The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs dropped to 3-7 on the season with a 48-40 loss to the Britton-Hecla Braves Friday on the road. A third quarter struggle led to the locals demise.
Both teams started off the night a little slow and sluggish, but Milbank Area held a 7-0 advantage late in the opening quarter. Field goals by Caryssa Mielitz and Sophia Seffrood and two free throws by Karlee Mertens gave the Lady Bulldogs the early 13-2 first quarter lead.
Britton-Hecla stepped up its game and played even with the Lady Bulldogs throughout the second period. Milbank Area held a solid 22-9 advantage late in the period before Mikaela Hoeke wrapped up the first half scoring with two free throws. The Lady Bulldogs felt confident with a 24-12 lead at the midway mark. “It was great to see us get off to such a great start,” noted Milbank Area head coach Joe Frederiksen.
Troubles began for the locals in the third quarter. Britton-Hecla added more pressure with its defensive zone and controlled its offensive rebounds. Mertens added two free throws early in the quarter to maintain a 26-15 Lady Bulldog lead. With poor shot selection, turnovers and defensive pressure from the Braves, Milbank Area was unable to work the ball inside and could not get solid shots off. Britton-Hecla went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 26-24. The Braves put on a full court press midway through the quarter that Milbank Are was not able to handle. The Lady Bulldogs ended the quarter with just four points and numerous turnovers and trailed 28-31 heading into the final stanza where they were unable to recover.
“Britton-Hecla came out in the second half with more pressure and we did not handle that as well as we should have,” said Frederiksen. “I am proud of how we kept battling, but just were not able to overcome that third quarter deficit.”
Mielitz led the locals with 17 points, eight rebounds, five steals and one turnover. Mertens followed with nine points, three boards, three steals and four turnovers. She went 7-7 from the charity stripe. Molly Rick tallied six points, two rebounds and two turnovers while Hoeke added six points, three rebounds and one turnover. Seffrood rounded out the scoring for Milbank Area with two points, one rebound and one turnover. Also contributing for the Lady Bulldogs were Shelby Hooth, four rebounds and three turnovers; Mikaela Street, three rebounds and two turnovers, and Mackayla Schuelke, two rebounds, three steals and one turnover.
Milbank Area shot 29 percent from the field, making 11 of 38 attempts. The Lady Bulldogs finished the game with 35 rebounds, 13 steals and 22 turnovers.
Britton-Hecla went 14 for 41 from the field for 34 percent shooting on the night. The Braves won the contest with 30 rebounds, 14 steals and 17 turnovers.
Milbank Area will travel to Hayti Thursday, January 21, to face the Hamlin Chargers. The locals will then host West Central Saturday, January 23, as part of double header action.
Junior Varsity and C team – The Milbank Area junior varsity team secured a 45-12 victory over the Britton-Hecla Braves Friday night. The C team secured a 31-23 win over Canby, MN, Thursday, January 14, followed by a 34-12 victory over Hendricks, MN, Friday, January 15.