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Titans cruise to 52-29 win over Webster Area

Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Haley Hinker, right, goes up for a basket as she is guarded by Faith Shomaker, left, during a consolation game at the Class A girls’ basketball state tournament Friday at the Young Center in Spearfish. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

SPEARFISH - Mount Vernon/Plankinton girls’ basketball coach Bill Marquardt has preached defense all season.

The No. 6 Titans have been largely successful on the defensive end, holding opponents to 30 points per game. The MVP defense answered once again Friday, as it forced 15 turnovers and recorded seven steals en route to earning a 52-29 win over No. 7 Webster Area in the consolation semifinals of the Class A state basketball tournament Friday at Young Center in Spearfish.

“We defended really well and set the tone that it was going to be tough for Webster to score right away,” said Marquardt, whose team plays No. 4 Pine Ridge in the fifth-place game at 2:45 CDT today in Spearfish. “We play hard, we have some technique stuff that we have to improve for next year, but our effort is good. We have kids who value defense, so I don’t doubt that we are going to continue to improve over the next few years.”

At the heart of the MVP defense was center Megan Bultsma, who blocked four Webster shots. Bultsma’s size down low altered many of the Bearcats’ attempts at easy layups in the paint. The 6-foot-3 sophomore was also instrumental on the offensive end for the Titans, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds.

Bultsma’s effectiveness opened the court up for sophomore forward Makaela Karst, who scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds.

“Today we were really good on the defensive end,” Bultsma said. “It took us a little while to get going on offense, but once we did we played real well. I just try to get as straight as I can on defense, but if I see an opening where I can get a block, I go for it.”

Despite holding a four-point lead early in the game, the Titans weren’t in sync offensively. But MVP started to become more aggressive and attack the paint, which forced the Bearcats to commit fouls. Webster committed 13 fouls in the first half, which allowed MVP to push its lead to 26-7 at the half.

The Titans got seven points from senior guard Becca Glanzer in the first half, finishing with 12 points and four steals.

The Bearcats offense went cold and couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Webster, which dropped its quarterfinal matchup to Elk Point/Jefferson Thursday, shot 22 percent from the field. The Bearcats’ shooting woes started in the first half, when they were 2-of-21 from the field, including 0-of-5 from behind the arc.

Webster girls’ basketball coach Jared Vergeldt attributed his team’s rough performance to its youth.

“We are just so young,” Vergeldt said. “We have four freshmen, who play a lot of minutes, so it is a huge learning curve. I thought the first half we battled well but we got in foul trouble real quick. They played pretty good defense on us tonight. We like to get past the first defender and get to the hole, but they had a 6-foot-3 girl down there and she altered many of our shots.”

Senior center Breanna Bullert led the way for Webster Area with five points and three rebounds.

Webster Area plays No. 8 Garretson in the seventh-place game at 1 p.m. CDT today.