The No. 11 (Class 3A) Bulldogs, who have only three upperclassmen on their entire roster, were even without 6-foot-4 sophomore standout Katelyn Seely. Still, they didn’t miss a beat behind the 10th-grade combo of Kirsten Lipps and Natalie Hackbarth.
“I haven’t seen a team like that in a while,” said SEHS head coach Scott Messerly. “Our girls played hard, but they were just overmatched. Algona is very, very good.”
The Gaels (5-3 overall, 4-3 in the North Central Conference) stuggled to score, thanks in large part to a pesky and relentless Bulldog (8-0, 6-0) defense.
In the first half, the Gaels shot just 5-for-24 and turned the ball over 10 times, with only two players scoring. Nine of those points were from senior guard Nikki Huss.
Huss, who came into the game averging just under 10 points a game, was the only Gael in double figures, as she tallied 16 points on the evening.
“Nikki had another good offensive night. We ask a lot out of her night in and night out and she’s been responding,” said Messerly.
The Bulldogs saw only two players score as well before half — sophomore stars Hackbarth and Lipps — as the duo scored 12 and seven points, respectively, to give the Bulldogs a 21-11 advantage heading into the locker room.
Hackbarth, who came in averaging 8.6 points a game, ended the night with 22 points. Lipps, a dual threat who can score inside and out, led all scorers with a career-high 30.
“Lipps had a heck of a night — she can just flat-out score. She seals so well and is a very physical player,” said Messerly. “Hackbarth had one of her best nights against us and is a very good young player as well.”
The Bulldogs’ second leading scorer at 15.4 points a game, freshman guard Laura TerHark, hit an incredible 16 three-pointers in a two-game span last week. She was held to only four points thanks to the strong defense of Liz Crimmins and Allie Bianchi, but Lipps and Hackbarth more than made up for TerHark’s off night.
“Liz did a great job on (TerHark). She hit eight threes the other night and is a good ball player, but we shut her down. Allie Bianchi did a nice job on her too and played well overall,” said Messerly.
Crimmins ended the night with five steals and Bianchi snatched a team-high nine rebounds.
Lipps, the gifted 5-11 youngster, connected on her last seven shots, including two threes.
The Gales saw eight players score in the second half, inculding reserves Rachel Coppinger, Megan Geitz, Hannah Gonnerman, and Katelyn Barrett.
Coppinger hit back to back threes in the second quarter which sparked the Gaels for a bit, and Geitz and Barrett both finished traditional three-point plays before the final buzzer.
The Gaels are next in action this Friday, as they play host to Clarion-Goldfield.
Contact Eric Niesen at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at email@example.com
Fact BoxAlgona 61, St. Edmond 42
Algona —Emillie Kenne1-3 0-0 2, Laura Terhark 2-6 0-1 4, Natalie Hackbarth 9-16 3-5 22, Rachael Nelson 0-0 0-2 0, Kirsten Lipps 11-17 5-6 30, Darcy Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Brittany Thilges 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 24-45 8-14 61.
St. Edmond — Jade Condon 0-5 1-2 1, Alison Nagel 3-10 3-4 16, Nikki Huss 6-13 2-2 16, Liz Crimmins 1-6 0-2 2, EmilyBecker 0-4 0-0 0, Rachel Coppinger 2-3 0-0 6, Allie Bianchi 0-1 0-0 0, Hanna Gonnerman 1-1 0-0 2, Megan Geitz 1-1 1-1 3, Kaitlyn Barrett 1-1 1-2 3, Shayla Bradley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-46 8-13 42.
Quarter scores: Algona led 9-4, 21-11, 41-22. Three-point goals: Algona 4-12 (Lipps 2, Hackbarth, Thilges); St. Edmond 4-11 (Huss 2, Coppinger 2).