SUTHERLAND — As schools begin to return to their daily routines after the holiday break, the Gothenburg Swedes and Lady Swedes traveled to Sutherland for a pair of games on Friday. The Sailors (0-9) struggled with Gothenburg’s size, falling 63-35 to the Swedes, while the Lady Sailors improved to 8-2 on the year as they downed the Lady Swedes (3-8) 49-35.
After a slow start for both teams, things warmed up a little in the second for the Lady Sailors and Lady Swedes. Turnovers dominated the play in the opening quarter as Sutherland held a 9-5 lead heading into the second frame.
Sutherland was hampered when 6-foot senior Sam Kennedy picked up her second foul a the 6:33 mark of the opening quarter, and she wouldn’t see action again until about 2 minutes to go in the second quarter. In that time Gothenburg made good use of her absence as they tied the game at 14-14 on a steal and layup by Brittyn Munster, 5 minutes into the second quarter.
When Kennedy did return, she scored 7 of her game-high 21 points in the final 2 minutes for a Lady Sailors 23-20 lead at half.
“We’ve been stressing no fouls,” said Sutherland coach Jason Gunderson. “The two fouls she got were just plain fouls that happen. She went out and we had a slow first half. I was really pleased to see what she did in the second quarter.
“She was begging me on the bench to go back in. “We had a lead and were somewhat safe so I wanted to milk as much time as possible. She went in and made a huge difference.”
Despite Gothenburg’s Jacey Wiggins and Taylor Mroczek going a combined 4-for-4 on free throws in the final minute to take a 20-19 lead, Sutherland reclaimed the lead when Kennedy knocked down two free throws and then finished the half with a bucket on a Joli Hopping assist.
“We started a little slow,” said Gothenburg coach Chris Lecher.
“I think our defensive intensity was there — we just could not get anything going offensively.”
Sutherland started and finished the third quarter with runs of 6 points. Kennedy and Sam Staggs were 4-for-4 from the charity line and then Kennedy hit from 12 feet in the lane during the first run.
But there was no quit in the Lady Swedes. Wiggins scored in the lane, Emily Franzen had two charity tosses and Wiggins scored again after a steal to close to within 29-26 with 1:40 to go in the third before the Lady Sailors put together their second run.
Kennedy and Hopping had put backs off offensive boards and Kaley Stokey scored on a break from a Hopping assist to lead 35-26 with a quarter to go.
“It just took us out of it,” said Lecher of the two Sutherland runs.
“We’re not an offensive powerhouse and when they did that to us it hurt us bad.”
Gunderson said the Lady Sailors have been working on taking control to begin the second half.
“We’ve been stressing that we have to own the third quarter,” the coach said. “We came out and went on that 6-0 run and then we relaxed for two or three minutes and had a tough time getting shots off.
“But then I was really pleased with how we finished that quarter.”
After Gothenburg’s Taylor Wolf scored in the paint to begin the fourth quarter, the Lady Sailors put together a 10-point run to put the game out of reach at 45-28 with 3:50 remaining. Hopping was a big part of the run, connecting on two from behind the arc.
“Those were huge shots,” Gunderson said. “Early in the game she kind of struggled with her shot and I just told her to slow down and get a little arch on her shot.
“When she hit those two 3s it really put the game away for us.”
Gothenburg (3-8)...................................5 15 6 9 — 35
Sutherland (8-2)..............................9 14 12 14 — 49
Gothenburg stats: (2 pts, 3 pts, ft, pts) Brittyn Munster 1, 0, 4/6, 6; Aryn Meisinger 1, 0, 0/2, 2; Taylor Mroczek 2, 0, 2/2, 6; Regan Geiken 2, 0, 0/0, 4; Jacey Wiggins 4, 0, 2/2, 10; Taylor Wolf 1, 0, 3/4, 5; Emily Franzen 0, 0, 2/2, 2.
Sutherland stats: Sam Kennedy 7, 0, 7/7, 21; Joli Hopping 4, 2, 0/0, 14; Kaley Stokey 1, 0, 0/1, 2; Jalyne Schuster 2, 1, 1/2, 8; Sam Staggs 0, 0, 2/2, 2.
