Minneapolis Lions cut a 19-point second half deficit down to eight with 2:30 left to go, but the Goessel Bluebirds would hold on to the win, 56-44.
This match was the first round of the 51st Annual Eli J. Walter Girls Basketball Tournament held at Berean Academy. Minneapolis came into the tournament as the 6-seed, while Goessel were the 3-seed.
Sophomore Kersti Nelson started the scoring off, hitting a three one minute into the game. The Bluebirds would, then, go on a 9-0 run over the next five minutes. Senior Faythe Korinek hit a bucket to stop the run and Minneapolis trailed Goessel, 9-5, after one.
Goessel forced 18 Minneapolis turnovers in the first half. The Bluebirds took advantage of the turnovers to outscore the Lions 19-9 in the second quarter to take a 28-14 lead into the half.
Minneapolis opened up the second half on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to eight, 28-20, but Goessel would answer back with an 11-2 run to extend the score to 39-22 in the third. The Lions closed the gap before the fourth with a 7-2 run, including three free throws with no time left on the clock from Junior Karisma Vignery. Bluebirds were up, 41-29, to start the fourth.
Korinek, who received the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, had 17 of her team-high 19 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth, to lead the charge for Minneapolis. But the Bluebirds answered late to hold on.
Along with Korinek’s 19, Nelson had 10 points for Minneapolis. Vignery knocked in nine and Senior Courtney Walker had four.
Goessel was led by Senior Eden Hiebert, who dropped 25 points. Senior Brittney Hiebert scored 12, while Junior Stephany Meyer and Senior Abby Hannon added six and five, respectively.
Minneapolis is now 3-9 on the season and moves to the consolation side of the bracket on Thursday at 7:30 pm.