On their own home basketball court, the breaks should go to the Brainerd Warriors.
A lucky bounce here, a missed call by an official there. Tie goes to the runner, right?
But, in a pivotal Central Lakes Conference girls' basketball game against the Sartell Sabres Tuesday, the home-court breaks just weren't falling for the home team as Brainerd fell 48-42 to the Sabres.
There was no bigger break the Warriors needed than when down 42-39 and Breanna Olson's 3-pointer from the top of the key was waived off for traveling. Or, when trailing 45-42, Maria Swanson's two-foot lay-in bounced around the rim and out. Put simply, it just wasn't the Warriors' night.
"We weren't making any of our own breaks," Warriors coach Carl Hendrickson said. "A call here or a call there, you're always going to have that in a game. But, when you hit a big three to tie it and you don't get it, that can be a big turnaround."
Brainerd shot out to an 18-10 lead after the first quarter, largely due to an intense, full-court defense that forced the Sabres into turnovers.
"We got off to a good start," Hendrickson said. "We hit some shots that went down and got some easy baskets. But we didn't play the defensive end very well. (Sartell) made some nice adjustments and we didn't cover up as well as we have in the past."
The key: The Warriors were outscored 13-7 in the decisive final quarter.
Next: at Willmar, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Those adjustments led to Sartell outscoring the Warriors in the following three periods, slowly chipping away at Brainerd's lead, overtaking it for good early in the fourth at 39-37.
Sartell used a potent inside-outside game to derail the Warriors. When forward Stacie Oistad wasn't knocking down jump shots, center Michelle Cheney was punishing the middle of Brainerd's defense. Oistad scored a game-high 16 points while Cheney had 14.
"(Sartell) has had an inside-outside game all year long," said Hendrickson. "Oistad is a lot like (Megan) Arns where she does a little bit of everything. When she wasn't scoring, the big girl inside was catching the ball or getting a rebound and sticking it in. That kind of combination hurts you."
One of the lone bright spots for the Warriors was the play of Arns. She scored 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor and was 5-6 from the free throw line. She also added 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Teammate Maria Swanson added 11 points.
"We can't ask any more of Megan Arns," said Hendrickson. "She does everything for us. (Tuesday) she was more active on offense than we've seen her the last month. She can do it all but yet we can't expect her to do it all.
"We have to have others help out. We need to have everybody contribute and we didn't get that like we have in the past."
Sartell 10 15 10 13 -- 48
Brainerd 18 8 9 7 -- 42
Stacie Oistad 16, Angela Ahrendt 4, Michelle Cheney 14, Megan Johnson 10, Brittani Locke 2, Michaela Perske 2. Team totals: FG 21-45 (46.7 percent), FT 5-8 (62.5 percent). 3-point baskets: 1 (Oistad). Conference -- 5-4. Overall -- 6-8.
Megan Arns 15, Maria Swanson 11, Breanna Olson 2, Erica Nelson 6, Haley Bower 0, Cara Wiltse 3, Erika Austin 2, Sarah Gervais 3. Team totals: FG 17-49 (34.7 percent), FT 7-11 (63.6 percent). 3-point baskets: 1 (Gervais). Conference -- 5-4. Overall -- 9-6. Next game: at Willmar 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Rebounds -- S 27, B 24 (Arns 10). Assists -- B 13 (Olson 4, Arns 3, Swanson 3). Steals -- B 7 (Arns 3). Turnovers -- B 18, S 18.
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