* * *
Swedes dominate Sailors
Size was the name of the game between the Swedes and Sailors.
But during warm-ups, the Sailors lost their only height as 6-foot, 5-inch junior Calvin Carsten went down to an injury.
Shortly into the game, Gothenburg lost 6-foot, 8-inch sophomore Tanner Brochardt as he came down wrong and injured his leg.
But the Swedes still had size that caused problems for the shorter Sailors the entire night. Gothenburg’s 6-7 Logan Koehler scored 18 of his 20 points in the opening half to help give the Swedes a 42-21 first-half lead to put the game out of reach.
“Logan had a good first half but it was a result of some good passing,” said coach Roger Koehler. “A lot of team play that got him the ball.
“He hits the boards fairly hard and battles down under the basket pretty well. He got them up and finished and also hit some free throws.
“He’s become a pretty good free throw shooter and that will be huge for him.”
Sutherland started on a positive note, as Tyler Fear hit from 5-feet on a pull-up jumper and then knocked down a 3 from behind the arc for a 5-0 lead. Borchardt scored on a feed from Connor Schwanz on a break for the Swedes before Fear put the Sailors up 7-2 on a shot from 10-feet.
“In the last minute we had to make the change and I thought the kids came in and played pretty well,” said Sutherland coach Dan Dyer because of the injury to Carsten. “The last few games we’ve started well and that has been a positive for us.”
Gothenburg answered with a 14-point run to lead 16-7 and the Sailors could never recover. Blake Ristine hit from 18 feet and Logan Koehler scored an old-fashioned 3 on an inbounds play.
Logan Koehler then hit two free throws and both he and Ristine scored in the paint.
After Ristine hit from 17 feet, Logan Koehler made a free throw for the insurmountable lead.
“[Sutherland] was definitely overmatched by the size aspect of it, but not on the effort part,” coach Koehler said. “They really played hard. When their big kid went down in warm-ups it definitely hurt them because it was their one guy they had with size.”
Gothenburg (4-7) led 42-21 at half and 53-28 at the end of three quarters. A run of 10 points in the second quarter just added to Swedes lead.
Tyler Fear scored a game-high 22 points for Sutherland, struggling to keep the Sailors in the contest.
“He’s been our go-to-guy all year and the kids know he has to shoulder a lot of the load,” said Dyer. “We talked at half, they would probably be bringing another defender at him and we would need some other guys to step up and make some plays — being a little more aggressive with the ball.
“I think our young guys are starting to do that and that will make us more competitive.
“Heck of a player,” said coach Koehler of Fear. “I knew he would be coming in.
“He was the one we said we needed to stop and we didn’t do a very good job of it the first half. We challenged them in the second half to cut him down a little bit. He’s a nice player. Nice shot and he can create his shot.”
Although Sutherland was down on the scoreboard, the Sailors effort never faltered.
“Even with kids playing out of position I thought our kids executed some sets pretty well,” Dyer said. “We got good looks.
“Sometimes they didn’t go and sometimes it was just the difference of size we were trying to shoot over.
“The kids have come a long way from the first week and we just have to continue to improve and get better each game.”
Gothenburg (4-7)..........................18 24 11 10 — 63
Sutherland (0-9)................................10 11 7 7 — 35
Gothenburg stats: (2 pt, 3 pt, ft, pts) Connor Schwanz 2, 2, 0/0, 10; Aaron Collins 5, 0, 0/0, 10; Logan Sheets 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Blake Ristine 5, 0, 0/0, 10; Nathan Graham 2, 0, 1/2, 4; Roy Slack 3, 0, 0/0, 6; Tanner Borchardt 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Logan Koehler 7, 0, 6/7, 20.
Sutherland stats: Tyler Fear 4, 3, 5/6, 22; Brett Good 3, 0, 0/0, 6; Trey Rongisch 0, 1, 0/0, 3; Brook Blomstedt 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Brandon Slack 1, 0, 0/0, 2.