Spartan girls win MBC opener in overtime
The Somerset girls basketball team had to wait until January to play its first Middle Border Conference game of the 2009-10 season.
They saved up a month's worth of drama for one night. The Spartans were able to get the win, needing overtime to top Prescott 44-42.
This game gave the Spartans a glimpse of what they will see in most MBC games this season. Namely, Spartan leading scorer Ashley Martell was double-teamed wherever she went in the offensive half of the court. With Prescott limiting Martell to seven points, the Spartans needed other girls to step up their scoring.
Senior guard Lauren Westerdahl was the one who stepped up on Friday. She sank two three-pointers in the fourth quarter and another in the overtime, to lead the Spartans with 12 points in the game.
Westerdahl had expressed to Spartan coach Kendrick Livers that she wanted to step up to help the team offensively. She backed that up with her play against Prescott.
Somerset's inexperience showed throughout the game and Livers tried a number of different personnel combinations. He said the younger players show glimpses of being ready for the varsity, but is looking for more consistency from them.
The Spartans trailed 26-24 entering the fourth quarter. They took a 29-28 lead on Westerdahl's first trey and they never trailed again. Prescott tied the game at 37-37 with six seconds left when Kallie Krech hit two of three free throw attempts.
Somerset got the first points of the overtime on a baseline jump shot from sophomore Carley Seibel. Krech tied the game with a pair of free throws. Westerdahl struck again, hitting a three-pointer with 1:38 on the clock. Prescott's Megan Murphy retied the score with a three-pointer of her own seconds later.
Seibel put the Spartans in front for good with 54 seconds left. She was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound and she hit one of the two free throws. After a Prescott miss, Martell hit a free throw with 10 seconds left. Prescott got one more shot, with Martell rebounding the miss as the clock ran out.
Westerdahl was one of several Spartans who stepped up in this game. Seibel, Laura Wells and Lauren Rathai, all sophomores, played key roles in the win. Wells is taking over more of the ball-handling duties for the Spartans and Seibel adds to the post scoring options. Rathai was one of the team's most aggressive players, supplying much needed energy to the defense.
The Spartans continue to play a challenging non-conference schedule, which led to a pair of losses over the past week.
On Monday the Spartans lost at Barron 62-44. Barron is a strong, veteran team that jumped to a quick lead and never let up.
Martell led the Spartans with 19 points at Barron and Westerdahl and Seibel each scored eight points.
Last Tuesday the Spartans lost at Boyceville, 55-40. Martell led the Spartans with 22 points and Wells contributed seven points.
Livers said he looks at Boyceville and Barron and sees programs he'd like to emulate. He's hoping by this time next season the Spartans will be the established program that is winning these sort of games.