"We were really aggressive and played excellent defense," RSM coach Nick Staab said. "I think it was our best game of the year."
It was a close first quarter with the Hawks (4-4) leading 8-7 at the buzzer.
"I've got to give RSM credit. They out-hustled us they out-scrapped us," Gehlen girls coach Marty Kurth said. "They had a great game plan and they were a better basketball team than we were tonight."
Gehlen didn't bring new energy back with them after the halftime break. The Hawks held Gehlen to six points in the third quarter, scoring 12 of their own to make it 31-20, RSM, going into the final stanza.
The Jays found their spark in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Hawks 17-10, but it wasn't enough to stop RSM from the upset.
"We got back in it -- we were down by 11 -- we got it to three and actually had the ball one time when we were down by three but couldn't convert," Kurth said.
Gehlen had two girls foul out toward the end -- both Katelin Langel and Hannah Sitzmann had to take the bench.
Staab said, without a doubt, defense won the game for the Hawks.
"On our defense, Makenzie Ricke and Paige Harpenau did a really good job on Gehlen's Hannah Sitzmann and Emily Holtgrewe. We know you can't leave Holtgrewe alone -- she's such a good shooter, and Ricke put a lot of pressure on Sitzmann, made her work for everything," Staab said. "Anyssa Trejo did an excellent job on Katelin Langel. Those three really stepped up on defense tonight."
RSM's Alexis Bunkers led all scoring for the night with 14 points.
Paige Harpenau was also in double figures for the Hawks with 11 points, and Lyndsie Schorg added eight points.
"In practice, we talked about running the offense, they need to do different things, figure things out, take what the defense gives you," Staab said. "Tonight they did an excellent job of doing that. We had a couple of backdoor layups, and we haven't done that all year."
"We've just got to do better from the free throw line," the RSM coach added. "We were 14-of-28 from the line. That's got to improve."
For the Jays, Katelin Langel and Baily Wiltgen led Gehlen scoring with nine points and Alison Schnepf added seven points.
"We were 16-from-37 from the free throw line," Kurth said. "That killed us. All night long we missed them. We just couldn't knock them down from the free throw line. We did not shoot the ball well at all. We were 10-for-32 on field goals."
On boards for the Jays, Wiltgen logged five rebounds.
"We turned the ball over too many times, we didn't get enough shots up. We had 27 turnovers," Kurth said.
For the Hawks, Bunkers led in rebounds with seven. Harpenau logged five steals for RSM.
"It was a team effort up and down," Staab said. "We even had a couple of girls that hardly play come in and one, Baily Schroeder, came in the second quarter and got a five-second call for us, a huge play defensively."
Gehlen's record drops to 7-1 after the loss, continuing their busy week with two more games to go. The Jays host Storm Lake St. Mary Thursday and travel to Akron Friday for a game with the Westerners.
"We just need to get back on the court and try to get things done right," Kurth said.
Remsen St. Mary's travels to Marcus Thursday for a matchup with Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn.
"We've kind of been looking for this momentum and we just want to keep it up with Marcus Thursday," Staab said. "We want to end before Christmas break on a high note."