Cathedral’s press holds off Springfield
NEW ULM — New Ulm Cathedral was a full-court thorn in the side of Springfield all game Monday night at Cathedral High School, leading the Greyhounds to a 48-42 win in a Tomahawk Conference girls basketball game.
The Greyhounds (6-15, 4-10) applied a full-court press almost the entire game, something that worked for them well in the first half of this past Saturday’s home game against Wabasso. But the Rabbits changed things up defensively on their side in the second half to erase an 8-point halftime deficit for a 52-44 win.
This time, however, the Greyhounds’ constant pressure was enough to hold on for a much-needed win.
There weren’t too many players taking over the game offensively for either team Monday, but Greyhounds junior guard Jenna Hotovec was one exception as she finished the night with a game-high 22 points. Hotovec also sank the last two free throws of the game with 18.9 seconds left before Cathedral forced a turnover to put the game away.
“I definitely believe that our defense is what gives us energy,” Hotovec said. “So the fact that we were able to step up our defense a little bit and cause more turnovers and stuff like that, that definitely translated into our offense.”
Olivia Macho added 9 points for the Greyhounds.
Springfield (10-9, 7-7) was led by Jasmine Novotny’s 16 points, while Maddy Digmann had 8 points and six rebounds. Brooklyn Sturm, the Tigers’ leading scorer over the past three seasons, was held to 7 points.
“Give Cathedral credit, they took her [Sturm] out of the game,” Springfield head coach Mike Kelly said. “She was kind of forcing some of her 3s, but most of the time they go for her, but tonight they didn’t. Then the rest of the team kind of gets down because they’re expecting them to go in and they get flustered a little bit, and it just kind of snowballed and we just had a tough shooting night. We missed a lot of easy shots, but then on some of them we got a lot of layups, too.”
Sturm made up for her rare off night of shooting in several areas, however, finishing the game with 11 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and three steals. Lexie Groebner pulled in seven rebounds also for Springfield, while Marissa Pabst had four boards.
After Novotny scored the first three baskets of the game for the Tigers to put them up 6-4, Hotovec made back-to-back buckets to put Cathedral in front 8-6. A bucket inside from Pabst tied things up before a straightaway 3 from Shay Wilfahrt gave Cathedral a lead it held until the second half.
A 3 from Macho helped the Greyhounds carry a 22-17 lead into halftime.
Hotovec gave her team a quick jolt of offense out of the half with a 3, putting the Greyhounds up 25-17. That 8-point lead ended up being the largest lead of the game for either team.
Springfield chipped into the lead and took its first lead since the first half, 35-34, after an 8-0 run that ended with a putback by Digmann and a long jumper from Katie Thram.
Hotovec scored in the paint moments after Thram’s jump shot, however, putting the Greyhounds back in front for the remainder of the contest.
The Tigers trailed 45-42 after Sturm broke the press and found Novotny in the paint for 2, but that was the closest the Tigers got from there out.
The Greyhounds did struggle from the foul line late, hitting 4 of 9 free throws in the closing minute, but a strong effort on the glass and a continued pressure on defense was enough to hold on.
“[Cathedral] played great defense, they were aggressive on it, and we just turned the ball over way too many times,” Kelly said. “We didn’t really want to attack it, we just kept passing back and forth, then we’d force it into the middle when we shouldn’t have forced it. If we just would have reversed it and looked down the floor a little bit more, I think we’d have been all right.”
The Greyhounds snapped a four-game skid with Monday’s victory and will look to build on that Thursday night when they travel to Morgan to take on Cedar Mountain in conference action.
“I definitely think that [this win will] boost our confidence a little bit because we were obviously in a drought for a little bit,” Hotovec said. “But I think this will help us because we have a few winnable next games that we could get.”
The Tigers will look to bounce back at home Thursday night when they take on Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop in a conference game.