By Bruce Strand
The Rogers Royals had a 27-point lead at halftime but found themselves in a fight at the end, holding off the St. Francis Saints 78-74 on Thursday evening.
“We couldn’t miss in the first half, but we couldn’t buy a basket in the second half,” said coach Karlee Anderson. “St. Francis came out the second half and really attacked the basket. We had some foul trouble. And they had seven 3-pointers, six in the second half.”
Senior guard Kelsey Frain scored 20 points and sophomore guard Taylor Paulsrud 17 for Rogers (3-1). Lindsey Darr added 11 and Marin Nowak 10.
Free throw shooting finally nailed it down for Rogers as they finished 24-for-35, with Frain 8-for-12 and Paulsrud 5-for-5.
“They were putting Kelsey at the line down the stretch and that was fine with me,” said Anderson.
The Saints are 0-4 and were averaging just 44.5 points coming into the game but had a great second half, scoring 54 points. They finished 22-for-32 on free shots along with their 3-point binge.
Senior guard Nicole Borstner led the Saints with 23 points. Molly Kungel scored 11, and Sonja Homan and Worrell had 10 each.
The halftime score was 47-20. St. Francis got as close as three toward the end. The Royals were able to force a couple turnovers, and Courtney McClay drew a charge, to stay in front.
In earlier action, the Royals thumped Spring Lake Park 65-48 Tuesday Dec. 4, on the Panthers court, improving to 2-1.
The Royal enjoyed balanced scoring led by Megan Dobberstein with 1 3 points and Marina Nowak with nine. Simanko led SLP with 10 points.
“We played our style of basketball,” said coach Karlee Anderson. “We pressured their ball handlers and worked hard to not let their ‘bigs’ get easy lay-ups. The girls are working hard in practices to get it done on game nights.”
Marina Nowak, Lindsay Dorr and Megan Dobberstein worked hard on SLP’s two best players and held them under their average, the coach said.
Rogers was to host Simley, ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, Tuesday, Dec. 11.