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Defense keys Wolverines to Park Region victory

It wasn’t a masterpiece but the Wadena-Deer Creek girls basketball team captured a key Park Region Conference 39-27 victory over the Verndale Pirates in its conference opener in Verndale on Dec. 5.

“It wasn’t very pretty at times, but I thought the girls fought hard. They battled really hard against a tough, aggressive Verndale team,” Wadena-DC head coach Tori Ehlert said. “We talked about what we needed to focus on and I think they kept that focus. Some things didn’t go our way, but we were able to pull through with it.”

Both teams were an identical 11 of 56 from the field, but it was Wadena-DC hitting one more 3-pointer and 11 more free throws than the Pirates in the win.

Kennedy Gravelle led all scorers with 15 points. He hit one 3-pointer and connected on six of her nine free throw attempts. Ashley Adams added eight points for the Wolverines.

The Wolverines were able to shut down Verndale’s Morgan Glenz. They held her to just two points on one of 12 shooting from the field. Melissa Hammer led the way with seven points, while Katie Johnson finished with six for Verndale.

“Our defense has to be our biggest focused for us. We talked about ball pressure and we talked about taking away Morgen Glenz in the middle. She likes to attack and she is very good at putting the ball down,” Ehlert said. “We talked about taking her drive away and making her earn her shots from the outside. In the second half, we really stepped it up. We have our certain goals that we have and we focused on that the whole time.”

The Wolverines showed improvement at the free throw line as well. They hit 15 of their 24 attempts, but were strong down the stretch, allowing them to maintain and stretch its lead.

“We came through when we need those free throws,” Elhert said. “We were able to hit them when we really needed them and that helped us a lot.”

The Wolverines return to action on Thursday, Dec. 7 when they take on Parkers Prairie at 7:30 p.m. at the Wadena-DC Elementary School. The Wolverines will make a short road trip on Saturday, Dec. 9 when they take on New York Mills at 7 p.m. in New York Mills.

WDC 17 22--39

VER 14 13--27

WDC-Ashley Adams 8, Casey Volkmann 3, Ellie Miron 8, Kennedy Gravelle 15, Mackenzie Carsten 5

3-point goals-Gravelle, Carsten

VER-Morgan Glenz 2, Alyssa Thompson 2, Mardi Ehrmantraut 2, Haley Youngbauer 4, Molly Brownlow 3, Katie Johnson 6, Allison Ollsson 1, Melissa Hammer 7

3-point goals-Johnson

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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