Published Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:50 am
BASKETBALL
Vikings down Minden girls to open Northwest Holiday Tournament

McKenzie Brown broke an individual record Thursday, but her teammates were awarded a big assist.

Brown set the Northwest single-game scoring mark by putting up 30 points to lead the Class B preseason No. 7-rated Vikings to a commanding 66-46 win over C-1 No. 1 Minden in the opening round of the Northwest Holiday Tournament.

Brown connected on 10 of 23 shots, including four 3-pointers, to top the previous school record of 29. It had been shared by three players.

“It feels good,” Brown said of owning the record. “We've been working really hard, and my teammates helped me a lot, too.

“They knew if I got the ball, I would make something happen. If not, I would pass it off. It felt really good to break it.”

Northwest coach Mike Herzberg said the Vikings' best team performance of the year helped set up Brown's big night.

“It was a great team effort,” he said. “It was an absolute team effort from the bench. We had a lot of subs who stepped in and played very, very well, and McKenzie had a great night.

“That shows how valuable teammates are. We have teammates who can do things, and that opens things up for McKenzie. For her to have 30 today against a quality opponent is a great reward for her hard work, but it's also a tribute to her teammates and how good they are.”

Brown started out by hitting three of her first four shots, including a pair of treys. Her nine points helped the Vikings exit the first quarter with a 19-12 lead.

She was 0-for-3 from the floor in the second but did hit five free throws as the Vikings (6-1) took a 35-29 lead into halftime.

Brown made her first three shots in the third, while Minden (8-1) found the scoring hard to come by.

Things really started to fall apart for the Whippets late in the third, when Northwest started a 13-0 run to expand its seven-point lead.

Minden went 6-for-31 (19.4 percent) from the floor in the second half. Brooke Kissinger, who had a team-high 24 points, missed her final eight shots. Twin sister Jamie Kissinger missed her last nine shots and struggled to a 2-for-18 game while scoring nine points.

“I think we got a little tired in the second half,” Minden coach Rick Chramosta said. “Fatigue sets in a little bit faster when you're not playing good.

“When things are going good, fatigue is not a problem. But it starts to wear on you when you're struggling a little bit.”

The Kissingers combined for six 3-pointers in the first half, including four from long-range by Brooke. They only made one after halftime.

“Our No. 1 goal all day was to force them to shoot 2-pointers,” Herzberg said. “They had 12 (3-point) attempts at half, and they were 6-for-12. In the second half, the No. 1 job was to get right in them and force them to drive.

“We were going to give them as many 2-point attempts as possible, and we did that. Then they missed those, and we did a much better job rebounding after they missed.”

Northwest's offense kept clicking along throughout the game. Although Brown did hit four key 3-pointers — Chramosta was shocked that she didn't have about seven made treys — it was drives and getting the ball inside that hurt the Whippets the most.

“We knew they were going to play man, so we had better luck just driving,” Brown said. “We kept driving hoping to get them into foul trouble. In the end, we got one of them in foul trouble (Rebecca Stewart), and it helped when she went out.”

Katie Placke finished with a double-double for the Vikings with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Sophomore Erin Schleicher came off the bench and put up 11 points. She was a big contribution inside for the Vikings, who were playing without senior post Morgan Westphal and saw junior post Kennadi Keezer in foul trouble for much of the game.

“Erin Schleicher was fabulous,” Herzberg said. “We knew Morgan was going to be gone. Kennedi got into foul trouble, which wasn't on our side early in the game. But Erin came in, was positive and gave us rebounds.

“Our guards did a great job of getting her the basketball where she could finish, and she did a nice job for us today. That's got to be a huge confidence builder not only for herself but also for her teammates.”

Chramosta, whose team faces Class B No. 10 Holdrege Friday in a consolation game, left the game impressed with Northwest.

“Defense was the biggest problem for us,” he said. We couldn't slow them down.

“They had a lot of people who contributed. They're a solid basketball team. I'm sure they're one of the top three or four Class B schools in the state.”

Northwest faces Bennington (1-4) in Friday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal.

Minden................12 17 14 3—46
Northwest..........19 16 18 13—66

MINDEN (8-1)

B. Kissinger 9-27 1-2 24, Boudreau 0-1 0-0 0, J. Kissinger 2-18 3-4 9, Stewart 2-6 4-4 8, Stadler 2-2 1-1 5, Woodward 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Madsen 0-0 0-0 0, Rowse 0-1 0-0 0, Denney 0-1 0-0 0, Steen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-56 9-11 46.

NORTHWEST (6-1)

Werner 3-4 3-6 9, Placke 4-5 3-3 12, Sorahan 1-5 0-2 2, Brown 10-23 6-8 30, Keezer 0-1 0-0 0, Phinney 0-0 0-0 0, Rathke 0-0 0-1 0, Springer 0-0 0-0 0, Al. Fisher 0-0 1-2 1, Schleicher 5-9 1-2 11, Beckmann 0-0 0-0 0, Schacher 0-0 0-0 0, Au. Fisher 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 23-48 15-26 66.

3-point field goals—Minden 7-20 (B. Kissinger 5-14, J. Kissinger 2-6), Northwest 5-12 (Placke 1-1, Sorahan 0-2, Brown 4-9). Fouled out—Stewart. Rebounds—Minden 34 (J. Kissinger 13), Northwest 41 (Placke 12). Assists—Minden 9 (J. Kissinger 4), Northwest 10 (Placke, Brown 3). Turnovers—Minden 13, Northwest 11. Total fouls—Minden 16, Northwest 14. Technicals—none.

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