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Top seed Trojans to face Willmar Saturday
The New Prague Trojan girls basketball team appears to be peaking at the right time of year.
New Prague, ranked No. 7 in Class AAA, closed the regular season on a fivegame winning streak, capped by a 68-49 win over No. 4- ranked Chaska. On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the Trojans kept that streak going with a convincing 74-24 win over New Ulm in the first round of the Section 2AAA playoffs.
New Prague (20-6) finished tied for second with Chaska in the Missota Conference, one game behind champion Chanhassen. The Trojans, seeded No. 1 in the section, will face No. 4 seed Willmar in the section semifinals. That game will be played at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
Trojans 62, Stars 55 New Prague and Holy Angels played a tight contest that saw the Trojans close out at the finish for a 62-55 win. Annie Dittberner led the Trojans with 20 points, while Lexi Ruehling had 13 and Maizie Deihl and Ella Grote had 11 each. Other Trojans scoring were Jess Allar (5) and Steph Hanson (2).
Hanson also had seven steals and five rebounds for the Trojans. Dittberner had four steals. Ruehling had five rebounds and six assists. Top rebounder was Deihl with six, while Allar and Grote had five each.
The Trojans totalled 22 steals and forced 30 Holy Angels turnovers as their pressure defense kept Holy Angels off balance throughout the game. Despite the aggressive defense, the Trojans committed just 10 fouls compared to 24 for the Stars. New Prague went 19-of-30 from the free throw line, while the Stars were just three-of-six.
Trojans 68, Hawks 49 New Prague attacked the No. 4-ranked Hawks, avenging an earlier loss and preventing them from earning a share of the Missota Conference title with a 68-49 win.
It was Senior Night at New Prague High School, and the Trojans’ three senior starters led the way. Hanson and Dittberner each had 16 points for the Trojans and Ruehling had 14. Allar added 11. Others scoring included Rachel Haecherl and Grote (4 each) and Deihl (3).
Other seniors who were honored were Rachel Thompson and Kayla Kroyer, both of whom saw action during the game.
The Trojans went after the Hawks on both ends of the court. Their defense bothered the Hawks all night, forcing 15 turnovers and the Trojans were aggressive on the offensive end against the taller Hawks, getting the ball inside to Ruehling, who was 6- of-8 from the field and made five trips to the free throw line. Ruehling added eight rebounds to lead the Trojans. Hanson dished out three assists.
Dittberner got in foul trouble in the first half, sitting out seven minutes, and also another five minute stretch in the second half, but Allar and Haecherl came off the bench and contributed on both offense and defense as the Trojans maintained the lead.
Trojans 74, Eagles 24 On paper it was appeared to be a mismatch, and on the hardwood it looked pretty much the same as No. 8-seed New Ulm (0-21) faced off against top-seeded New Prague (18-6) in the first round of the Section 2AAA tournament Tuesday, Feb. 26.
New Prague led 49-15 at halftime and outscored the Eagles 25-9 in the second half. The last nine minutes were played with running time as the Trojans had built a 35-point lead.
New Prague used 15 players in the first half, with the starters in for a little more than half of the 18 minutes. They came back in for the first five minute of the second half before giving way to the bench.
Dittberner led the Trojans with 18 points and Ruehling had 11. Others scoring were Grote (9), Hanson (8), Deihl and Haecherl (6 each), Daryus Dunbar (4), McKenzie Trewartha and Maddie Giesen (3 each), and Jenna Cox, Korey Wilson and Kayla Kroyer (2 each).