Girls hoops team impressive in 2 wins

New Prague’s Maizie Deihl goes for a lay-up during New Prague’s win over Austin. The eighth-grader had 11 points. To see more photos click on the blue button to the right. Chuck Kajer Photo

The New Prague Trojan girls basketball team improved its record to 3-1 on the season following a pair of wins over Big 9 Conference teams last week. The Trojans defeated Austin 71-60 and Mankato East (No. 6, Class AAA) 69-56. The Trojan girls were scheduled to play at Waconia Tuesday, Dec. 4. They host defending Class AAAA champion Hopkins (No 1, Class AAAA) on Friday, Dec. 7, and play at Glencoe- Silver Lake Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Trojans 71, Packers 60 New Prague was never really threatened in their home opener Tuesday, Nov. 27, against Austin. The Trojans had a comfortable halftime lead of 11 points and stretched the lead to as many as 22 points in the second half before pulling their starters. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Trojans’ dominance was an eightminute stretch in the second half when their top two scorers, Lexi Ruehling and Annie Dittberner, were both on the bench with four fouls. Instead of collapsing, the Trojans extended their lead during that stretch, not allowing Austin to get back into the game. Senior Steph Hanson picked up the slack for the Trojans. She had a careerhigh 20 points and had eight steals. Dittberner finished with 15 points and eighthgrader Maizie Deihl had 11. Also scoring for the Trojans were Ella Grote (8), Ruehling (7), Ashley Altschul (4), Kayla Kroyer (4), and Jess Allar (2). Grote pulled down six rebounds for the Trojans and Hanson and Ruehling each had four assists. As a team New Prague had 19 steals and forced 27 Austin turnovers while committing just 12.

Trojans 69, Cougars 56 Three Trojan seniors - Ruehling, Dittberner and Hanson - combined for 51 points as the Trojans upset No. 6-ranked Mankato East 69-56 on the Cougars’ home court Thursday, Nov. 29. “We have tremendous senior leadership on this team. The maturity they show on and off the court is as good as we have had here,” Trojan coach Ron Gunderson said. “This is a tight group that really enjoys the time they spend together. They are also very driven. They have set high goals and are willing to pay the price that achieving those goals brings.” Gunderson went on to say that Ruehling is playing strong in the post, and the two senior guards, Dittberner and Hanson, are controlling the tempo at both ends. “Ella Grote is making shots and battling inside while Jess Allar is strong on the defense. Kayla Kroyer, Maizie Diehl and Ashley Altschul are great coming off the bench,” he added. “We have some young players that will see time as the year progresses. This is a great group and I believe we will see improvement each night out.” Dittberner and Ruehling each had 20 points and Hanson added 11 as the Trojans pulled away from a tight game in the second half. Grote joined the three seniors in double figures, scoring 12, while Allar had 4 and Kroyer 2. The Trojans’ defensive pressure and shooting accuracy were factors in the win. New Prague had 15 steals and forced 23 turnovers, while shooting 50 percent from the field. They made 22 of 29 free throws (75.8 percent). East had an 33-25 advantage on the boards. Ruehling grabbed eight rebounds while Dittberner had 10 assists and four steals and Hanson and Grote added fours steals each.