Le Mars girls basketball spreads the wealth in win over MOC-FV

Thursday, January 12, 2023
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Le Mars Community’s Zoe Wittkop drives the lane to put up a shot against the MOC-Floyd Valley defense. She was one of four players in double figures for the Bulldogs as she finished with a team-high 16 points.

LE MARS — After being held to a season-low 33 points the previous night against Class 3A top-ranked Estherville-Lincoln Central, Le Mars Community Head Coach Cody Dyhrkopp motivated his team to get right back to work.

“It’s tough being an athlete losing by a lot the night before and then having to lace up the next night,” Dyhrkopp said. “The message before the game was to still have that confidence that we’ve been playing with all year. One game doesn’t define who we are and our girls did a good job of answering the call tonight.”

Junior Zoe Wittkop said the team took the message to heart as they bounced back for a 70-58 win over MOC-Floyd Valley on Tuesday in non-conference action, the third time this season the Bulldogs have scored at least 70 points.

“Dyhrkopp gave us a quote, a long quote, and the moral of the story was learn from our mistakes,” Wittkop said. “We learned from our mistakes yesterday. We had a lot of turnovers. We tried to keep our turnovers to a minimum.”

After turning the ball over 28 times against the Midgets, the Bulldogs nearly cut that in half against MOC-Floyd Valley, giving the ball away 15 times compared to the Lady Dutch turning the ball over 25 times.

Wittkop turned one of those turnovers into points with a steal and layup in the midst of a 9-0 run to break a 7-7 tie in the first quarter. It was part of a team-leading 16 points for Wittkop who also finished second on the team with four steals.

Metta Skov started off the run with a layup and 3-pointer, part of her 14 points in the game, as she led the team with five rebounds. Lexi Hurd capped off the run with a bucket down low as she just missed out on being the fifth player to finish in double digits in the win, finishing with eight points.

“Going from playing Estherville to tonight, we were a lot more settled in. Estherville did a good job of making us go way faster than we wanted to go,” Dyhrkopp said. “You go into a game like tonight, things slowed down for us a little bit, we were able to share the ball really well, get to the middle of the lane, kick out to wide open girls on the perimeter and it’s a little easier to knock down your shot like that.”

The Bulldogs did make knocking down their shots look fairly easy, connecting on 49 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from 3-point range where they finished with 10 triples.

Le Mars has now made 82 shots from beyond the arc this season and their 7.5 makes per game this season is within the top 10 in the state among all classes this season.

Five different players made at least one shot from 3-point range in the win as Wittkop said everyone on the team was looking for the open player to get the best looks from the perimeter.

“We were just knocking them down tonight,” Wittkop said. “We would try to drive and penetrate and then the defender would come towards us and we’d kick it out for a wide-open three for our teammates. I think we played together. We’d always make that one extra pass if we needed to and then we’d get the open person a shot.”

Madi Huls started off the game with a triple, knocked down back-to-back treys early in the second quarter and added one more before halftime as she finished with 14 points in the game while leading the team with five steals.

The Bulldogs as a team mirrored the output of Huls with a stronger first half than second half as she added her final two points at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Le Mars followed up their 25 point second quarter with a 12 point third quarter and ended up being outscored 38-29 in the second half.

“I know we played well offensively tonight, especially in the first half, but I will hang my hat on our defense fuels our offense and when we’re locked in defensively, we’re so much better. That’s why you saw in the first half our shots were falling a lot more,” Dyhrkopp said. “Defensively in the second half we kind of took our foot off the gas a little bit and that made things harder for us on the offensive end. We’ve just got to be consistent for four quarters defensively and that will help our offense out.”

After making eight 3-pointers in the first half, Le Mars added two in the second half. Sarah Brown got her second of the night as she was one of the four players who finished in double digits, ending with 13 points while leading the team with five assists. Jaelyn Marienau, who had the team’s other five points, sank her 3-pointer late in the third quarter as she added three assists and three steals off the bench.

MOC-Floyd Valley also had four players finish in double figures as Lili Fleming and Adyson Jeltema scored 13 points apiece. Madison Pottebaum and Amanda Hulstein ended with 10 points each. Maya Immeker and Elin Van Der Werff rounded out the scoring with six points apiece.

Le Mars improved to 7-4 with the win. MOC-Floyd Valley dropped their third straight out of the winter break, falling to 4-6 with the loss.

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