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Eagles look to break to regroup

Eighth-grader Ellie Rutten has been a leader, despite her age, for a New York Mills girls basketball team trying to find itself while spending most of its time on the road.

The New York Mills Eagles girls basketball team is going into the holiday break looking for a change of momentum.

The Eagles dropped three games in four days all on the road last week. New York Mills traveled to: Battle Lake Tuesday, losing 52-40, at Verndale Thursday, 56-38, and back on the road Friday at Eagle Valley for a 60-37 loss.

The Eagle girls have been a few plays from changing the tide of games so far this year.

"We came out playing very well taking a 8-0 early lead against Battle Lake," Head Coach J.J. Weller said. "We played aggressive on offense and defense."

Up early against Battle Lake, the Battlers crept back into the game, but surrendered a one-point deficit to New York Mills at the half 20-19.

Battle Lake made more of their shots in the second half while the Eagles battled to get shots to go down.

"We had a six minute stretch in the second half, where we seemed like we couldn't find the end of the bucket from the field or the free throw line."

The Eagles kept playing hard and crept back in the game, but came up a little short having to play for the steals at the end.

Battle Lake converted the foul shots to seal the victory.

"Overall, we played our best game of the year so far. We've been trying to build on the positives and cut out the mistakes and its helped us stay more competitive in each game."

This was easily a game where, if a few buckets here or there went the Eagles' way, a victory was in the cards.

"I'm proud of how our girls never gave up and played hard to the final whistle. We showed we can play with a good team and put ourselves in a position to win games. Even though we came out on the losing end, it was a positive game that we can build on. The girls were a little disappointed we couldn't turn this game into a victory, but hopefully that fire to compete and win will keep us going and next time we can end up on the winning end."

Eighth-grader Ellie Rutten continues to impress. She scored 20 points versus Battle Lake and led all Eagles' shooters against Verndale scoring 10.

One area to improve upon is becoming accustomed to playing against aggressive opponents.

After Parkers Prairie made a blue print of the effectiveness of the full-court press against the Eagles, it has appeared in other games.

Verndale capitalized on turnovers created by their press to break open a close first half on way to their 18-point victory.

The Eagles trailed by three with 7:10 on the clock in the first half when Verndale applied the trap leading to numerous lay-ups and trips to the foul line.

By half, the lead was 15 points at 33-18, due to an insult to injury three-pointer at the buzzer by Verndale's Lizzy Yungbauer.

Verndale outscored New York Mills 23-20 in the second half for the victory.

"When teams put different fronts and traps on us we sometimes rush ourselves and get out of what we need to do offensively. We need to learn to see the court and recognize what the defense is doing and adjust our playing so we are attacking the weaknesses of that defense or their traps. When we do that, we usually play a lot a better," Weller said.

The Eagles will host their first home game Tuesday, Dec. 28 against Ulen-Hitterdal.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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