Newly ranked Royals run past Lady Blackhawks

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Above, MMCRU’s Jaylen Bork sends the ball off the glass as a Hinton defender tries to reach in.
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil)

MARCUS — The MMCRU girls basketball team jumped into the latest rankings at No. 15 in Class 1A and their first game at the spot featured the Royals claiming a 55-24 win over Hinton on Friday, February 1. MMCRU Head Coach Gillian Letsche said it’s a nice goal to check off the team’s list.

“I think anybody who can be ranked, it’s just a fun feeling,” Letsche said. “These girls have been working their butts off. From day one they’ve been excited, they’ve had goals and they’re setting them. I’m over the moon excited for how hard they’ve worked and how far they’ve come so far. We’ve had high expectations for ourselves and for the most part we’ve lived up to them.”

MMCRU failed to score in the first two minutes, but ended the quarter on a 19-4 run to take control of the game. The team kept the offense rolling into the second with a 10-0 run to begin the frame which saw Taylor Harpenau and Madison Treinen each hit threes from the left corner, Emily Dreckman cash in on a breakaway layup and Jaylen Bork score underneath on an assist from Faith Olson. The list of names in that stretch was indicative of the rest of the game as nine players scored in the contest, led by Ellie Hilbrands with 13 and Harpenau with 11.

Holding Hinton scoreless in that stretch was part of the team’s focus on defense in the contest.

“We wanted to make sure we worked on our defense,” Letsche said. “We knew that they were scrappy and tough. Scoring-wise they might not have been the strongest, but we wanted to improve on our defense no matter what.”

Hinton finally scored again with 3:14 before halftime as McKenna Weiland got her only points of the day on a 3-pointer from the right wing. Weiland led the Blackhawks with five rebounds and matched Taylor Reuter for most assists with two. Bella Badar led Hinton with 14 points as she knocked down a pair of 3-pointers while also going 8-of-11 at the charity stripe.

Hinton Head Coach Matt Leary said his team needs to focus on cutting down the number of turnovers they have.

MMCRU continued to build their lead in the second half with the team reaching the 35-point differential with 6:15 left in the game as Harpenau threw a pass ahead to Bork on a breakaway to conclude an eight point performance for Bork.

MMCRU (15-4) was finally able to string together four straight wins after their previous three attempts fell short. The Royals will travel to play South O’Brien on Monday, February 4, in a rematch of a 73-67 overtime win for MMCRU the last time around. It’s the first of three games on the week for the team including the postseason opener on Thursday when they host Trinity Christian.

“The ultimate goal for every team is state,” Letsche said. “That is one of our goals. We’ve got a tough road ahead. I think we’re excited for the challenge.”