January 7 @ Minnewaska
Minnewaska 63 Benson 49
The Minnewaska girls’ basketball team played the first of their three-game week hosting Benson. The Braves entered the game with a 4-4 record and appeared to be much improved over recent years.
Benson jumped out to a quick lead and led 7-1 before Maddie Thorfinnson scored the first basket for the Lakers. The Braves continued to play well and pushed their lead to 16-3 after eight minutes of play.
The Minnewaska offense began to show some signs of life as six different Lakers contributed to the next 10 points scored. With five minutes to play Minnewaska had reduced the deficit to under 10 points and trailed, 21-13.
In the final five minutes of the first half the Lakers held the Braves scoreless while putting 15 more points on the board to take a 28-21 halftime lead. Minnewaska scored more points in the final five minutes than they had in the first 13 minutes of the game.
The Minnewaska offense was balanced, with six players scoring points, led by Maddie Thorfinnson with eight and Addy Randt providing a nice spark off the bench with seven points.
The second half started similar to the start of the game. The Braves made a run and trailed by just one point after three minutes of play. Benson was hanging in there, down by four, 36-32, when Minnewaska broke the game open with a 13-0 run over the next three minutes to open a 49-32 lead with 10 minutes to play. During the run that buried the Braves both Maddie Thorfinnson and Hannah Hoffmann hit a pair of 3-pointers.
Benson never got closer than 12 points after that and the Lakers went on to win by 14, 63-49.
Three Lakers hit double digits in scoring, led by Maddie Thorfinnson with 17, followed by Emma Thorfinnson with 12 and Hannah Hoffmann with 10. All three players hit a trio of 3-point shots, accounting for the nine made shots from behind the arc.
Avery Hoeper paced the Lakers with seven rebounds including four offensive rebounds. Minnewaska had more offensive rebounds, 15, than defensive rebounds, 14, which accounted for some of their offensive success.
January 9 @ Minnewaska
Minnewaska 57 Litchfield 48
The Minnewaska girls hosted Litchfield on Thursday night. The Dragons entered the game on a two-game losing streak while the Lakers had been playing pretty well of late, winning five of their last six games.
Litchfield jumped out to a nice halftime lead, up by 12, 34-22. Minnewaska had relinquished a 16-point halftime lead earlier in the year, this time it was the Lakers’ turn to wipe out a big deficit in the second half.
The Lakers’ girls outscored the Dragons by 35-14 over the final 18 minutes of play and won going away, 57-48.
Emma Thorfinnson poured in 17 points to pace the Lakers. Avery Hoeper had her best performance of the season, making five baskets and three free throws for 13 points.
January 10 @ Melrose
Melrose 53 Minnewaska 49
After erasing a halftime deficit on the way to a win the night before, the Minnewaska girls’ basketball team had the tables turned on them Friday night in their game at Melrose.
The Lakers took a five point lead, 29-24, into intermission, only to have the Dutchmen outscore Minnewaska by nine in the second half to win the game by four points, 53-49.
Minnewaska shot the ball fairly well but continued to struggle at the free throw line, hitting just 3 of 11 attempts. Melrose hit 13-21, outscoring the Lakers by 10 points at the line, making the difference in a close game.
The loss took some of the shine off Hannah Hoffmann’s performance. The senior guard, who just recently began playing after recovering from a knee injury, landed five 3-pointers to pace the Lakers in scoring with 15 points.
Minnewaska is 7-6 on the year, 2-3 in the WCC, putting them in the middle of the conference pack.
The week ahead will be a tough one for the Lakers, facing two of the top teams in the WCC. On Tuesday Minnewaska will host BOLD, then go on the road Thursday to Sauk Centre. On Friday the Lakers travel to Paynesville to take on the 1-11 Bulldogs.