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Chris Murphy, Published December 14 2013

St. Michael-Albertville rolls Moorhead in girls basketball 79-31

MOORHEAD – St. Michael-Albertville’s girls basketball team certainly made the four-hour trip to Nemzek Fieldhouse worth it Saturday, dismantling Moorhead 79-31.

“The last three times they’ve played us, they’ve had our number,” Moorhead coach Jim Kapitan said. “They are a good team. It seems like their roster is young every year.”

St. Michael-Albertville (3-1) has only four seniors on its roster, none of which started Saturday. The Knights had four players score 10 or more points Saturday. Sophomores Sydney Tracy and Kitri Zezza had 13 and 10 points, respectively, junior Bobbi Brendefur had 14 points and senior Erin Autio had 10 points for the Knights.

“I feel like we’re close-knit,” Tracy said. “We think of each other as a family and it brings us together out on the court. It’s always worth it coming down this far for a game. Even if we win big, it helps to work out the details.”

It’s pretty scary to think what St. Michael-Albertville can do when the Knights get older.

“We lost six pretty good seniors from last year, so there are a lot of growing pains with these kids,” St. Michael-Albertville coach Kent Hamre said. “We do have some seniors that come off the bench and provide leadership from the bench as well. These young kids are learning every night.”

The game was all but over after the opening tip. Moorhead had 11 turnovers in the first five minutes and trailed 18-2 right out of the gate.

Late in the first half, Hamre shouted something to junior forward Jordyn Walker and she shook her head as if she understood. He asked if she heard him, she yelled “no” and he said all right. Normally, that would frustrate a coach, but it’s hard to get mad when your team is up nearly 30 points. The Knights didn’t need much coaching Saturday.

“We were just joking around,” Hamre said. “(Coaching) does go away in a game like this, but we didn’t want to develop any bad habits. That was our concern at halftime.”

Not many bad habits could be found after taking a 41-14 lead into the half. St. Michael-Albertville shot over 50 percent, forced 25 Moorhead turnovers and hit 20 of 26 free throws for the game. The Knights committed just eight turnovers. The Spuds had nearly triple the amount of turnovers to field goals, netting just nine shots.

“There isn’t much to say,” Kapitan said. “We just didn’t follow what we needed to do. They’re going to play up-tempo defense, and they are going to get in your face. I think, more than anything, we hurt ourselves because we didn’t move and sat around. When you do that, they’re going to defend you and get in your face.”

For being a young team, St. Michael-Albertville talks a big game. After falling from the top 10 polls this week, the Knights used it as a chip on their shoulders.

“We definitely used that,” Tracy said. “We like the target on our backs.”

M (1-3): Tonn 0 3-4 3, Clark 1 0-1 2, Rahman 2 1-2 6, Stephenson 1 5-6 7, Dalquist 2 1-2 5, Eidsness 1 0-0 2, Ginther 1 0-0 3, Horan 0 1-2 1, Tonsfeldt 1 0-0 2. Totals 9 11-17 31.

S (3-1): Brendefur 5 0-0 14, Johnson 2 2-3 6, Hansen 1 1-1 3, Walker 1 4-5 6, Tracy 6 1-3 13, Zezza 2 6-6 10, Heil 3 1-2, 7, Greer 0 1-2 1, Slavin 1 0-0 3, Autio 3 4-4 10, Burns 3 0-0 6. Totals 27 20-26 79.

Halftime: S 41, M 14. 3-pointers: Brendefur 4, Slavin 1, Rahman 1, Ginther 1. Total fouls: M 15, S 18. Rebounds: S 32 (Brendefur 32), M 28 (Tonsfeldt and Dalquist 6).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548