The Minneapolis Lady Lions completed the season sweep of Ellsworth with a 42-21 win on Tuesday night at Minneapolis High School.
Minneapolis left no doubt as to how the game would go when they raced out of the gates defensively. In Ellsworth’s first five possessions, the Bearcats were unable to get a shot off.
Meanwhile, on offense, the Lady Lions pounded the ball inside early and often as they fed Courtney Forte look after look. Forte would have no problems finishing as shell propelled Minneapolis to a end of first quarter lead, 13-0.
Minneapolis continued to make life miserable for the Bearcats as Ellsworth continued in to the second quarter without a single point. On the other end, Forte continued to pound away at the Ellsworth zone defense, as she tallied her way to 14 points in the first half.
The young Ellsworth Lady Bearcats were unable to hand Minneapolis’ on-ball pressure defense all night, as they were held to without a field goal in the first half. The Lady Lions actually started the game on a 26-0 run before Ellsworth finally got on the board with a pair of free-throws.
Minneapolis led at the break, 30-2.
Minneapolis would take a 38-7 lead in to the final quarter, before both teams emptied their benches in the final stanza, which was a running clock.
Ellsworth (3-11, 1-5 NCAA) was forced to over 20 turnovers on the night. No Bearcat landed in double-figures, though, Natalie Rolfs finished with eight points to lead Ellsworth in the loss.
Minneapolis (8-8, 4-2 NCAA) sweeps the season series with Ellsworth for the second straight season. The Lady Lions have won six of their last eight games. Cameron Cleveland had another big game for Minneapolis, finishing with 12 points on Tuesday.
The Nex-Tech Wireless “Player of the Game,’ though, was Forte who scored all of her 14 points in the first half, but reeled in another double-double. Shelby Davidson won the H&R “Block of the Game.”
Minneapolis will entertain Southeast of Saline on Friday night.
MINNEAPOLIS BOYS 54, Ellsworth 41
Minneapolis overcomes being in quarantine leading up to Tuesday night’s game and a slow start, to win its 10th game of the year.
After no player being allowed to touch a basketball for five-straight days, Minneapolis showed quite a bit of rust in the first quarter, as the Lions missed several close shots at the bucket to start. While Ellsworth was not much more efficient offensively, the Bearcats still led 10-8 after one.
Spencer Davidson got going in the second quarter, however. Coming in as the Lions’ top scorer at 16 ppg, he was held scoreless in the opening period. Davidson, though, became more involved in the offense as the senior found his way to the foul line twice in the period. He also hit some big buckets to tally seven points in the quarter to help Minneapolis take a 20-16 lead at halftime.
It was all Minneapolis in the third quarter, as the Lions finished the period on a 14-0 run and outscored Ellsworth 20-6 in the third. Nolan White heated up in a big way in the stanza, as he rained in two 3-pointers and 12 points alone in the third. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis defense made life difficult for Ellsworth offensively, as the Bearcats had 10 turnovers in the third quarter.
After three, Minneapolis had stretched the lead to 40-22.
Ellsworth (8-4, 2-3 NCAA) made a serious rally and at one point, got the game to within seven points with under two minutes remaining. However, the Bearcats continued to struggle offensively with turnovers and never got any closer. Avery Haxton led all scorers for the game with 22 points.
Minneapolis (10-4, 3-1 NCAA) remains alive for a North Central Activities Association league title. The Lions are now knotted with Sacred Heart for first place and have a date with third place team, Southeast of Saline, on Friday.
Davidson notched a double-double yet again for Minneapolis, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds on Tuesday. Trent Moeckel made some big free-throws down the stretch and tallied in 10 points in the win.
The Nex-Tech Wireless “Player of the Game” is White, who finished with another 20 point performance, his fifth on the year. The Lion senior is averaging close to 20 ppg in his last nine games.
Meanwhile, Ryker Nelson wins the H&R “Block of the Game.”
Up next for both Minneapolis teams, it’s a huge rivalry night as they host Southeast of Saline. League title implications are on the line in both girls and boys games on Friday, with pregame beginning at 5:45 p.m. and tip-off at 6 on 92.7 The New Zoo.