The Minneapolis Lady Lions basketball team made just enough plays down the stretch on offense and held Ellsworth in check on defense, to come away with a 45-37 road win.
The Lady Lions, behind the hot shooting of both Zoie Shupe and Kersti Nelson would lead from nearly wire-to-wire on Tuesday night at Ellsworth High School. While Minneapolis held the lead all game, the Lady Bearcats kept it close until the final buzzer.
Shupe led Minneapolis early on as the Lions’ senior would score inside and out in the first quarter, on her way to a 10 point period. Nelson would also tally in the some big buckets in the effort.
However, Ellsworth’s Lakyn Tenbrink countered the Minneapolis scores with buckets of her own, as the six-foot post player hit a 3-pointer in the period. Still, Minneapolis held the lead in to the second quarter, 16-11.
The Lions and Bearcats would trade blows in the second quarter, as Ellsworth would actually gain the lead at two different junctures in the period behind the inside play of Tenbrink.
Still, Shupe and Nelson paced the Lady Lions to take the 26-23 halftime advantage.
Minneapolis finally created some separation in the third quarter, as both Nelson and now down low, Courtney Forte, heated up. Nelson made two big 3s in the period, while Forte kept the Ellsworth defense confused by her post play on the interior.
Ellsworth (4-12, 1-8 NCAA) cooled off in the second half, scoring just 14 points in the half. Tenbrink scored 15 points on Tuesday night to lead the Lady Bearcats, however, two of those just came in the second half.
Minneapolis (5-11, 2-6 NCAA) never fully put the ‘Cats away until late in the fourth quarter as the Lions relied on its defense to closeout its third-straight win over Ellsworth and complete the season sweep over its league-foe.
Nelson once again led the way with 15 points, Shupe tallied in 12 points, while Forte also scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her second-consecutive double-double.
The Lady Lions travel to Southeast of Saline on Friday.
MINNEAPOLIS BOYS 43, Ellsworth 42
A what was thought to be Ellsworth 3-pointer with under six seconds remaining appeared to send the game in to OT, only to find that the Lions came away with a road win by the skin of their teeth.
Minneapolis held a 43-40 lead with 10 seconds to go and possession of the basketball in the back court. The Lions needed to just hang on to the ball and make at least one free-throw to win the game.
However, MHS turned the ball over in the back court, allowing Ellsworth’s Braden Schulte to get off a shot around the perimeter with six seconds remaining.
The shot was perfect and went through the net sending the gym in to an uproar. Ellsworth players and fans thought the game had been tied, Minneapolis players and fans all thought the game had been tied as well.
However, the official closest to the play noticed that Schulte’s foot was on the arc as he let go of the shot. While not many on the court appeared to recognized it, the official immediately gestured to show that the shot was just a 2-point basket, meaning the Lions still held a one point lead and the clock continuing to run. During the frenzy, both Ellsworth and Minneapolis had thought that the Bearcats had tied the game up.
An ensuing Minneapolis heave at the buzzer that air-balled felt like both teams were headed for OT, only to find after the buzzer blew that the prior Ellsworth shot had been ruled a 2, not a 3.
Ellsworth (5-11, 3-6 NCAA) trailed virtually the entire game. The Bearcats outscored Minneapolis 14-10 in the final quarter, but came up just one point shy of sending the game in to an extra period. Schulte led the ‘Cats with 13 points, Avery Haxton scored 12, while Try Anderson added in 10 points off of the bench.
Minneapolis (11-5, 5-3 NCAA) had several miscues in the final stanza–including numerous missed free-throws and turnovers–to give the Bearcats hope. However, the Lions, behind Nolan White’s 18 points, did just enough to secure its second-straight win.
Minneapolis next travels to Southeast of Saline on Friday as both Lion teams look for revenge against SES. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on Salina radio station, 92.7 The New Zoo.