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Star Tribune Recap of Pirates victory

March 19, 2014
Park Center Girls Basketball

Recap from MN Girls Basketball Hub, by Jim Paulson:

Jitters removed, 3A top seed Park Center rolls to 68-53 victory over Simley

By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune
03/18/2014, 7:30pm CDT

The Pirates fell behind by 9 points in the first half before taking control of the game.

Park Center spent the first half of its 68-53 Class 3A quarterfinal victory over Simley dealing with a serious case of nerves. The Pirates spent the second half looking much more like the team that earned the tournament’s No. 1 seed.

“First-half jitters?” asked Park Center coach Chris VanderHyde, whose team was making its first girls’ basketball state tournament appearance. “I had first-half jitters, I know that.”

With a pair of 6-foot-plus forwards in Abby Kain and Kylie Brown, it was assumed that Simley would attempt to beat the shorter Pirates inside. At least, that’s what VanderHyde thought. But Simley guards Maria Paulsen and Maya DeLao found the freedom on the perimeter too good to pass up and helped the Spartans build a nine-point lead that eventually became a 30-26 halftime advantage.

“I had to ditch our game plan because it wasn’t working,” VanderHyde said. “We were sagging off of them, thinking they’d go to their big girls.”

The change in defensive strategy opened things up on the other end of the court for Park Center (24-5). All-Metro forward Cayla McMorris started finding a groove, and her teammates took turns making their mark. The Pirates outscored Simley 42-23 in the second half.

McMorris had 24 points, 16 after halftime, and 14 rebounds. Mikayla Hayes, daughter of former Gopher Dana Joubert-Hayes, added 16 points. McKenna DuBois keyed the go-ahead rally by hitting back-to-back three-pointers.

“It allowed us to move around a little more, play more free,” VanderHyde said.

Brown scored 14 points to lead the Spartans (22-8).

First report

Park Center spent one half dealing with first-time jitters and another showing why it earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A bracket.

The Pirates, making the first state tournament appearance in team history, trailed Simley by as many as nine points in the first half, then outran the Spartans after halftime to emerge with a 68-53 victory in the Class 3A quarterfinals Tuesday at Target Center.

All-metro forward Cayla McMorris led the Pirates with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Center Mikayla Hayes added 16 points and guard McKenna DuBois had 13 points, including a stretch of eight straight in the second half to spark the Pirates comeback.

Check back later for more on the game.


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