Earlier this year, the Sleepy Eye Public girls basketball team lost to Springfield by 13 points. On Jan. 17, the Indians more than doubled the Tigers, with a final score of 66-31.
For Coach Ryan Hulke, everything was going right for Sleepy Eye from the start.
“This was the game where everything seemed to come together for us,” Hulke said. “Defensively, we were able to take a good Springfield team out of sync with some pressure, and offensively we moved well off the ball to give us good looks inside.”
The Indians held Springfield to just 15 points in the first half, which allowed them to dominate offensively. Sophomore Josie Schieffert, who was named KNUJ’s Player of the Week in girls basketball on Jan. 11, led Sleepy Eye with 18 points, recording nine rebounds and five blocks. Behind her was junior McKayla Ahlrich, who had 13 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Senior Claire Krumbach added 11 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks on defense. Meanwhile, eighth-grader Madison Heiderscheidt filled in for a sick Justine Gonzalez, and put in 10 points along with two rebounds, four assists and two steals.
“I knew when they saw Justine was not in the gym Friday they were going to pressure us full court all night and Madison did a nice job of handling that along with Claire, and Alicia helping out at times,” Hulke said.
Eighth grader Sarah Ibarra added nine points, five rebounds and five steals on the night.
The next day, the Indians were on the road as they took on New Ulm Cathedral. This time it was Sleepy Eye who was held back offensively, as the Indians put up just 12 points in the first half.
“New Ulm is a very good defensive team only allowing 40 points per game,” Hulke said. “We knew going in if we were able to score 50 points we would probably win the game.”
Sleepy Eye had a better second half, scoring 20, but it still wasn’t enough as the Greyhounds went on to win 45-32 to break Sleepy Eye’s three game winning streak. Hulke said the loss was due to a combination of factors.
“It really came down to the physicality of the game as we had 14 more fouls then they did and shot 24 less free throws,” Hulke said. “We also shot 22 percent from the field which doesn’t help much either, but again we were getting forced away from the basket.”
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Gonzalez returned from sickness and led the Indians with 10 points. meanwhile, Schieffert had eight points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. Krumbach also had eight points, and added five rebounds and two seals. Ahlrich was next with four points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Sleepy Eye moves to 10-7 on the year.