The Sleepy Eye Indians got themselves back in the win column behind 22 points from senior Madi Krueger in their victory over Renville County West Monday night.
The Sleepy Eye Indians girls basketball team isn’t accustomed to finding themselves in the loss column. This season the Indians have gotten off to a slow 1-4 start after losing eight seniors to last years team that finished second place in the state tournament.
The Indians have plagued themselves this season as turnovers and poor shooting have stemmed from a lack of experience. The talented, but young Indians are relying on seniors Madi Krueger and Paige Romberg to help the Indians overcome their early season miscues.
The two seniors did just that. Krueger had a game-high 22 points with 12 rebounds for a double-double in the 53-38 victory over the Jaguars. Romberg stepped up and scored 10 points of her 15 points in the second half down the stretch.
Sleepy Eye wasted no time in getting out to a lead by using pressuring defense and using the transition game in space to jump out to a convincing 18-3 lead early.
Renville County West then called timeout to help slow the momentum and answered with an 8-2 run to bring the deficit to 20-8 with just under eight minutes to go in the first half. The Jaguars also found themselves in the double bonus at the free throw line with 3:23 remaining in the first half, but failed to take any sort of advantage as they shot 7-of-20 from the line. The Indians went into halftime with a 26-19 lead.
Five minutes into the second half, the Indians found themselves in a funk fueled by turnovers and cold shooting. With 11:46 to go in regulation, the Indians found their old 15-point lead shriveled down to five as they led 33-28.
Coach Hulke called timeout with 6:30 to go in the game to get his girls to recoup themselves as they now led 38-33. Brittney Dittbenner came out of the timeout going coast to coast for a lay-up and then Krueger followed in with a bucket of her own to put the Indians up 42-33 in a quick swing of momentum.
As time continued to tick down, with just 1:27 remaining in the game the Indians were in the midst of a 9-3 run in crunch time. The Indians used clutch free throws from Krueger to close it out in the end as the Indians got themselves back in the win column with the 53-38 victory.
The Indians are now 2-4 on the season and host Buffalo Lake/Hector/Stewart Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.