ST. CLOUD -- Stomping a team by 25 points in the regular season can lead to complacency in the rematch.
The Albany Huskies girls' basketball team, which beat Pierz 69-44 on Dec. 9, lacked urgency in the first half of the Section 6, Class 2A championship game Friday against the Pioneers at Halenbeck Hall.
In the second half the Huskies put the pedal to the medal, outscoring Pierz 42-9 on their way to a 62-30 victory. Pierz went nearly 10 minutes in the second half without a point.
With 5:12 left in the third the game was tied 26-26. Albany submerged the Pioneers by scoring 23 unanswered points.
The Huskies rattled off 15 straight points to end the third with a 41-26 edge.
In the fourth, the Huskies scored the first eight points before Pierz's Emily Stumpf made a layup with 3:30 to play. Albany scored the next 13 points before the Pioneers' Kaitlyn Jensen tallied at the buzzer.
Thirty-five turnovers unraveled Pierz. Many were unforced errors, others were against Albany's half-court trap. The Huskies scored 33 points off Pierz turnovers.
Pioneers coach Rick Sczublewski attributed the turnovers to Albany's quickness.
"Our passes sometimes were a little soft," he said. "I can see how Staples-Motley had (33) turnovers against them. It's probably the same kind of story.
"We know what we've got to do, but if they're quick enough to figure it out, it's really hard for us to make the adjustment. It's kind of a helpless feeling."
Pierz was helpless as the turnovers led to 12 Albany fast-break points and enabled the Huskies to outscore Pierz 42-6 in the paint.
"When you turn the ball over that's going to happen," Sczublewski said. "In the first half they maybe had one layup. The first time we played them they had 15 layups against us. We said we need to cut that down to maybe four or five and we'll be in the ballgame.
"If you look at the first half, that's what we did, we stopped them from doing that. Nothing they did surprised us. It was just their execution."
Joanne Noreen and Sarah Korneck executed the Huskies' offense. Noreen, who was shut out in the opening quarter, finished with 24 points on 8 of 16 shooting. Korneck added 14 points, making 7 of 12 shots, and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Kayla Korneck came off the bench to add eight points.
"One thing we've got is pretty nice depth coming off the bench," Albany coach Jon Noreen said. "If we get in foul trouble we don't drop all that much. A big part of any success on a team is your bench."
Kristin Kapsner led Pierz with 10 points, all in the first half. Becky Korf grabbed 17 rebounds for the Pioneers.
Following a turnover-filled first half the Pioneers maintained a 21-20 edge.
With Albany's 6-foot-3 center, Sarah Eisenschenk on the bench for about 13 minutes of the first half with two fouls, the Pioneers crashed the boards. But Joanne Noreen stepped up, scoring 12 second-quarter points.
In the first quarter Pierz went on an 11-point run and ended with a 15-6 edge. Kapsner scored eight points in the period.
Albany 6 14 21 21 -- 62
Pierz 15 6 5 4 -- 30
Kari Wolford 4, Joann Noreen 24, Dani Gill 6, Sarah Korneck 14, Sarah Eisenschenk 2, Rebecca Groetsch 1, Kayla Korneck 8, Danielle Fritz 3. Team totals: FG 24-55 (44 percent), FT 12-19 (63 percent). 3-point baskets: 2-7 (Fritz, K.Korneck). Overall -- 27-4.
Emily Stumpf 4, Nicole Boser 1, Mel Waytashek 2, Kristin Kapsner 10, Becky Korf 5, Kristin Sczublewski 6, Kaitlyn Jensen 2. Team totals: FG 11-46 (24 percent), FT 3-10 (30 percent). 3-point baskets: 5-15 (Kapsner 2, Korf, Sczublewski 2). Overall -- Finish 22-6.
Rebounds -- A 38 (S.Korneck 10), P 38 (Korf 17). Turnovers -- A 21, P 35. Assists -- A 14 (Noreen 4), P 8 (Korf 3). Blocks -- A 10 (Wolford 4), P 1. Steals -- A 28 (Noreen 8), P 10 (Stumpf 3).
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