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Wolverines earn first win in new era

Wadena-DC’s Lauryn Gravelle uses the left hand in the lane to get the shot off against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle during Wadena-DC’s first victory of the season. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal1 / 4
Wadena-DC’s Ashley Adams works into the lane and takes the jumper against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal2 / 4
Wadena-DC’s Kennedy Gravelle pulls up for the jumper in the lane against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal3 / 4
Wadena-Deer Creek’s Ashley Adams goes up for the lay-up for two points during Wadena-DC’s victory over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal4 / 4

In a game of runs, it was the final run that was key for the Wadena-Deer Creek girls basketball team when they defeated Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 42-38 on Nov. 29 in Wadena.

The Wolverines used a 16-0 run in the second half to get the lead back in the second half on the Thunder and it was a 6-0 run in the closing minutes that helped the Wolverines pick up their first win of the season and first of Jordan Cresap's head coaching career.

"We had a tough stretch and couldn't seem to put the ball in the hoop. Give credit to their defense, they were in a match up zone and it was difficult for us to navigate," Wadena-DC head coach Jordan Cresap said. "We just kept fighting and put on a press. We kept working and got the shots to fall and their confidence kept going. They have that never quit attitude and that was a big response after a tough first half and beginning of the second half."

The Wolverines went more than 14 minutes of game time without a basket after opening the game up on a 12-0 run. The Thunder responded with a 12-0 run to end the first half and extended the run to 27-3 in the early seconds of the second half. However, the Wolverines made a change on defense, which gave them a spark as they rattled off 16 straight points.

"We had to do something different. We had to quicken the pace a bit and put pressure on their guards, force some turnovers and get them to take some quick shots," Cresap said. "It ended up working out for us. Credit to our girls and our guards. They were at it the entire game and they were dog tired, but they just kept going at it. I'm very proud of them."

Kennedy Gravelle led all Wolverines with 13 points. She hit three 3-pointers in the win. She hit two of her three 3-pointers during the 16-0 run. Ashley Adams finished with 11 points as well and helped spark the run with six points during that stretch.

"It was exciting. We knew that being down at halftime and us having to comeback, we knew we had to fight hard and we did," Gravelle said. "I'm very proud of us for doing that."

The change of pace defensively changed the momentum when the Wolverines started to put pressure on the Thunder guards and forced several turnovers.

"Once we started going into a press and going full court on them, we got those easy turnovers on their end and it gave us the energy," Gravelle said. "I think that's what's helped us comeback was the energy we got from that full court press."

The Thunder were dealt a key blow late in the second half when Ellen Liebsch picked up her fifth personal foul. She finished with 13 points, 11 of them coming in the second half. Diana Salazar finished with 14 points, 11 of them coming in the first half.

It was the second straight nail biting game for the Wolverines. They dropped their season-opener to Staples-Motley in overtime.

"I was telling the girls I'll be getting gray hairs soon. We have had two exciting games, two thrillers, that went down to the wire," Cresap said. "It's exciting and it's fun. To see these girls compete hard like that the entire game is fun. It feels great (to get win No. 1). Our girls have been working every single day in practice and it's good to see that work pay off."

LPGE 15 23--38

WDC 14 28--42

LPGE-Hannah Middendorf 3, Emma Liebsch 13, Diana Salazar 14, Itzel Salazar 2, Anyela Mata 6

3-pointers: Middendorf, Liebsch 2, Diana Salazar 3. Free Throws: 2-10. Team Fouls: 16. Fouled Out: Ellen Liebsch

WDC-Ashley Adams 11, Madison Carsten 5, Kennedy Gravelle 13, Mackenzie Carsten 3, Lauryn Gravelle 8, Nevada Schulz 2

3-pointers: Kennedy Gravelle 3, Mackenzie Carsten. Free Throws: 8-16. Team Fouls: 13. Fouled Out: None

Wadena-DC vs. Staples-Motley

Staples-Motley used a big second half from Jenna Dvorak and Alix Peterson to upend the Wadena-Deer Creek girls basketball team 64-61 on Nov. 27 in Wadena.

Peterson and Dvorak led the Cardinals in scoring with 19 and 17 points respectively, spoiling the home-opener and coaching debut of Jordan Cresap.

The Wolverines had a double digit lead at points in the second half, but struggled down the stretch as the Cardinals came roaring back in the battle of former conference rivals.

The Wolverines were led by Kennedy Gravelle's team high of 17 points. The Wolverines had four players finish in double figures. Ashley Adams ended with 11 points, while Madison Carsten and Mackenzie Carsten finished with 10 points each.

The Wolverines built up a 31-22 lead at the break, but Staples-Motley outscored the Wolverines 33-24 in the second half and took control in overtime by outscoring the host Wolverines by 3-points.

S-M 22 33 9--64

WDC 31 24 6--61

S-M-Kaila Erbe 4, Haley Cichos 13, Kaitlyn Smith 7, Alix Peterson 19, Jenna Dvorak 17, Tabatha Allen 11, Bella Martin 2

3-pointers: Cichos, Smith, Dvorak. Total Fouls: 15. Free Throws: 13-16. Fouled Out: None

WDC-Ashley Adams 11, Madison Carsten 10, Sophie Kreklau 4, Kennedy Gravelle 17, Madison Packer 4, Mackenzie Carsten 10, Lauryn Gravelle 2, Nevada Schulz 4

3-pointers: Kennedy Gravelle 2, Mackenzie Carsten 2.Total Fouls: 12. Free Throws: 9-13. Fouled Out: None.

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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