Comets blow by Woodchucks
ROLETTE – Following a 17-day layoff, Rolette-Wolford girls basketball coach Jill Murtaugh was concerned about how her team would respond Tuesday against visiting St. John.
It’s safe to say the concern was greatly diminished as the Comets rolled to a 65-24 District 8 win over the Woodchucks.
Sophomore forward Lexy Wittmayer led the host team with a game-high 15 points followed by fellow six-footer senior Rae Beaver’s 13.
“We talked a lot about setting the tone tonight,” Murtaugh said. “We haven’t played since Dec. 20 and then we had one canceled against Rolla and I was worried about legs. It showed. I thought we missed some shots that we normally have hit, but overall I thought it was a good team effort.”
R-W (4-1 overall, 1-0 district) raced out to a 19-5 lead through the first quarter as Beaver scored eight points and proved too strong in the post. The second quarter shifted to Wittmayer, who scored eight points in the frame and the Woodchucks struggled to find any offensive rhythm. St. John scored just 10 points in the first half.
“We worked as a team really good, especially on defense,” Wittmayer said. “I thought we were coming back strong from our break. Just the little things we keyed on helped us win.”
The little things included taking care of the basketball and making sure the talented post players received their touches on nearly every possession. The early success down low opened opportunities for the R-W perimeter players in the second half. Junior guard Delaney Selvig scored six of her 10 points in the third quarter and senior guard Callie Brorby also finished with 10 points.
Murtaugh described the two 6-footers as the team’s “workhorses,” and was pleased to see the other players contribute once the post play was established.
“We’re gonna go as far as they go,” Murtaugh said, “but we have a lot of other girls. A lot of teams are gonna key on those two. We have a lot of other athletic girls like Callie Brorby, who are gonna look to score.”
Senior guard Alyssa Graber (Wolford) was a key defensive player against the Woodchucks. Graber stayed active on both ends of the floor and helped keep St. John’s guards from being comfortable on the dribble.
“We just tried to play our hardest and go out there and be aggressive,” Graber said.
Murtaugh added that the same get-after-it mentality is pivotal in her team’s ability to win with a short bench.
“We’ve talked about our numbers are not big, so one thing we’re not gonna do is we’re not gonna lose a game by not being in shape,” she said. “So we work a lot in practice on moving full court constantly, whether it’s defense or offense, and we hope come a big game when the season rolls on with district play that’s gonna separate us from some other teams looking to run four quarters compared to just one half.”
The Comets played at Bottineau on Friday and return home to face Glenburn on Monday.
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