Kingsland girls open season with decisive win

By : 
CHAD SMITH

The Kingsland girls’ basketball team is one game and one win into their season after a 60-28 non-conference victory at Southeast Conference foe Lanesboro (0-1, 0-0) on Friday, Nov. 22. Three players wound up in double-figures to lead the way offensively for Kingsland. The Knights are 1-0 on the season and yet to play the first game of their second season in the SEC.

Most high school coaches will tell you three players in double figures every night can make their team hard to beat. Ellie Buchholtz (16 points), Merredith Farlinger (13), and Alyssa Link (12) combined to score 41 of the team’s 60 points. The Knights’ offense helped them jump out quickly and Kingsland led 30-12 going into halftime.

“Not only did we have three kids hit double figures,” Kingsland coach Steve Hauser said, “we also had plenty of other players who had consistent opportunities and got shots up. We are going to have to play excellent team basketball this season, whether it’s rebounding, assists, or scoring. If someone gets shut down, two or three other players will step up.”

The Knights made 22 of 65 shots from the field (38%), including seven of 20 from outside the three-point line (solid 35%). Link had her outside shot dropping in the first game, hitting three of her four attempts outside the arc. Buchholtz and Sam Wernimont each nailed two treys.

Hauser said free throw shooting is something the Knights will be working on early in the season as they made just nine of 17 at the line (52%). While they do have aspects of the game to work on, Hauser said this was a good opener to a long season.

“The girls played well,” he said. “They were pumped and ready to go right away. After two weeks of practicing, I think they were ready to play someone else. We’ve got all the weapons we need to be a pretty good team this season, it’s just a matter of putting things together.

“We got the tempo going fast during the game like we want. Even though we didn’t show the full-court press, the girls did crank up the fast break and looked for some easy opportunities at the other end.”

To be successful with that playing style, Hauser said the Knights will have to do a good job of rebounding. The Kingsland girls pulled down 51 rebounds against the Burros, including an impressive 26 offensive rebounds, giving themselves a lot of second-chance scoring opportunities.

Farlinger came up with a double-double during the season opener by grabbing 12 rebounds (7 offensive) to go with her 13 points.

“If we can consistently grab a rebound and go, that’s going to mean scoring chances for us,” Hauser said.

Farlinger almost made it a triple-double, leading the Knights’ defensively with an impressive eight blocked shots.

“We’ll be working on improving our team defensive rebounding,” Hauser added. “We have to be able to box out some of the bigger and more aggressive teams we’ll see this season. Grabbing rebounds kickstarts our offense.

“We also need to step up the intensity for our perimeter defense. I thought Lanesboro got some good looks at the basket outside and just didn’t knock them down.”

Schedule

The team is back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 26, with Kingsland’s home opener against a tough Goodhue Wildcat squad.