BLANCHARD — Montabella’s girls basketball team got a win, and that’s all coach Terry Larsen really cared about.
“We’re always happy with a win,” he said.
His Mustangs outlasted a late charge by the Chippewa Hills Warriors for a 53-42 win Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.
The first quarter was fairly uneventful, as Montabella got out to a 12-9 lead after the first eight minutes.
Larsen called it a feeling-out process, while Chippewa Hills coach Doug VanSyckle called it a case of nerves.
“We had a little bit of an adrenaline rush in the first half,” he said. “We played a little out of control at times, and that’s to be expected for the first game away from home.”
However the Mustangs got on a 16-4 run over the first 4:13 of the second quarter, led by 11 points from Sarah Miller.
“Most of that was as soon as we secured the rebound we took off. All five girls took off,” Larsen said. “That’s what we have to do with our shortness.”
At the half Montabella led 33-17.
The Warriors cut two points off the lead in the third quarter, but shaved the lead to five in the fourth quarter by going on an 8-0 run over the first 2:53 of the frame.
“Their (Chippewa Hills’) 1-3-1 zone (defense),” Larsen said. “I don’t know why we struggled against it but we did. We kept looking for somebody to make a play and nobody would made a play.”
“In the second half we played much better,” VanSyckle said. “We put some pressure on them (Montabella), we got some defensive stops, which we needed, and we finally made some shots.”
Larsen called time out to plan against the defense.
“What we did right there was we were waiting for them (Chippewa Hills) to foul us and they weren’t,” Larsen said. “They were playing good defense. So what we had to do in return was attack and play good defense and we did that.”
After the timeout Montabella went on an 8-2 run until there was 1:18 left in the game to reclaim the double-digit lead.
Only five players scored for each team. Montabella got 20 from Miller, 12 from Taylor Smith and 10 from Gabby Larson.
Hannah Guy had 20 for the Warriors and Kendall Boone added another 10.
“Terry’s got a good team at Montabella and he will win some games and hopefully we will too,” VanSyckle said.
The Mustangs will host Ashley in the first Mid-State Activities Conference game Friday.
Montabella 53, Chippewa Hills 42
Chippewa Hills 9 8 10 15 — 42
Montabella 12 21 8 12 — 53
CHIPPEWA HILLS (0-1) – Wolfe 1 0-1 2, Starck 1 1-2 3, Boone 5 0-0 10, Denslow 3 0-0 7, Guy 9 1-3 20. Totals: 19 2-6 42. Three-point goals: Denslow, Guy. Total fouls: 18. Fouled out: none.
MONTABELLA (1-0) – Daws 2 0-3 5, Smith 3 6-8 12, Larson 4 1-4 10, Ball 2 2-2 6, Miller 5 7-10 20. Totals: 16 16-27 53. Three-point goals: Daws, Larson, Miller 3. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: none.