NEW YORK MILLS -- Victories have been at a premium the past two seasons for the New York Mills girls basketball team, making Tuesday night's season-opening 46-32 victory an important step for a program looking to return to winning ways.
"It feels amazing to start the season off with a win," junior guard Tori Kempenich said. "We really wanted to set a good tone for the season and we knew that we could gain more confidence if we got the W against them."
Rothsay held leads of 8-5 and 8-7 after a basket from Eagle junior McKenna Roberts, but those were the only two leads of the game for the Tigers.
New York Mills (1-0) led 20-13 at halftime.
A free throw from Tigers' forward Caitlin Simmer cut the Eagles' lead to six points two minutes into the second half, but the Eagles would consistently expand their advantage.
Senior EmaLeigh Roberts led all scorers with 16 points and Roberts sealed the game from the free throw line shooting 8-10 from the stripe in the second half, including the final seven made in a row.
Ellie Rutten scored 12 points. Rutten led a late first half charge scoring six of her points in the midst of an 8-1 run to close the first 18 minutes.
Ashley Maack led Rothsay with 10 points and Caitlin Simmer added eight points.
The Tigers (0-1) were plagued by poor free throw shooting in the first half. Both teams combined for 20 first half fouls.
The victory snaps an 11-game losing streak for New York Mills. The Eagles record the past two seasons was 6-45, posting only two wins last season.
The Eagles will play their first game on the road at annual powerhouse Parkers Prairie Thursday, Nov. 29.
The Panthers (1-0) defeated Bertha-Hewitt 56-45 at home to open their season.
Parkers Prairie was 27-3 last season and less than kind to the Eagles defeating New York Mills 83-14.
"Hopefully, we can gain more momentum as the season goes on," Kempenich said. "We're looking to be quicker also with new girls on the court. Starting the season off with a win hasn't happened in the past two years either so that's a lot of confidence."
Rothsay at New York Mills, Tuesday, November 27.
Tigers 13 19 - 32
Eagles 20 26 - 46
Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) --NYM: EmaLeigh Roberts 4-0-8-10-16; Ellie Rutten 6-0-0-0-12; McKenna Roberts 2-0-3-4-7; Abbe Hendrickx 2-0-2-4-6; Amber Barvels 1-0-0-0-2; Lydia Irons 0-0-1-2-1. Team: 15-0-16-24-46.