By Brenda Erdahl, Sports Editor
The Irish girls basketball team dropped two games last week including a heartbreaker to top-inthe- conference Eden Valley-Watkins.
Maple Lake kicked off the week against non-Central Minnesota Conference and non-section foe Royalton on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at home and fell 70-59.
On Thursday, Feb. 1, the Irish hosted the Eagles and lost 53-52 after an exciting second half.
Royalton is led by first year coach Brad Baumann who taught and coached in Maple Lake for nearly 10 years. The Irish controlled the first half against Baumann’s team, but Royalton dominated the second half.
Maple Lake came out red hot, Monday and jumped to a 20-6 lead midway through the first half, but a 20-6 run by the Royals gave them a 29-26 lead by the break.
Royalton started the second half on a 7-0 run to pick up right where they left off, and Maple Lake was never able to recover. The Royals stretched their lead to as many as 16 at one point which the Irish managed to cut, but still came up short.
Linsey Rachel led all scorers and picked up her eighth doubledouble of the season with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists; Grace Heying was one point short of a double-double with her nine points and 11 rebounds; and Calli Maki, and Mollie Scheiber had 13 points and 9 points respectively.
“Turnovers were the story,” coach Adam Ronnenberg said. “We really struggled to take care of the ball, but it was in large part to what Royalton did on defense. Valuing the basketball has been a focus for us a lot this season. Our success will really hinge on how well we take care it.”
Maple Lake had 15 assists in Tuesday night’s game. The Irish also shot 45 percent from the floor compared to just 38 percent by Royalton, but had a season high 27 turnovers.
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