With the postseason approaching, the contributions the Brainerd Warriors girls' basketball team receives from its bench may determine how far it advances.
In Tuesday's 44-34 victory over the Rocori Spartans, the Warriors received 12 points and quality minutes from reserves.
Brainerd also rode staunch defense, which limited the Spartans to 20 percent shooting, and another steady effort from point guard Megan Arns, who had 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
Senior Breanna Olson, a starter until sidelined for three games with a stress fracture in her lower back, came off the bench to contribute eight points.
"I just wanted to come back," Olson said. "It's been really hard watching, really frustrating.
"My shots weren't going in the first half, which was frustrating, but the coaches said just keep shooting."
Olson scored six points in the second half, during which Warriors coach Carl Hendrickson cleared his bench as Brainerd seized a 15-point edge.
"We really try to give everybody every opportunity we can," Hendrickson said. "If somebody comes in and is not doing it for us we're looking to go to somebody else. We used 10-11 kids throughout the whole game. We got some spurts from different kids. Alison LeBlanc came in and gave us a nice spurt there when we got (four) baskets in a row. That kind of broke the game open for us."
Warriors 44, Rocori 34
Stifling: The Warriors held the Spartans to 20 percent shooting.
Next: at Sauk Rapids, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Brainerd led 28-26 with 5:38 remaining when it scored eight unanswered points. Arns contributed four and Breanna Olson and Paige Olson each made putbacks to push Brainerd ahead by 10. A six-point spurt later in the quarter cemented the win.
Arns was at her best at crunch time, scoring 13 points in the second half. She finished 5 of 11 from the field and 10 of 14 at the foul line.
"It was Megan's second double-double in a row," Hendrickson said. "She's starting to shoot the ball. When she's not shooting it, she's taking it to the basket and getting fouls.
"Putting her on the free-throw line is a good place for her to be. Ten of 14, you can't ask for more than that."
Hendrickson couldn't ask for more from his defense. It limited Rocori to two points in the opening quarter and 15 percent shooting in the first half. The Spartans made only nine baskets the entire game against zone and man-to-man defenses.
Brainerd restricted Rocori's 6-footer, Kari Schroeder, to six points.
"We were trying to make sure we didn't let them just dump the ball into Schroeder all the time down inside," Hendrickson said. "When she gets it down in there she's really active with it, and she takes it to the glass pretty aggressively.
"They didn't shoot very well from the outside. A lot of times they didn't get good looks to shoot the ball either. You've got to give our defense credit for covering up their people."
Rocori 2 10 12 10 -- 34
Brainerd 8 8 12 16 -- 44
Jenny Krantz 2, Tasha Schlangen 4, Bridget Burtzel 8, Kari Schroeder 6, Sarah Fuchs 4, Shelly Tippett 7, Emily Korman 2, Whitney Klein 1. Team totals: FG 9-45 (20 percent), FT 16-25 (64 percent). 3-point baskets: 0-4. Conference -- 2-10. Overall -- 7-11.
Erica Nelson 3, Maria Swanson 6, Megan Arns 20, Paige Olson 3, Breanna Olson 8, Lindsey Jourdan 2, Sarah Gervais 2. Team totals: FG 15-51 (29 percent), FT 13-20 (65 percent). 3-point baskets: 1-14 (Nelson). Conference -- 7-6. Overall -- 11-8. Next game: at Sauk Rapids 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Rebounds -- B 42 (Arns 15, Swanson 8, B. Olson 5, P. Olson 5), R 24. Turnovers -- B 17, R 17. Assists -- B 10 (Swanson 3). Steals -- B 8 (Arns 3). Blocks -- B 1 (Austin).
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