Kenzie Broadwater of the Falcons drives to the basket against Rushford-Peterson. COURTESY OF DAWN HAUGE
Kenzie Broadwater of the Falcons drives to the basket against Rushford-Peterson. COURTESY OF DAWN HAUGE
The bad news is, the Fillmore Central girls basketball team lost in the sub-section finals to Rushford-Peterson, 34-20. But the good news is, every one of the Lady Falcons has the opportunity to return next year, and try again, for the sub-section crown, and maybe more. The current roster consists of five juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen - good news for coach Sarah Tollefsrud.

Fillmore Central had a couple leads in the first half: 6-2, at the 12:04 mark and 8-5 with 6:42 left in the first half, and had several opportunities to add to their lead, but couldn't convert some field goal shots, and/or free throws. Good news: The Falcons were not playing very good offense, but only trailed by three at the intermission break, 13-10.

A couple free throws by Kendyl Bennett and a pair of baskets by Sammi Bakke put Fillmore Central up by three, 16-13, at the 11:50 mark, to start the second half. Little did they know that they were only going to score four more points in the game and lose the sub-section contest, 34-20. Rushford-Peterson outscored the Falcons 21-4 to finish off the game, a very disheartening loss for the Lady Falcons.

Defensively, it was a very productive game for the Falcons. Offensively, it just wasn't there for Fillmore Central. And it wasn't because they weren't trying. Offensively, the gals tried shots from the outside, inside, even getting a couple attempts from the free throw line - it just wasn't to be!

"I think we had a great plan," said coach Sarah Tollefsrud. "We were physically and mentally prepared, and we were ready. Our effort on defense was right where we wanted it to be. We really were keying in on RP's seniors and knew we had to have a solid defensive performance. Offense was something we really worked on and emphasized, but it just didn't go our way.

"Rushford-Peterson has a tough press and half-court set defense. We really needed to have good passes and limit our turnovers, an area we've struggled with all year...and it hurt us again today. We were able to work the ball around the perimeter very well, and maybe even too much at times. We really needed more inside play and more penetration to break down their defense, than we did.

"We also had some 'good looks' from the outside and opportunities inside, but just couldn't find the basket. After R-P went on a little 6-0 run in the second half, we just couldn't answer back and Rushford-Peterson had the momentum at that point and ran with it.

"I know there is no second guessing our work ethic today, because it was there, and our girls wanted the win. We can't hang our heads. Our girls have really improved and to be able to play in the sub-section final game was very special for us, regardless of the outcome. They are a great group of girls," she concluded.

Defensively, Morgan Malley and Kenzie Broadwater teamed up on R-P's leading scorer, Kendra Crawford (17.4 ppg), and held her to just two points. In defense of Crawford, R-P's assistant coach, Matt Helgemoe, said she was battling the flu, but still a good effort by the Falcon defense. While the Falcons were concentrating on the R-P seniors, and they did a great job of defending them, two freshmen came through with 22 of the team's 34 points.

The loss simply came down to a lack of offense on the Fillmore Central part, not a lack of defense!

Bakke led the team with three buckets and six points. Broadwater and Bennett added five each, with Malley and Kaitlynn Aug each adding a bucket. Malley, seven, and Aug, five, were tops in rebounds. Broadwater and Malley were the assist leaders, each with two, and Broadwater topped the "larceny" category with two steals.

With the loss, Fillmore Central finished the 2013-14 season with a record of 14 wins, and 13 losses. Against Section 1A teams, the Lady Falcons were 10-5, with three of those losses coming to Rushford-Peterson.