It took them three quarters to warm to the task, but Minster used the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches in Monday’s win over Jackson Center.
Minster – Maybe it was the 20 degree temperatures outside…what was forecast to be the coldest winter night yet.
Maybe the heater was broken on the bus…and nobody ever warmed to the task.
Or, maybe it was the physical nature of Monday’s non-conference clash between the two black and oranges…Minster and Jackson Center.
Or, as Minster assistant coach Mike Wiss put it, “It’s the first back from the Christmas break for everyone. It’s just been a sluggish day around here.”
Whatever…as the kids say. It made for an ugly basketball game to watch, a frustrating game for both teams to play, and in the end…one that took Minster all four quarters to eventually turn the lights out on Jackson Center, who simply would not relent in their effort, or toughness. Final score: 42-27.
Whatever it was, it amounted to Minster’s 9th win of the season against 2 losses; Jackson left with a 7-3 record, and probably wishing for a lot of missed first half shots from point-blank range. Six different players eventually scored for the Tigers, led by sophomore center Olivia Clark, who had 8 points.
“I expected it to be this way,” said Minster coach Nan Stechschulte. “Jackson has always been a physical team when we’ve played them and I told the girls to prepare for that kind of game. It was physical, it was sluggish. That’s the best way to describe it. There was a lot of contact, different officials call things different ways, and it did take us a while to get into a rhythm.”
It took a while, yes…and it took junior Rosie Westerbeck, who led Minster in scoring with 13 points, exactly 30% of the Wildcats’ total.
Westerbeck was great – running the floor, scoring, defending, and rebounding…besides hitting all four of her free throw attempts. And, she did all this while battling back from being physically run down following a bout of wisdom tooth extraction. So who even wants to play basketball, eh?
“Rosie had a great night for us, 13 points and a bunch of rebounds, too,” said Stechschulte. “Everyone has a role on this team, and we always want to feed Rosie when she’s hot…or even when she’s not because she can create a lot of things. And, she rebounds, so getting her involved the way she was tonight just adds another dimension to our game.
“We have so many players who make a contribution without scoring a lot of points. Hannah (Schmitmeyer) only had four points for us tonight, but she does so many other things that you don’t notice. And Ali Borgerding didn’t score at all tonight, but I was very happy with the way she played. It was her first action since having surgery and it was good for her to just get on the court.”
Westerbeck looked no worse for the wear when it was over, or, for the fact of playing with wisdom…but no wisdom teeth. A 5’10” junior, she was all smiles to talk about her night.
“The wisdom teeth and everything else I’ve been going through has just been a minor setback,” she assured. “And I can’t thank my teammates and coaches enough because they’ve been super supportive. They’ve really helped me fight through and be strong.”
She might easily have felt that she returned the favor for her contribution Monday.
“It did seem a little slow,” she added. “We like to run the ball and the flow of the game just wasn’t there. There were a lot of ticky-tacky fouls that slowed down the game, and it was kind of robotic for a while…hard to get any kind of momentum.
“I owe my game tonight to my teammates. They worked hard to get me the open shots and we all work hard together. It’s a team effort and you just do as much as you can do and let everything else fall into place. It’s a big month for us – some big road games this week (Anna on Tuesday and then Delphos St. John) – and we’re very excited to attack the challenge in front of us.”
To the point that Mike Wiss made, we asked. How hard is it to come back and play after two weeks off for Christmas vacation?
“Actually, we did play during the break,” said Westerbeck. “We were constantly in the gym and we played in Lima Bath’s holiday tournament. But the first day back to school is different. We have block scheduling so not everyone has the same kind of day on the first day back. Mine was actually kind of easy.”
Which, too, might have accounted for why it took so long for Stechschulte’s team to get their blood up for the task on Monday. And perhaps, just in time.
“We’re going to need this to get ready for the month ahead,” she assured. “Tough games coming up, starting tomorrow.”
Big games, starting the first day back…thanks to Jackson Center, and a big night from Rosie Westerbeck.