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Chris Murphy, Published January 29 2013

Hawley tops D-G-F to stand alone on top of the HOL conference

GLYNDON, Minn. – With the top spot in the Heart O’Lakes Conference on the line, Hawley knocked off Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 46-41 Tuesday in Minnesota girls basketball.

The Nuggets never trailed, winning for the 10th time in the last 11 games and moving alone into first place in the conference standings.

“We’ve been able to get a stop when we needed to get it done, and that’s what happened here tonight,” Hawley coach Bill Gottenborg said.

D-G-F (10-5, 5-2) got within five at 36-31 with 1 minute, 18 seconds left, but Hawley (12-4, 6-1) drilled 10 free throws in the final 78 seconds to seal the game. Six of those free throws came from point guard Jody Noreen, who had a game-high 15 points.

“We’re clicking as a team,” Noreen said. “We just want to keep pushing each other. We all played with a lot of heart tonight. We all wanted this game. We knew what we had to do and we got it done.”

D-G-F coach Tom Critchley Jr. was rocking his good-luck all-black ensemble with his orange tie featuring basketballs on it. The tie didn’t last very long, as it was tossed aside during the nearly eight minutes the Rebels went without scoring to open the game.

“We struggled to score,” Critchley said. “We were able to hang around, but we could never get any consistent rhythm on the offensive end, and it’s hard to just solely rely on the defense.”

Hawley opened the game with a 9-0 run and took a 25-16 lead into the half behind nine points from Noreen during the frame. The Nuggets had a drought of their own, opening the second half without a field goal in the first seven minutes.

A bucket from Sierra Senske cut the Nuggets’ lead to 30-28, but Nuggets center Drew Sannes went on a 6-0 run by herself to open up a 36-28 lead. After putting up three points, three rebounds and a block in the first half, Sannes was unstoppable when her team needed her most, as the senior finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks.

“I knew I had to do that for my teammates,” Sannes said. “We had to get stops and get momentum on our side, and I did what I had to do. We have a lot of tough games coming up, so we need to keep going. We just need to rely on each other to do what we know we can do.”

A 3-point play for Senske made it a 43-38 Hawley lead with 30.6 seconds left, but Rylee Danielson hit two free throws and Noreen split a pair of free throws to give the Nuggets a 46-38 cushion with less than 15 seconds to go. Mira Ellefson added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, while Mandy Mercil had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Senske added 12 points and 15 rebounds to pace D-G-F.

“It’s nice to be in the driver’s seat, but we have a lot of tough games to go,” Gottenborg said.

H (12-4, 6-1): Noreen 3 8-14 15, Olsen 2 0-0 4, Aakre 2 0-0 4, Ellefson 3 4-6 10, Sannes 4 0-1 9, Hovelson 1 0-0 2, Danielson 0 2-2 2.

D (10-5, 5-2): Honek 2 0-0 5, Kinzie Molstre 1 1-2 4, Mercil 6 2-2 14, Highness 1 0-2 2, Senske 5 2-5 12, Keasha Molstre 2 0-0 4.

Half: H 25, D 16. 3-point goals: Noreen 1, Sannes 1, Honke 1, Kinzie Molstre 1. Total fouls: H 12, D 18. Rebounds: P 30 (Sannes 11, Ellefson 10), D 33 (Senske 15, Mercil 11). Turnovers: H 16, D 15.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548