Lauren Sees stole the show Friday night at the Corn Palace, scoring 25 of her game-high 34 points in the first half of a 74-43 girls basketball win over Tripp-Delmont/Armour in the nightcap at the Dakota Wesleyan University Culver's Classic.
Sees, who has signed to play college basketball at Augustana, was quick to give credit to her teammates for her first-half performance. The Pirates jumped to the big lead at 21-9 at the end of the first quarter in part because of Sees' fast start.
"My team was doing a really good job of setting screens helping me get open," she said.
Behind the shooting of Mattilynn Reiner and Ashlee Gerber, the Nighthawks pulled to within seven at 26-19 with just over 4 minutes left in the second quarter.
But that was as close as TDA would come, as the Pirates reeled off 10 straight points to take a commanding 36-19 lead into intermission.
"The last couple of weeks Lauren has really been shooting the ball well," said Avon coach Brad Poppe. "She's worked really hard to get to the rim and that's opening some things up for her."
Alexa Sees followed with 17 points for Avon. The Pirates (14-5) were 32 of 55 shooting from the field. Avon outrebounded TDA 33-29 and committed seven turnovers.
"Lauren Sees is a really good basketball player," said Nighthawks coach Marc Reiner. "We thought we had a scheme to slow her down, but it obviously didn't work. We dug ourselves a hole and we couldn't come back from it."
Reiner, the TDA senior standout who intends to play at Dakota Wesleyan next season, led her team with 20 points and seven rebounds. She was followed by Gerber with 15 points.
The Nighthawks (12-5) were 14 of 55 from the floor. TDA closes the regular season at No. 4-ranked Corsica-Stickney in Corsica on Tuesday, hosting Scotland on Thursday in Tripp and No. 1 Ethan in Armour on Friday.
Entering the final week of the regular season, Avon closes with a home game on Monday against Gayville-Volin. After a 6-5 start to the season, the Pirates have won eight games in a row, bookended by Friday's win over TDA and the Jan. 19 win over then-No. 2 Corsica-Stickney in the Great Plains Conference Classic in Yankton.
"It was a good team effort and we have to keep people healthy," Poppe said. "Our kids have been coming to practice and working hard. We just want to keep doing what we're doing and see what happens."
TDA 9 19 32 43
Avon 21 36 54 74
Tripp-Delmont/Armour (12-5): Mattilynn Reiner 20, Ashlee Gerber 15, Kianna Payer 3, Bailey Spaans 3, Ally Bertram 1, Megan Reiner 1.
Avon (14-5): Lauren Sees 34, Alexa Sees 17, Tiffany Pelton 8, Madisyn Cameron 5, Shalayne Nagel 4, Tori Schryvers 4, KaCee Zacharias 2.