BY DAVID PEDERSEN
Free throw shooting played a key factor in the outcome of both Delano girls basketball games played last week.
The Tigers shot just 22.7 percent from the line, going 5 for 22 in the 50-44 loss to Watertown-Mayer. Making crucial free throws in the second overtime against Big Lake led to an 80-75 victory.
Coach Amy Gould said her players battled through some adversity to hold on against Big Lake. Sophomore starter Brian Barfnecht missed practice due to illness and senior starters Katie Emmer and Darian Sowers missed part of the game with knee injuries.
Delano shot 52.2 percent from the line against Big Lake and 37 percent from the field. That was not great, but certainly better than the 28 percent mark from the field against Watertown-Mayer.
“Late in the game we had to go with four sophomores and a senior while Big Lake had five seniors on the court,” said Gould. “It was stressful, but it will pay dividends later in the season.”
Emmer, who was 2 for 10 from the free throw line against Watertown, was at 100 percent (5 for 5) against Big Lake.
Sophomore Alex Wittinger was dominating with 24 points, 20 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Sophomore Tayler Hedtke came off the bench to grab 14 rebounds to go with nine points and four assists.
Senior Savanah Bettin added 13 points. Sophomore Brooke Lemke scored seven points with five assists and four rebounds. Sophomore Kalley Koch also had seven points and sophomore Makenna Giese provided five points.
Delano trailed Watertown-Mayer 19-2 at the start when the opponent hit on three quick 3-point baskets. Delano would get fouled when driving to the basket but could not make free throws.
The Tigers closed to within a point but WM kept draining the 3-point shots. Wittinger had 15 points and 14 rebounds as the only player to score in double figures. Lemke added nine points.
The Tigers have some tough games coming up starting at home against section power Monticello, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 and at league power Hutchinson, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Delano is home to Orono Tuesday, Dec. 18.