VIRGINIA — Haley Hansen was a force offensively and on the glass as she helped lead the Lady Norse past visiting Lake Superior Friday, 56-54.
The 6-foot-2-inch post player from Cherry poured in 22 points and hauled in 13 rebounds in the second straight win for a short-handed Mesabi Range squad.
“I was proud of our defense. Offensively, we did things right for the most part. I couldn’t be more proud of those six (active players). It was a good victory for us.’’
The Lady Norse fell behind 6-3 in the early going, but quickly caught fire from long range. Madisen Overbye drained a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around another 3-pointer from Hailey Aho, which put Mesabi on top, 12-6.
The Lady Norse continued to lead as Hansen was scoring inside and Overbye hit another 3-pointer. Hansen soon made it 21-10 with a basket down low, which started a string of nine straight Mesabi Range points from the post player. She then added a free throw and the home team was up 28-15.
Head coach Brad Matuszak said utilizing Hansen inside was part of the game plan.
“With Haley we usually have the height advantage against anybody. So we always want to take our chances with her. When she starts scoring, it opens up everything else for us.’’
The Ice Hawks still closed out the half on a 5-1 run, which made it 29-20 at the break.
Head coach Brad Matuszak and his squad knew the game was far from over.
“I knew they were going to make a run in the second half. We answered it pretty well. We have to help ourselves out by making some free throws,’’ Matuszak said after the game.
Lake Superior College quickly made a game of it in the second half as they scored five of the first six buckets to cut Mesabi’s lead to 32-31. Taylor McIntosh did much of the damage, firing up her team as she scored from inside and at the free throw line.
Soon after the Lady Norse’s Olivia Suihkonen was forced from the game, which left Mesabi Range with only five players. They made it work, though, as Hanna Sandberg knocked down a big three and had two free throws, while Hansen connected down low to give Mesabi Range a 42-36 lead after three quarters.
McIntosh’s run of points ended right away in the fourth as she left the game with an ankle injury. However, Miia Marple, Sierra Giffrow and Sami Vezina combined for nine unanswered points to help the Ice Hawks regain the lead, 45-44.
Mesabi Range took the lead right back as Overbye and Sandberg knocked down threes and Hansen was dominant inside once again to put the home team up 54-48 late in the game. Overbye ended the contest with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Aho had four points, nine boards and eight assists. Sandberg finished with nine points.
Lake Superior made it 54-51 with 43 seconds to go, but Hansen later answered with a bucket down low, which turned out to be the game winner. The Ice Hawks were able to cut it to 56-54 and had one last 3-point shot at the buzzer — which was off the mark — giving Mesabi Range the win.
Matuszak was happy with how his team all played well down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
“We’re coming together at the right time and its fun to watch. Exciting too.’’
With low numbers forcing the cancellation of some games last month, the Lady Norse lost six of their first seven games. Mesabi Range is now 3-2 in the MCAC North and 3-6 overall.
The team is still without freshman guard Jazmine Manning and Matuszak doesn’t know exactly when she’ll return from injury. “Next week we might have to ride and die with these six. I’ll take these six and seven girls over anybody.’’
Matuszak added he knows his players are winded without much of any breaks, but they have been playing through it.
Sandberg, for example, was out sick all week and had to play extended minutes when Suihkonen went out. Aho, Hansen and Overbye also each logged 40 minutes (a complete game).
“I can’t be more proud of them. I’m happy for them for the victory.’’
Mesabi Range plays at Hibbing on Wednesday and hosts Rainy River on Jan. 25.
Lake Superior 9 11 16 18 — 54
Mesabi Range 13 16 13 14 — 56
LS: Sierra Giffrow 11, Svetlana Stoen 3, Mindy Campbell 6, Taylor McIntosh 13, Kate Stone 3, Bailey Wheeler 8, Sami Vezina 6, Miia Marple 4. 3-pointers: Giffrow 3, Stoen 1, Wheeler 2. Free throws: 10-17. Total fouls: 19. Fouled out: None.
MRC: Hanna Sandberg 9, Hailey Aho 4, Madisen Overbye 18, Haley Hansen 22, Olivia Suihkonen 3. 3-pointers: Sandberg 2, Aho 1, Overbye 5. Free throws: 8-23. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.
Lake Superior 86,
Mesabi Range 73
At Virginia, William Howard dropped in 21 points and Jaylen Williams added 15, but it wasn’t enough as Lake Superior downed Mesabi Range, 86-73.
Daniel Modi also chipped in with nine points for the Norsemen.
The Ice Hawks were fueled by 28 points from Jarves Hunt, 15 from Jacob Easty, 14 from Elijah Smith and 13 from Kenten Miller. Smith added 14 boards as the Hawks outrebounded the Norse, 39-29.
Mesabi Range (1-13, 0-5 MCAC North) play Fond du Lac Monday at 1 p.m. The game was set for today, but had to be rescheduled due to the snowstorm impacting the area.
Lake Superior 39 47 — 86
Mesabi Range 39 34 — 73
LS: Jarves Hunt 28, Kenten Miller 13, Jacob Easty 15, Matthew Hey 4, Joel Bailey 5, Brandon Barbee 7, Elijah Smith 14. 3-pointers: Hunt 1, Miller 2, Easty 5, Bailey 1. Free throws: 13-17. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.
MRC: Dejsani Beamon 11, Mayan White 6, Jaylen Williams 15, Josue Collazo 6, William Howard 21, Mamoudou Cisse 5, Daniel Modi 9. 3-pointers: Beamon 1, White 2, Howard 1, Cisse 1, Free throws: 6-9. Total fouls: 17. Fouled out: Howard.