Megan Meyer is only 5-foot-7, but she knows how to get a rebound.
She gathered 19 of them and scored 21 points Friday to lead the Little Falls Flyers to a 41-38 Central Lakes Conference girls' basketball victory against the Brainerd Warriors in Brainerd.
Meyer and the Flyers outrebounded Brainerd 43-25. Little Falls had 19 offensive rebounds, 12 coming in the first half pushing them to a 21-19 halftime advantage.
"We just wanted to get the rebounds, have no bad passes and have less turnovers," said Meyers. "We just wanted to take care of the ball."
The extra possessions helped Little Falls shoot 32 free throws to Brainerd's two. The Flyers converted 17 freebies to combat shooting just 22 percent from the field. Kendra Hilmerson added 10 points for Little Falls, which won its fourth straight.
"The whole key to the game was rebounding," said Warriors coach Carl Hendrickson. "They just got a lot of rebounds. We just did not go to the boards hard enough. When we did we didn't rip them down. It was always knocked out of our hands. That hurt us. Meyer was really aggressive on the boards.
"That and the fact we only had two free throws. They had seven fouls and we had 22. If you can't get to the free-throw line you're in trouble."
Brainerd's lack of rebounding could be traced to Natlie Niager's absence. The senior captain was out with a knee injury.
Despite the rebounding deficit Brainerd had a chance to win with 24.8 seconds remaining.
Trailing 40-38 the Warriors called Kayla Huether's number.
The sophomore caught the ball at the top of the key and fired a 3-pointer. The ball went in, but rolled out of the basket. A scrum for the loose ball resulted in a Warrior foul. Meyer hit one of two free throws for the final score.
"All you want is a good look at the end and we had one and it just didn't go," said Hendrickson.
Huether led the Warriors with 10 points. Senior Danielle Uphoff added nine, including a 3-pointer pushing Brainerd to a 38-37 lead.
"I just wanted to sink those free throws and make the score more secure," said Meyer. "We didn't really change anything when they came back. We just wanted to take care of the ball and slow the game down a little bit."
But Meyer hit one of her 11 free throws and Elizabeth Schulz sank two more free throws for the 40-38 advantage.
"We've been so close the last three games," said Hendrickson. "We just can't seem to get over that hump. The longer you go where you have these close games and you don't win one the harder it is. Confidence is a big part of the game and we sure don't want our girls to lose it all.
"We're doing a lot of things right, we're just not finishing the game like we should."
Little Falls 21 20 - 41
Brainerd 19 19 - 38
Kendra Hilmerson 10, Elizabeth Schulz 5, Melissa Monnier 4, Bobbie Waldvogel 1, Megan Meyer 21. Team totals: FG 11-49 (22 percent), FT 17-32 (53 percent), 3-point baskets: 2-10 (Hilmerson 2).
Danielle Uphoff 9, Kayla Huether 10, Megan Bates 6, Joetta Johnson 7, Abby Ahlberg 2, Karlye Barron 2, Stacy Butler 2. Team totals: FG 16-57 (28 percent), FT 1-2 (50 percent), 3-point baskets: 5-28 (Uphoff 3, Huether 1, Johnson 1).
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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