HOLDREGE — Minden’s girls passed their first test, with only a few check marks.
The Whippets, who have seen running clock in seven of their first eight games, had to crank up their offense and defense to beat Holdrege 65-50 Saturday night in the championship of the Holdrege Holiday Tournament.
“This is our first game we had to play four quarters and we found some things we definitely need to work on,” Minden coach Rick Chramosta said. “We’re going to go back and to work and try to get better on post defense, maybe get a little more patient on offense and make that extra pass. A game like this shows you your weaknesses and what you can work on.”
Pressure defense probably got an ‘A.’ Minden pressured the Dusters into committing 11 turnovers in the second quarter, turning a 15-13 lead into a 30-20 halftime advantage. The bulge grew to 45-29 by the end of the third quarter.
“Our defense was good those two quarters, and that’s how we make hay, if we play good defense,” Chramosta said.
Holdrege coach B.J. Blase said the Dusters did encounter some nervous mistakes in the middle part of the game while suffering their first loss of the year.
“I thought we had some uncharacteristic turnovers. We had some new girls who have never been in a game like that before, and I think they were kind of nervous,” he said.
Minden took twice as many shots as the Dusters in the second quarter, and made more than twice as many. In the second half, the Whippets improved tier shooting percentage, making 13 of 23 field goals to finish just a shade under 50 percent for the game.
Brooke Kissinger netted 20 points and her twin sister Jamie added 16. Jenna Denney came off the bench to add 10 points. Jamie Kissinger completed a double-double with 10 rebounds.
“Jamie’s just solid. Jamie gets every loose-ball rebound on the court. Every rebound that hits the floor, Jamie gets it,” Chramosta said. “She does it all. She leads us in assists, in rebounds, in free-throw percentage. She does it all.”
One thing the Whippets didn’t do that has been their trademark, was make 3-pointers.
“They did a good job defending the three. They weren’t going to let us stand out there and shoot them,” Chramosta said.
Committing fouls accounted for another check mark for the Whippets. Jamie and Taylor Kissinger and Rebecca Stewart each had two fouls in the first quarter. Stewart, Taylor Kissinger and Emily Malcom finished the game with four fouls.
Denney scored all her points in the first and fourth quarters.
“We battled fouls the whole game. Those kids who came off the bench did a good job for us,” Chramosta said.
Holdrege didn’t take advantage, however, making 9 of its 19 free throws, and that included a 5-of-7 performance in the fourth quarter.
Holdrege post player Rachel Jelden scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds, to spark the Dusters’ second-half rally. Point guard Jenna Gillespie added 10 points and led the team with seven rebounds.
But the Dusters couldn’t erase the deficit from the second quarter.
“If we don’t turn the ball over there, it’s tight the whole game. We had a chance to cut it to seven there with three minutes left in the fourth quarter after going through all that adversity,” Blase said. “Once we got settled down and got it into Rachel in the post ... we did some good things.”
He also hopes his team will take a lot of positives from the game.
“Every mistake is fixable, so that’s the good part,” he said. “And there’s not many teams that have a point guard like that, have a shooting guard like that and have a freshman that’s 6-1 and can handle it like that. ... It’s going to make us better no matter what.”
MINDEN (9-0): Ali Rowse 0-0 0-0 0, Brooke Kissinger 7-14 5-7 20, Taylor Kissinger 4-10 0-0 9, Jamie Kissinger 4-9 6-6 16, Rebecca Stewart 4-8 0-1 8, Addi Woodward 0-1 0-0 0, Jenna Denney 5-7 0-0 10, Emily Malcom 1-2 0-1 2. Total 25-51 11-15 65.
HOLDREGE (7-1): Jenna Gillespie 3-6 4-5 10, Jamie Isaacson 3-7 1-4 7, Julianna Burr 1-1 0-1 2, Haley Schroeder 1-6 1-2 3, Rachel Jelden 7-13 3-5 19, Kimberly Jurado 0-1 0-0 0, Paige Andrijeski 0-2 0-0 0, Celeena Holt 2-3 0-0 5, Ashley Alber 2-3 0-2 4. Total 19-42 9-19 50.
MINDEN ............................... 15 15 15 15 — 60
HOLDREGE ......................... 13 7 9 21 — 50
3-point goals — MHS 4-12 (J.Kissinger 2-4, B.Kissinger 1-4, T.Kissinger 1-3, Denney 0-1), HHS 3-7 (Jelden 2-3, Holt 1-1, Schroeder 0-2, Gillespie 0-1). Rebounds — MHS 31 (J.Kissinger 10), HHS 33 (Gillespie 7). Total fouls — MHS 18, HHS 13. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — MHS 12, HHS 21. Steals — MHS 11 (T.Kissinger 3), HHS 2 (Burr 2).