Nicollet girls handle BLHS 71-51

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Nicollet’s Brooke Skrien tries to get between Chloe Ufkes and Alyssa Petersen (24) of Buffalo Lake-Hector-Sewart Thursday in Nicollet. For more photos of this event go to

NICOLLET — Nicollet’s strong second half was enough for a 71-51 win over Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart on Thursday night in girls’ basketball action.

The Raider guards were aggressive all night and that led to several BLHS turnovers as a result. Sarah Haugum and Sidney Botker each had four steals for Nicollet.

“The guards are — as I’ve said before — always quick and they’re always looking to go for those loose balls and those steals,” Nicollet coach Sarah Rosenau said. “And at halftime, that was something that we brought up — just that every loose ball should be ours, we should always be on the ground. And that was what kind of gave us some momentum at the end of the first half.”

Haugum and Botker also had 12 and 11 points respectively, while Skrien had an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double.

Kaitlyn Frutiger led the Raiders in scoring with 17 points, while also adding eight rebounds.

Grace Dehen had 14 points and eight assists for Nicollet.

Nicollet took a 12-8 lead after five minutes and change, with all of its points coming on 3s by Dehen, Haugum, Botker and Skrien. With less than six minutes to play in the half, a bucket by BLHS’s Rachel Dean tied things up at 17-17.

Knotted up at 19-19, Nicollet ended the half out strong on a 13-4 run to lead 32-23 at halftime. During the run, Skrien had a 3 and Frutiger had three straight buckets.

With a solid start in the second half, Nicollet took a 43-30 lead after a 3 by Haugum to force a BLHS timeout with 14:57 left to play. The Raiders continued their strong play out of the timeout, going on a 7-0 run to expand their lead to 20.

A pair of free throws by Sara Kottke helped cut the Mustang deficit to 59-44 with 5:19 left in the game. Moments later, though, Botker converted on an and-one to put Nicollet up by 20 again, 64-44.

Kottke led the Mustangs in scoring with 19 points, while Keegan Hanson added 13.

Nicollet took its largest lead of the night, 71-47, after a jumper by Marah Hulke with less than two minutes to go.

With the Raiders hot 3-point shooting to start out, they began to change things up as the game went on and started getting more and more inside looks at the rim. Dean, the 6-footer, getting into foul trouble in the second half also helped out Nicollet.

“They started to take away the 3s a little bit,” Rosenau said. “We tried to focus more on setting those high screens and then looking for Kaitlyn and Lindsey [Boerger] in our post to slip. And then that opened up our inside game a lot more.

“It also helped having [Dean] in foul trouble,” Rosenau said. “It kind of took away one of their big main posts, so it gave our posts a little bit more opportunity to really post up strong and make some good moves that way.”

The Raiders improve to 7-4 on the year after back-to-back wins in their holiday tournament and host Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.