Devils hold off ‘Jackets, 57-48

Virginia's Rian Aune takes the ball past Cherry's Karlee Grondahl in the second half of Thursday night's game in Virginia.

VIRGINIA — The Virginia girls basketball team played against a young, tough, and aggressive Hibbing squad on Thursday night.

The Blue Devils hits some big free throws down the stretch to beat the Bluejackets, 57-48.

“I really like how we hit our free throws when time was running out,” Virginia coach Spencer Aune said. “Stuff like that can only help us come playoff time.”

The Blue Devils jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead in the first half.

Hibbing left Virginia sophomore Kelsey Squires wide open and she hit a pair of 3-pointers.

The Bluejackets made it a 7-3 contest when Fanci Williams hit a jumper off the glass.

The Blue Devils had a 9-6 lead and went on a nine point run.

Erin Haerer made a lay-up, Anna Fink hit a 3-pointer, Rian Aune nailed a deep 3-pointer, and Lexiss Trygg went 1-2 from the free throw line to make it a 12 point game.

“That was not the way we wanted to start the game,” Hibbing coach David LaCoe said. “We were rebounding the ball but just couldn’t hit a shot.”

Virginia added to their lead later in the half when Squires hit her third 3-pointer of the game to make it a 27-11 Blue Devils lead with a little over two minutes to play in the half.

Hibbing made it a 13 point game when Kourtney Manning made a free throw and then picked up a rebound off her own missed free throw and put it back in.

The Blue Devils led 29-14 when Bluejacket junior Jacie Clusiau hit a 3-pointer to make it a 29-17 game.

Virginia closed out the first half scoring when Aune nailed a 3-pointer to make it a 32-17 Blue Devils lead.

“I like the way we moved the ball around in that first half,” Aune said. “We passed the ball and found the open shooter and hit some big shots.”

The Blue Devils came out in the second half and started it with a 12-0 run.

Trygg made a pair of lay ups, Aune and Squires each hit a 3-pointer, and Kaylee Iverson nailed a pair of free throws.

“Our intensity just wasn’t there,” LaCoe said. “We knew we had to do something out there.”

The Bluejackets put on a big press. Virginia struggled to get the ball to half court.

Kourtney Manning scored five quick points and a Clusiau lay up made it a 44-29 game.

Hibbing wasn’t done yet.

Hawkinson nailed a 3-pointer and four quick free throws.

All of a sudden, it was a 48-36 game with 8:22 to play and Virginia had to take a time out.

Coming out of the time out the Bluejackets picked up six quick points due to their press.

Nora Petrich hit a bucket, Williams had a lay up, and Manning hitting a short jumper to make it a 48-42 game with 6:14 left.

“We struggled with their press,” Aune said. “Hibbing is a very good team and they showed it out there.”

Virginia held a 50-42 lead with just over five minutes to play.

Hibbing got a 3-pointer from Hawkinson to make it a 50-45 game and a 3-pointer from Clusiau cut the Virginia lead to two points at 50-48.

With time starting to run out the Bluejackets started to foul.

Aune was fouled and made two free throws to make it 52-48 with 41 seconds left.

Hibbing missed their next shot and fouled Iverson, who made a pair for free throws.

The Bluejackets missed their next two jumpers and Trygg hit two free throws and Fink made one.

The horn sounded and Virginia had the 9 point win.

“Its been like that for us all year,” LaCoe said. We rebound the ball and put on a great press but just can’t hit our shots.”

Manning led the Bluejackets with 15 points, while Hawkinson added 12.

Hibbing (8-9) will host Chisago Lakes today.

Aune led the Blue Devils with 14, while Squires had 12, and Trygg and Iverson each chipped in 10.

The Blue Devils now 12-6, will host Superior on Tuesday.

“I am proud of the way we played tonight,” Aune said. “We have to keep playing good ball.”

HHS 17 31 — 48

VHS 32 25 — 57

HHS: Reese Aune 3, Fanci Williams 5, Jacie Clusiau 11, Haley Hawkinson 12, Kourtney Manning 15, Nora Petrich 2; 3-pointers: Clusiau 3, Hawkinson 2, Aune 1, Manning 1; Free throws: 7-10; Total fouls: 19; Fouled out: Hawkinson.

VHS: Anna Fink 7, Rian Aune 14, Halee Zorman 2, Lexiss Trygg 10, Kaylee Iverson 10, Kelsey Squires 12, Erin Haerer 2; 3-pointers: Squires 4, Aune 4, Fink 1; Free throws: 14-22; Total fouls: 15; Fouled out: None

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