Rockford basketball teams head to St. James tournaments

BY DAVID PEDERSEN

It is rare when the boys and girls basketball teams play at the same place for a holiday tournament.

That is what Rockford will do in basketball when the two teams compete at the St. James tournament Dec. 27-28.

Senior Nkaujntsa Lee plays at guard for the Rockford girls basketball team. (Photo by quarterback (Photo by Bill Decker)

Senior Nkaujntsa Lee plays at guard for the Rockford girls basketball team. (Photo by quarterback (Photo by Bill Decker)

The boys open against host St. James, 7:45 p.m. Thursday. The loser plays at 2:30 p.m. Friday and the winner at 4:15 against either Belle Plaine or Morris Area.

Rockford’s girls also will open against St. James at 4:15 p.m. Thursday. The third place game is at 6 p.m. Friday with the final set for 7:45 p.m. against either Springfield or Worthington.

Last week the boys lost to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 67-56 and the girls lost to Maple Lake 57-39. Games played Friday and Saturday came after the early holiday deadline.

Eight Rocket girls scored in double figures against Maple Lake, but only two had more than four points.

Samantha Bagaason led with 11 points and Brianna Calder added eight. Jordan Weeding, who netted at least 20 points in each of her previous two games, was limited to four.

“Jordan had an off night, shooting 2 for 15,” said coach James Carr. “She has been taking what the defense gives her and knocking down her shots. She is so athletic that she jumps over any block attempt.”

Carr said his team had a good stretch of three games prior to Maple Lake. Rockford lost by four to a tough Foley team, came on strong against Pierz to cut the lead to six and beat Holdingford.

“We have been talking about playing with confidence and consistency at both ends of the court,” adds Carr.

Starters have been Katelynn Pedersen, Jayda Palmer, Calder, Weeding and Bagaason. Top reserves are Abby Botten plus sisters Nkaujntsa and Hnibci Lee. Sister Tshiabli Lee dresses for varsity but primarily plays on the junior varsity.

In recent years the boys and girls teams had played at different holiday tournaments and were often wondering how the other was doing.

By both playing at the same tournament in the same town they will be able to support each other easier.

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