By Brady Ambrose
The Jimmy Westland era began with a bang for the Caledonia girls’ basketball program as the Warriors won two games last week to open up the 2012-13 campaign.
Westland takes over for Scott Sorenson and the team has answered as they rolled to a 66-38 win in the season opener against Rushford Peterson Nov. 27 at home and then scratched out a tough, 54-51 road win at Plainview-Elgin-Millville Thursday night. In the home opener Maddy Mullins scored 19 points to lead all scorers and Taylor Winjum and Maria Fruechte tossed in 12 points each when the Warriors rolled to a 28 point win over the Trojans. “I think our kids played really, really hard,” Westland said. “Considering we have had a unique practice schedule with the volleyball team going so far and Thanksgiving break and football, I’m pretty proud considering the limited practice time we’ve had.”
It was your typical first game of the season as both teams struggled in the early going. The Warriors never trailed in the game, taking an early 8-0 lead on a basket by Fruechte at the 12:18 mark. A pair of free throws from Sierra McNamer got the Trojans on the board on R-P’s next possession but after another pair of free throws from McNamer made the score 10-4, Caledonia went on an 11-4 run to take a 21-8 lead when Winjum hit a 3-pointer with 4:20 left in the first half. “We stuck to the game plan. I think we did a good job running our defense,” Westland said.
The Trojans then cut into the Caledonia lead near the end of the first half. With 3:31 left Amy Todd, who scored 15 to lead the Trojans, hit a pair of free throws that sparked a 6-0 run by Rushford-Peterson, who trailed 25-16 when Cody Manfull added two more from the charity stripe with two minutes left in the first half, but the Warriors led by 11 points at 29-18 at the break.
Caledonia then took over at the start of the second half, going on a 13-4 run. A trey from Mullins gave the Warriors a 15 point lead at 35-20 less than six minutes into the half and another basket from the senior guard pushed the Warrior lead to 39-22 at the 12 minute mark. Mullins then scored and was fouled, making the free throw for a 3-point play that pushed the lead to 42-22. After a pair of free throws from R-P’s Mariah Mueller, Mullins scored again for a 49-24 Caledonia lead with 9:24 to play.
The Trojans then scored seven straight points to close the gap to 49-31 but the damage was already done. Sophomore Jordyn Krause got in the scorebook with a pair of free throws with 38.9 seconds to play and the Warriors rolled to the 66-38 win. “Maddy did great. She runs the floor and her and Taylor and Maria, I can see them all in double figures in a lot of games,” Westland said. “They’re good athletes, and Hannah Russert does a lot of the grunt work. She can run the floor and she’s a really good defensive rebounder, but we have a lot to work on. We let the ball into the middle way too much,” Westland said. The coach also added that he wants his team to run and push the score into the 70 point range on a nightly basis. “I told Maddy, Taylor and Maria that when they can go around people I want them to go around them – don’t be passive, you have freedom and don’t be afraid to shoot the ball.” Caledonia had nine players score in the game with Lauren Rusert scoring seven and Hannah Rusert adding five. As a team the Warriors shot a respectable 45 percent from the floor and made 19 of 34 free throws.
On Thursday night the Warriors pulled out a last-second win over P-E-M when Fruechte hit a three pointer with 18 seconds left in the game, breaking a 51-51 tie and giving Caledonia the 3-point win. Taylor Winjum led all scorers with 21 points, while Fruechte added 13 and Mullins 12. Halle Hubbard scored 12 to led P-E-M. The Warriors will play Kingsland at home Thursday night after hosting Winona Tuesday night.
CALEDONIA 54, PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE 51
Caledonia 20 34 — 54
PEM 23 28 — 51
CALEDONIA (2-0, 2-0): Fruechte 13, Mullins 12, L. Rusert 2, H. Russert 4, Frank 2, Winjum 21.
PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE (0-2, 0-1): Cordova 3, Schmit 2, Rau 4, Hubbard 12, Gilbeck 10, Root 10, Hart 10.
CALEDONIA 66, RUSHFORD-PETERSON 38
R-P 18 20 — 38
Caledonia 29 37 — 66
RUSHFORD-PETERSON (0-1): McNamer 6, Manfull 10, Morrison 2, Wade 1, Mueller 4, Todd 15.
CALEDONIA (1-0): Doering 3, Werner 3, Fruechte 12, Mullins 19, Rusert 7, Russert 5, Frank 2, Krause 3, Winjum 12.