinberg 0-1). Total fouls – RCS 14, SFL 9. Fouled out – none. Rebounds – RCS 36 (King, Duda, Cassidy 4), SFL 33 (VanVeldhuizen 8, Ricke 7). Assists – RCS 1 (T. Molstad), SFL 14 (VanVeldhuizen 7). Steals – RCS 1 (Marsico), SFL 2. Blocked shots – RCS 0, SFL 10 (Ricke 8). Turnovers – RCS 5, SFL 9.