The Henning girls basketball season came to an end a little sooner than the team had hoped after losing to West Central Area in the Section 6A championship game on Thursday night by a score of 64-53.
Before getting into the game reports, head coach Mike Hepola wanted to thank all of the girls, his assistant coaches, the parents and Henning’s fans for a successful season. Earlier this year the team didn’t even know if they would have a season. Hepola said the team is a great group of people that supports each other and that is certainly appreciated.
“To my team thank you for your hard work this season and continuing to entertain our school and community with good basketball. To the underclassmen, let’s be sure to get after it this off-season so we can compete at a high level next season. To the seniors, thank you so much for your dedication and the work and time you put in for our program. You have been good leaders on and off the court and together as a group leave the program having won 67 games the past three seasons. Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of your lives and please don’t be strangers. You are always a part of the Hornet family!”Head coach Mike Hepola
Tuesday, March 23 Sub-Section championship vs. Underwood 58-45 won
On Tuesday the Hornets played what they knew would be their last home game of the season. The game was for the North Sub-Section championship against a good Underwood squad.
In the first half the Hornets started off a bit slow and Underwood jumped out to a double-digit lead early on. However, the Hornets came back and ended up holding a slight 27-26 halftime lead. In the second half Henning buckled down on defense and also solved their 1-3-1 defense a bit and got the shots they wanted as the Hornets stretched the lead to 15 at one point before winning by the final score of 58-45.
A very good shooting night again as Henning shot 45.1 percent as a team and had a points per possession of 1.08. That is down from where the Hornets have been, but is still very good.
The Hornets outrebounded the Rockets 33-20 and also had 7 steals. Senior Ellie Dague led the way just missing out on a rare triple-double by finishing with a game high 27 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Fellow senior guard Kylie Frederick had a great game offensively finishing with 19 points on 9-13 shooting and did a great job of attacking their 1-3-1 from behind on the baseline.
Megan Weber just missed double-figures finishing with 9 points on three 3-pointers. Megan Rinicker 2 points and Ally Hart 1 point rounded out Henning’s scoring.
The win gives Henning the Sub-Section championship to go along with their Park Region Conference Championship.
Faith Fisher 3 reb, 3 assists
Megan Rinicker 2 pts, 5 reb, 1 steal, 2 blocks
Ellie Dague 27 pts, 12 reb, 7 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks
Ally Hart 1 pt, 1 assist
Megan Weber 9 pts, 3 reb, 2 steals
Grace Hammer 1 reb
Kylie Frederick 19 pts, 4 reb, 1 assist, 3 steals
Thursday, March 25
Section 6A championship
game vs. West Central
Area 64-53 loss
Henning traveled to Fergus Falls High School for a rematch of last season’s section championship game.
Head coach Mike Hepola said the team knew they would be in a fight as West Central was playing some very good basketball as the third seed in the South. The Knights had beaten second seeded Parkers Prairie and top seeded Hancock the previous two games. WCA was really shooting the ball well and playing some tough basketball.
In the first half Henning jumped out to a small lead right away, but then WCA started to hit a couple shots and when they did miss they grabbed a few offensive rebounds and put the ball back in and ended up taking a double-digit lead at times. The Hornets were able to trim the lead to 7 at halftime as they trailed 36-29.
The second half was back and forth and Henning ended up tying the game at one point in the second half, but every time the Hornets seemed to make a move, the Knights responded with a big shot, a banked 3-pointer or a little run. The Hornets didn’t shoot the ball from the outside very well in this one as they were only 2-18 from the 3-point line and WCA was 8-28 from the 3-point line.
After Henning made a decent run, the Knights fought back and took their lead before winning by the final score of 64-53.
Hepola said the Hornets just didn’t play their best game on either end of the court as they gave up way more points than they would like to and on offense, too many turnovers and a poor shooting night made it tough for the team. Hepola said the Hornets have to give WCA credit as they made shots and plays when they needed to and that led them to the championship.
Individually, the Hornets were led by Ellie Dague and Kylie Frederick with 15 and 13 points respectively. Megan Weber and Faith Fisher just missed out on double-figures scoring 9 points each. Megan Rinicker 3 points, Makena Kenyon 2 points, Ally Hart and Grace Hammer 1 point each rounded out our scoring.
Dague led the team in rebounding with 10 rebounds for her second straight double-double, while Rinicker grabbed 9 rebounds. Dague led the team with 5 assists and 2 steals as well.
Hepola said it just wasn’t Henning’s night and he had to give WCA credit.
Henning finished its season at 20-2, won the Park Region Conference with a 12-0 record and won the Section 6A North Sub-Section Championship and were Section 6A Runner-ups. Hepola said once the team gets over the disappointment of not achieving their ultimate goal of a return trip to the state tournament, the team has a ton to be proud of.
“Thank you again to my entire team and especially the seniors for a great run, they certainly make us coaches look good,” said Hepola.
Faith Fisher 9 pts, 5 reb, 1 steal
Megan Rinicker 3 pts, 9 reb, 1 steal
Ellie Dague 15 pts, 10 reb, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Ally Hart 1 pt, 1 assist
Megan Weber 9 pts, 3 assists, 1 steal
Grace Hammer 1 pt, 4 reb, 1 block
Makena Kenyon 2 pts
Kylie Frederick 13 pts, 4 reb, 1 block