Lady Bulldogs win fourth straight in series against Hinton
HINTON — In the season-opener for both teams, Class 4A No. 7 Le Mars Community came away with a 66-24 victory over Hinton on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win in the series. According to Le Mars Head Coach Judd Kopperud, that’s quite an accomplishment for the program in the series as the pendulum has swung in favor of the Bulldogs after being on Hinton’s side for over a decade.
“We have a lot of respect for Hinton and their tradition here,” Kopperud said. “We knew they’d come out and play hard.”
The two teams played in a Thanksgiving weekend tournament for many years before the series continued near the start of each season after the tournament saw its run come to an end.
Hinton had dominated the series prior to the Bulldogs winning the last four as they won every meeting from the start of the new millennium until the 2014-15 season, a total of nine games during that span. Hinton Head Coach Matt Leary sees some similarities between his state tournament teams of the early 2000s and a Le Mars team fresh off a state tournament appearance of their own.
“Like our good days back in the early 2000s, they’ve just got that swagger,” Leary said. “They just kind of reload. They tasted the state tournament last year and I think they’re hungry for that again. There’s a lot to be said for the saying ‘Success breeds more success’.”
Kylie Dreckman started the game with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs, but Hinton answered right back with a bank-shot triple of their own from Bella Badar. Le Mars started to pull away after a 5-5 deadlock with seven straight points from the team forcing a pair of Hinton timeouts. The Blackhawks had some open looks in the first quarter, but could not get shots to fall.
“We had good looks,” Leary said. “We had some threes that rattled in and out. I was very pleased with our start and how we competed. Even though Le Mars threw the first blow with the 3-pointer from Kylie Dreckman, we answered. Then they went to a zone press and we had some turnovers against that. A lot of that is just youth and inexperience. A lot of that will come with court time which Le Mars has right now. Those girls have a lot of court time and they’ve seen it all. That’s what we’re trying to get to.”
Le Mars really began to find their rhythm in the second quarter as they outscored the Blackhawks 23-4 in the frame. Brooke Haage hit a right-corner 3-pointer early in the quarter and added another from the left wing later in the frame as part of her nine point performance. Madison Dreckman hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in the first half as 17 of her 19 points in the game came in the first half.
“I thought we were a little sloppy at the start,” Kopperud said. “We had some turnovers right away that were unforced that are uncharacteristic for us. We played through it and kept battling.”
Kylie Dreckman added the team’s final 3-pointer of the game to put the team in front 50-11 with just over five and a half minutes left in the third quarter with the running clock already initiated. The sophomore ended with seven points.
Kopperud pulled his starters shortly after that and the bench players did their job as 11 of the team’s 12 players scored in the win.
“If you have 11 of your 12 girls score, good things are going to happen,” Kopperud said. “Nice balance, good to see everybody getting involved. Obviously it’s not always going to be like that, but we’ll take it.”
Hinton had a spurt of success in the fourth quarter which included an Anna Coffee shot in the lane, part of her 10 point performance. Emma Webb followed with a 3-pointer for her only points of the night as the team hit the 20 point mark, something they fell short of in last year’s 55-12 loss.
Hinton (0-1) will host South O’Brien next Tuesday once play resumes after the Thanksgiving break.
Le Mars (1-0) travels to play Unity Christian in what Kopperud believe will be an early-season test.
“Honestly when you look at our schedule, not to put down any other teams on our schedule, but Unity’s right there at the top in the discussion as one of the toughest teams on our schedule,” Kopperud said. “They’re going to be really good. They’re experienced. Unity’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
Le Mars: (Points) M. Dreckman 19, Haage 9, K. Dreckman 7, J. Dreckman 7, Ellis 6, Temple 5, Schiff 5, Van Otterloo 2, Leusink 2, Buss 2, Heimgartner 2;
Hinton: (Points) Anna Coffee 10, Badar 5, Webb 3, Vondrak 2, Weiland 2, George 2