The Mabel-Canton's girls' basketball team opened play last week with a visit to Lanesboro on Tuesday, Nov. 27. After the Burros took an early lead and enjoyed a six-point margin about midway through the first half, the Cougars roared back to win the game 57-43.

Lanesboro worked for high-percentage open shots, only airing six tries from beyond the arc. Mabel-Canton also worked for good shots and had more success inside as the game progressed, taking a 26-22 halftime lead. On the boards, the teams matched up evenly. Lanesboro recorded 23 rebounds, while Mabel-Canton grabbed 22.

"As a team, we started the game slow and got behind early," M-C coach Adam Wilder reported. "However, the girls responded in a positive way and we took our first lead with around 6 minutes left in the first half. The second half we made some adjustments and we were able to work the ball inside and stop most of their inside game."

Senior forward Christy Welscher led the Cougars with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Junior guard Lydia Geving scored 13 points, nabbed three steals and contributed five assists. Classmate Carly McCabe, also at guard, had 11 points, two assists and two steals. Junior forward Sara Lind had 11 points and four rebounds.

For Lanesboro, Bearson scored 18 points, snagged three rebounds and had two assists. Olivia Haug blocked two shots, grabbed nine rebounds and scored six points, including four of six from the free throw line. Alisa Warnes had seven rebounds and eight points. Besides keeping up the pressure on defense, Kirsten Ruen scored two points and added an assist.

Game number two occurred three nights later, when Spring Grove visited Mabel-Canton.

The Lions won the matchup, 61-35. Keys to the outcome were ball control, offensive rebounding, turnovers and steals.

Even though the Cougars (1-1 SEC) had enough height to block 10 Lion shots, they failed to snag any offensive rebounds. Each team recorded 17 defensive rebounds and Spring Grove had 15 offensive boards, but Mabel-Canton was hampered by a lack of second chances.

With 40 turnovers (10 forced by the Lion full-court press) and no second shots, the Cougars only got about half as many shots at the hoop (35) as Spring Grove (69).

Those 10 blocked shots helped M-C outshoot Spring Grove 43 percent to 37 percent, including a much better average in treys completed (three of eight compared to three of 14). Even so, it wasn't enough to make up for the lack of offensive opportunities.

Four of the five scoring runs belonged to Spring Grove. The Lions used a nine-point run to go up 13-2, but the Cougars answered with a nine-point run of their own. That was followed immediately by a 10-2 Spring Grove spurt that led to a 28-17 halftime margin. The visitors put the game out of reach with a 12-2 start to the second half.

For the Cougars, Sara Lind led with seven points. Danielle Paul and Lydia Geving each contributed six, while Carly McCabe scored five. Coranda Vickerman chipped in four points, while Christy Welscher added three. Amanda Rasmussen and Courtney Graves each had two points.

"Spring Grove came out fast and it took us a while to respond. I was very proud of the girls for how they responded to a physical Spring Grove team," Wilder said.

Spring Grove sophomore Samantha Bratland snagged a game-high seven rebounds and scored 11 points, both career-highs. Senior guard Addison Cross led the Lions with 14 points, five steals and four assists.