MANKATO — The Mankato West girl’s basketball team’s late-season struggles continued Saturday afternoon as Hutchinson dominated the Scarlets 68-47 in a nonconference game at the West gym.
Senior forward Madison Christie fired in a game-high 23 points to pace the swift-moving Tigers, who used a first-half ending 22-6 burst to build a comfortable 36-19 cushion at the break. After four foul shots from sophomore point guard Lexi Schoper pulled the Scarlets within 14-13, Taylor Jurgenson’s transition drive and Erin Corrigan’s three-point play ignited things.
“There’s no doubt we’ve been spinning our wheels the last seven games,” West coach Kristin Krusemark said. “We’re working pretty hard on defense, but offensively we just can’t get anything going. We’re not getting a lot of easy buckets and we’re not knocking down the open shots either.
“It’s hard to get any momentum going when you’re not making shots. We knew they were going to put a lot of pressure on us defensively, but I feel we could have handled it a little better than we did. ... We need to find a way to get going offensively.”
Hutchinson (13-7) wasted little time in putting the contest away in the second half, reeling off 16 of the first 21 points after the Scarlets’ Ashley Ross drained a 15-footer off the left baseline. Christie’s right-side 3-pointer was just the beginning of her second-half onslaught, she tallied 16 points as the Tigers were never threatened despite playing without leading scorer Monroe Julius.
“Monroe is big asset for us, especially rebounding and making things happpen,” Christie said. “We had to all step it up and keep the intensity up. We had a goal to keep them under 25 points in the first half while scoring at least 35 to get oursleves into that comfortable range.
“We came out in the second half with that same intensity and kept giving it everything we had. We knew Lexi was quick and uses a lot of head fake so our focus was on stopping her while guarding everyone else as well.”
Schoper finished with a team-best 19 points, converting 10 of 11 foul shots. Junior guard Sarah Buryska enjoyed a fine all-aroud game for the Scarlets in totaling nine points, six steals and two assists.
“They were quick and physical up and down the court,” Buryska said. “We just didn’t have the speed to keep up with them and they were beating us in transition. Defensively, we tried to put a lot of pressure on them and we were able to get some turnovers. We really need to work on rebounding and working more as a team, knowing each other’s strenghs and weaknesses.”
Hutchinson connected on just 20 of 70 from the field while the Scarlets (6-16) managed to put through only 14 of 64 for 21 percent. The Tigers controlled the boards 55-35 and committed fewer miscues 18-16.
West plays East Tuesday in a game at Minnesota State’s Bresnan Arena. Tip-off is 6 p.m.