BY DAVID PEDERSEN
The message was received load and clear after Delano girls basketball lost 89-85 to Waconia last week.
“Sometimes the best learning tool is the bench,” said coach Amy Gould about how coaches got players on the same page. “In the next game against Annandale we realized how offensive patience needs to be the No. 1 priority. The other keys are making the extra pass and playing better defense.”
Gould says all three factors were present in the team’s 53-33 win over Annandale. It was a difference on defense of 56 points compared to the Waconia shootout.
A constant in both games was the play of junior Alex Wittinger, who scored 33 points with 17 rebounds against Waconia and netted 31 points with seven rebounds and three steals against Annandale.
Also against Waconia Bria Barfnecht had 23 point and 14 rebounds, Brooke Lemke had 16 points and five assists and ninth-grader Erin Norling had nine points and six assists. Barfnecht scored 12 points against Annandale.
“Waconia puts up an excessive number of shots, mostly from 3-point range” noted Gould. “We needed to exercise more patience unless you want to beat them at their own game. We had two players out sick and only eight available while Waconia subbed in 12 deep. Our girls were exhausted.”
Gould said the win in the next game when her team played with composure was a big step in the right direction for the Tigers who are 14-7 overall. The defense limited Annandale to 12 second half points. The team had 18 steals and shot 58 percent from the floor and 79 percent from the free throw line.
Delano is at Glencoe-Silver Lake Friday, Feb. 21 and is home against Hutchinson Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Delano could not muster enough offense to keep pace with two standout boys basketball teams when losing to Waconia 69-49 and Annandale 43-38 last week.
Annandale was up 24-22 at half. With the score 28-24 in the second half Annandale held the ball for at least five minutes before Delano got a stop and Sean Campbell hit a 4-point shot to close the game to 28-27. Annandale kept the lead by making free throws down the stretch.
Damon Longstreet scored 15 points with eight rebounds. Campbell had 12 points and Matt Kreklow had nine points, six rebounds and four assists. Austin Neisen came off the bench to grab eight rebounds.
Against Waconia, Delano fell behind 12-1 before closing the lead to 26-24 at the half. Coach Terry Techam said in the second half Waconia could not miss while his Tigers struggled from the free throw line finishing 11 for 27.
Campbell led the offense with 18 points. Longstreet scored 16 points with five rebounds. Seth Norling had six points, six assists and four steals. Kreklow pulled down 10 rebounds.
Delano is 15-9 heading into the home game against Glencoe-Silver Lake Friday, Feb. 21 to end the regular season.