Tigers even record at 4-4
The Rush City girls basketball team faced a tough opponent last week in Isle, who is undefeated so far this season at 8-0.
The Tigers fell to the Huskies, 71-39.
Isle started five seniors who also saw time as sophomores when the Huskies qualified for the state tournament two years ago and fell just short of the section final last season as juniors. Last Thursday, those five athletes racked up 64 points of the squad’s 71 points.
Rush City head coach Joe Nelson acknowledged Isle as a strong opponent.
“They have good experience in those seniors,” Nelson said. “The biggest difference is they can take the ball inside and score points. Also, we had 10 points from the free-throw line and they had 27.”
Junior Payton Ramberg led the Tigers with 14 points and three steals, followed by junior Kayla Nelson with 11 points and six rebounds. Both sophomore Sydnie Sybrandt and senior Sammi Oscarson contributed five points.
Nelson was optimistic about his team’s games the week before when the Tigers took on Foley and Aitkin, despite Rush City falling in both matchups.
The Tigers fell 59-45 to Foley on Thursday, Jan. 2, and 48-46 to Aitkin the following day.
Foley packed a punch in 6-foot5 junior Tara Dusharm, featured on the Breakdown Sport’s All-Outstate Team earlier this season. Dusharm put up 27 points for her squad.
Nelson said, considering her presence, he was pleased with his girls’ defensive effort against Foley (4-5).
“Even though she scored 27 points, we had good defense on her and she could’ve scored a lot more than that,” Nelson said. “Alissa, Kayla and Sydnie all did well and with three-four minutes to go, it was still a game. I’m very happy with how they never gave up.”
The next night when the Tigers fell by just two points to Aitkin, who is 7-3 this season, Nelson said again his girls did a good job defensively. In an Aitkin game scouted by Nelson earlier this season, the Gobblers put up nine 3-pointers in the first half alone. Rush City held the sharp shooters to just one 3-pointer all game.
“You factor in a two-hour bus ride after playing the night before, and I think we did really well as a team,” Nelson said. “We had nine girls contribute, play well and who all did their job, which has been a focus of ours all year.”
Rush City is 4-4 overall, and next hosts Onamia at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17.