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Mitchell Christian girls win district title

(Aaron Saunders/Republic) Mitchell Christian's Emily Reynen and Kimball/White Lake's Jazmyn Hinker fight for a loose ball during the District 10B girls' basketball championship Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Mitchell Christian overcame two dry spells to defeat Kimball/White Lake 51-43 and claim the girls' District 10B championship Saturday at the Corn Palace.

The win puts the Golden Eagles into the Region 5B championship, which will be played Friday in Huron against Sanborn Central/Woonsocket at a time yet to be determined.

The first dry spell came after the opening tap as the WiLdKats jumped to an 11-4 lead with just more than three minutes left in the first period.

MCHS rallied as Becca Glanzer hit a three-point shot and two free throws and Alexa VanLaecken drained a three-point basket. The Eagles trailed 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Trailing 18-16 with 7:05 left until halftime, MCHS went on a 12-3 run to close out the half and a 28-21 lead. Glanzer hit a long 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and ended the contest with a game-high 23 points.

With only one senior on the team, the Eagles' players looked to Glanzer, a 5-foot-5 junior, as a leader. It's a role she enjoys.

"I try to be a leader out there," Glanzer said. "I encourage them when they need it and lift them up when they make a mistake."

MCHS coach Jackie VanLaecken also had praise for Glanzer.

"Becca has been a great shooting guard for us," VanLaecken said. "If we want somebody at the line, we want Becca there. It was great for her free throws to fall."

Glanzer was 7-of-8 over the last two minutes from the free-throw line.

Things looked good for MCHS to open the second half.

A three-point shot from Glanzer gave the Eagles their biggest lead of the game at 37-25 with 3:16 left in the third period.

But KWL closed out the quarter with a 6-2 run and trailed 39-31 at the end of the third period.

MCHS opened the fourth quarter with their second dry spell, going the first five minutes without a point.

But it didn't prove fatal, as the WiLdKats could only manage a three-point basket from Mary Kroupa over the same time span to cut the Eagle advantage to 39-34.

A three-point play from Maria Nightingale pulled KWL to within 47-40 with just under a minute to play, but that's as close as the WiLdKats got.

"It was a big game and I knew nerves would be a big thing," said Jackie Van Laecken of her team's start. "But then they settled down and got going and it was a good thing."

What about fourth quarter?

"We got a little bit rattled, but we collected ourselves and started to play team ball again. They weren't going to quit and they played to the very end," she added.

The Eagles were also led by Alexa VanLaecken with 14 points.

Khiree Held and Emily Reynen each added five points for the Eagles.

MCHS (15-6) grabbed 25 rebounds and committed seven turnovers.

"In these types of games, it comes down to execution of the plays," said KWL coach Brooke Hermsen. "We got some open shots as well, but we weren't able to knock them down and they did."

Nightingale led the WiLdKats with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

KWL (11-7) had 26 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

MCHS 51,

K/WL 43

MCHS (15-6),

Alexa VanLaecken 6-14 0-0 14; Becca Glanzer 5-13 10-13 23; Khiree Held 1-2 3-6 5; Emily Reynen 1-2 3-4 5; Britty Zoss 1-1 0-1 2; Abbie Reynen 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 15-33 16-24 51.

K/WL (11-7)

Mary Kroupa 1 2-2 5; Hailey Mohmen 0 2-6 2; Jazmyn Hinker 3 2-2 9; Clara Moeller 1 0-0 2; Maria Nightingale 9 3-4 21; Ivy Haines 1 2-3 4; Kelli Steffen 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 11-19 43.

MCHS 12 28 39 51

KWL 14 21 31 43

3-point shots MCHS 5 (Glanzer 3, VanLaecken 2), K/WL 2 (Kroupa 1, Hinker 1). Rebounds; MCHS 25, K/WL 26 (Nightingale 12). Turnovers; MCHS 7, K/WL 13; Fouls; MCHS 16, K/WL 17. Fouled out; MCHS Zoss, K/WL None. Technical fouls MCHS 0, K/WL 0.