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Fulda Raider girls edge MCC, 72-70, in high-scoring thriller Friday in Slayton

Fulda rallies from 15-point deficit to improve to 4-2

December 25, 2013

	Courtney Tiesler works her way in to the basket around her MCC opponent. 
Courtney Tiesler works her way in to the basket around her MCC opponent.
	Myah Holinka looks for the shot as her MCC opponent puts on the pressure. 
Myah Holinka looks for the shot as her MCC opponent puts on the pressure.
by Les Knutson

Sports Writer
Finishing the first half on a 19-9 run, the ever-hustling Fulda Raiders’ varsity girls’ basketball team sliced a 15-point Murray County Central lead down to five and eventually went ahead several times in an exciting second half before leaving Slayton’s gymnasium Friday night (December 20) with a 72-70 victory over the Rebels.

Both rivals entered the highly-anticipated contest with identical 2-0 Red Rock Conference records and a large crowd was on hand to watch the fast-paced, high-scoring game.

Passing the ball well, the Rebels created good shots for themselves and earned impressive early leads of 6-0 and 16-6 before opening up a 30-15 advantage with about five minutes remaining in the first half.

Fulda, paced by the scoring prowess of junior guard Sariah Cheadle, responded by tallying 19 of the next 28 points, trimming MCC’s lead to 39-34 by intermission.

“I thought that MCC played amazing, especially through most of the first half,” declared veteran Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug. “We played hard even when the score was big in their favor. I am proud of how resilient our girls were and am really happy about having so many players step up and contribute to our comeback.”

Baskets by senior Melissa Gehl (assist from junior Courtney Tiesler) and sophomore Ruth Cheadle (following her own steal) brought the Raiders to within one point early in the second half.

MCC, however, countered with four straight points and held a 43-38 lead.

A putback by Gehl (14 points, 16 rebounds) capped an 8-2 Fulda run and for the first time all night, the Raiders were ahead, leading 46-45 with 12:22 to play.

The Rebels responded and the advantage changed hands several times --- 47-46, 48-47 and 49-48 --- before a three-point play by Sariah Cheadle (31 points, three steals) gave the Raiders a 51-49 edge.

MCC’s sharp shooting senior forward Rebekah Nysetvold (team-high 19 points) scored for the Rebels, knotting the score at 51-51.

Fulda took the lead for keeps when senior guard Dani Hermeling took a pass from sophomore post Katelyn Renneke (six points, nine rebounds) and swished a three-pointer from the left corner with 9:04 showing on the clock.

MCC’s Taylor Moline’s basket sliced the lead to 54-53, but Fulda freshman guard Randi Tiesler drilled a long-range three-pointer from the right wing, extending the Raiders’ advantage to four, 57-53, with 8:29 left.

“Those two three-pointers were huge,” praised Slaathaug. “The girls all have the green light to shoot and have the confidence to knock them down when we need them.”

Later, a slick drive by Sariah Cheadle increased the lead to five, 59-54.

The Raiders continued to lead the rest of way, but MCC came within one point three times ---- 59-58, 61-60 and 71-70.

A three-pointer by Nysetvold with 25 seconds left closed the gap the last time.

Randi Tiesler’s free throw with three seconds remaining clinched the outcome.

In addition to Nysetvold’s 19 points, both Morgan Behrends (14 rebounds, five steals) and Jade Giese (six assists) netted double figures for MCC with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Behrends scored 13 of her points in the first half.

Fulda received a dandy all-around game from Courtney Tiesler, who fired several great passes and finished the night with four assists, eight rebounds and six timely points.

“Courtney had a very nice game,” declared Slaathaug. “She handled the ball well and triggered our fast break several times, making good choices and good passes.”

The Raiders (4-2 overall, 3-0 in conference play) will tangle with Lincoln HI at Southwest State in Marshall Saturday.

Fulda 34 38 = 72

MCC 39 31 = 70

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