Girls Basketball: Rutten shines in Eagle playoff defeat
ULEN -- Even with a majority of seniors in the starting lineup, it was freshman Ellie Rutten who led the Eagles with an immense effort of 31 points and 20 rebounds in the opening round of Sub-section 6A-North.
The Eagles were unable to compliment their star center and were knocked out of the playoffs 60-45 by the No. 7 seeded Ulen-Hitterdal Spartans.
"I'm really proud of our girls' effort, especially in the second half," Ulen-Hitterdal Head Coach Josh Carlson said.
The Spartans blew open a close game at halftime outscoring New York Mills 32-20 in the second half.
The Eagles were down by as much as 14 points in the first half after a slow start dug them into a hole.
Down 25-13 with 6:30 until halftime, Rutten led a late run outscoring the Spartans, by herself, 12-3. Two free throws by Tori Kempenich cut Ulen-Hitterdal's lead to just three at the break, 28-25.
Coming out of the locker room, the Spartans focused their defensive energy on Rutten setting up a defensive zone to try to contain the freshman.
"She still got her rebounds and her points and definitely really proud of our girls," said Carlson.
Rutten was all over the floor dominating play, but the rest of her team only managed 14 total points.
Rutten scored 15 points in the second half, the rest of her team only five, including a near seven-minute scoring drought beginning at the 11:33 mark.
The Spartans, on the other hand, managed to find holes in the Eagle defense and continued to build on their lead.
"We were able to move the ball around and get to the hoop and that was the name of the game in the second half," Carlson said.
Rutten set up Kempenich after blocking a shot on the defensive end, grabbing the loose ball and starting the break, ultimately, getting the assist on Kempenich's bucket.
Jenna Esala added a late three-pointer cutting the Spartan lead to 15 points with 2:20 remaining.
Haley Henrickson led the Spartans tallying 17 points. Ciara Austinson scored 16.
The Spartans had 26 rebounds as a team, only six more than Rutten had alone for NY Mills. The Eagles won the rebounding battle totaling 37.
Ulen-Hitterdal forced 22 NY Mills turnovers and turned them into points.
Ulen-Hitterdal improves to 5-22 overall and will move on the face the No.2 seed Waubun Bombers on Thursday, March. 1.
The Eagles finish their season with a record of 2-23, with both wins coming over winless Pillager.
After a rough year, the future is bright for the Eagles if they can build around Rutten's incredible talent.
Her display and effort Tuesday night was remarkable.
Section 6A playoffs.
New York Mills at Ulen-Hitterdal, Monday, Feb. 27.
Eagles 25 20 - 45
Spartans 28 32 - 60
Scoring stats (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) --NYM: Rutten 31; Kempenich 63 Esala 3; Hendrickx 3.
U-H: Henrickson 17; Austinson 16; Aranda 9; Erickson 7; Baumann 4; Anderson 4; Klemetson 2, K. Baumann 1.