No. 4 RSM girls advance past George-Little Rock

Friday, February 17, 2023
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) RSM’s Carmindee Ricke gets a fast-break layup around George-Little Rock’s Kami Gerken in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal contest. Ricke led the Hawks with 16 points and five rebounds. She added six steals which was second on the team.

REMSEN — The Class 1A No. 4 ranked Remsen St. Mary’s girls basketball team had to shake off a few cobwebs after having a week between their last regular season game and their first regional contest, but were able to pull away for a 57-32 win over George-Little Rock in a quarterfinal round contest Tuesday.

“I’m really happy with how we played and the win tonight. I think it sets us up good going into the next game. We had a week off and I think now we’re very focused and determined to play,” RSM Head Coach Scott Willman said.

Wyleigh Steenhoven opened the game with a 3-pointer for the Mustangs before Remsen St. Mary’s went on a 9-0 run.

George-Little Rock countered by getting a bucket from Lindsey Haken to end the run as she ended as their top scorer and rebounder with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Steenhoven added another 3-pointer and a pair of free throws as she ended with 10 points. Eight of those came in the opening quarter and she had one of just two baskets for the Mustangs in the second quarter.

Once the Hawks identified Steenhoven, they were able to shut her down for the rest of the game.

“We were able to take our defense and move it from the full court game into the half court game and really eliminate their shots. When they did hit some things, we tried to take it away. They hit two shots early, but then we were able to close out on her after that,” Willman said.

The Hawks led 13-10 after a quarter and had to watch out for the Mustangs getting a road win over a second War Eagle Conference opponent in regional play after they knocked off Gehlen Catholic 60-44 in an opening round game.

“It was a tough battle, but we came out of it. I think a little bit was nerves and then we just came out of our nerves and started playing our basketball and it worked,” RSM junior Carmindee Ricke said. “We knew we had to close out on shooters and couldn’t get beat and then we just had to lock down our defense and once we started doing that, it just started working for us.”

The defense clamped down and the offense began to pick up steam as the Hawks scored the first 16 points of the second quarter and ended up outscoring the Mustangs 17-4 in the frame.

“We really set the tone with our press,” Willman said. “I think Carmindee Ricke played an exceptional game tonight. She was able to play the passing lanes, break down her girl and then when the ball was in her hand, she was able to make good choices on offense and just shooting well.”

Ricke ended as the team’s top scorer and rebounder with 16 points and five boards in the game. She also had six steals which was second on the team.

Ricke did make one 3-pointer in the game, but a lot of her points came in fast-break opportunities. She had a layup to get the scoring started in the second quarter.

“My teammates passed me the ball and just getting down the court and beating them,” Ricke said was the key to her scoring success.

The big second quarter also included a pair of 3-pointers from Gracyn Schroeder and three made shots from Claire Schroeder. They finished with six and eight points, respectively.

Mya Bunkers was held to just three free throws in the first half, but ended up second on the team in scoring with 15 points. Her second half included a pair of 3-pointers and a trio of two point buckets. Bunkers led the way with seven assists.

Whitney Jensen had an off night shooting but was key in other areas. She led the team with eight steals and added five assists and four rebounds. She did end with six points, but on just a 2-of-10 shooting performance from the field including missing all five attempts from the perimeter.

It was part of an overall below average shooting game from the team which was below its nearly 43 percent success rate from the field this season. Remsen St. Mary’s actually shot for a worse percentage than the Mustangs in the game — 37 to 39 percent overall and 21 to 44 percent from 3-point range — but forcing 29 turnovers gave the Hawks plenty more shot opportunities as they took over twice as many in the game.

“We didn’t shoot particularly well, give credit to George-Little Rock, they played scrappy defense, but again I think we did too,” Willman said.

George-Little Rock finishes the season with a 5-17 record.

Remsen St. Mary’s (21-1) will host Kingsley-Pierson (18-4) in Friday’s regional semifinal round.

The two teams met earlier this season, a 52-43 win for the Hawks.

Willman explained what it will take to be successful against the Panthers, who will enter the contest on a 10 game winning streak.

“We know Doeschot’s a really good player. They’ve got four seniors that start beside her, so there’s some experience there. We’re going to need to make sure we limit Doeschot and then make sure we do our best to take away their shooters,” Willman said.

For Ricke, it’s a simple game plan to try to extend their winning streak to 14 games and reach the regional final.

“A lot of hard work, a lot of hustle, good defense and we’ve just got to play our game,” Ricke said.

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