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Despite leading by only two points at halftime of Tuesday's 52-33 win over Enderlin in the first round of the Barnes County Tournament, Maple Valley coach Jeff Miller knew his team was on the verge of opening the game up.
It was just a matter of getting the knockout blow, so to speak.
"There were a couple of times in the second quarter where you could feel they were kind of on the ropes," Miller said. "We had a five or six point lead and then we'd turn the ball over a couple of times and they'd be right back in it.
So in the third quarter, Miller simply wanted to stop the turnovers and instead get the points.
"You can tell when a team's spirit gets broken and that's what we were going for," he said. "(We needed to) keep being aggressive."
Suffice to say, the Raiders stayed aggressive and allowed only 11 more points the rest of the game, including four in the third quarter.
But early in the game, it was close.
Rylee Nudell and Cassie Pautz got Maple Valley off to a 7-2 lead early, but Enderlin got key shots from Kaylee Johnson, Hayleigh Lautt and Krista Thielges to constantly comeback.
The Eagles narrowed the lead to 15-14 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was similar. Pautz and Nudell got the Raiders up, but the Eagles would work their 2-3 zone and narrow the lead back down.
Enderlin had four points in the final 45 seconds of the half to make it 24-22 going into halftime.
"That first half wasn't the greatest (defense)," Pautz said. "We weren't really into it. We came out kind of easy and picked it up in the end."
But the second half Maple Valley came out, tightened it up and allowed only four points in the third quarter, all from Lautt.
By the time Lautt made the first shot of the quarter with 5 minutes left, it narrowed the lead to 30-24.
By the end of the quarter, Maple Valley was up 40-26 and the Eagles never got closer than 13 points the rest of the game.
Pautz and Nudell led Maple Valley with 18 points each.
Nudell had 10 points from the field and also went 8-9 at the free throw line. Pautz continued her recent trend of timely shooting and finished with four 3-pointers, three in the first half, two two-point shots and went 2-3 at the line.
Guard Abbie Tinjum finished with nine points.
Lautt led Enderlin with 10 points.
Northern Cass 60, FSHP 29
Northern Cass used an aggressive defensive effort to breeze by Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page.
The Jaguars allowed only three points in the first quarter, all from Madison Koenig, and held a 17-3 going into the second quarter.
Though the Spartans' scoring was less sparse the rest of the way, Nothern Cass held a 30-12 lead by halftime en route to the 31-point win.
The Jaguars were led in scoring by Carley Ward, who had 17, Whitney Ward with 13 and Lexi Zieske with 12.
Kochig led FSHP with 10 points.