Olson leads young Knights to 54-30 win

Alex Eisen/MDN Our Redeemer's senior guard Tessa Olson, 32, launches a shot from the corner during Our Redeemer's 54-30 win over Powers Lake in the opening round of the Nedrose Invitational Tournament Thursday.

It didn’t really matter how Powers Lake chose to defend Tessa Olson. The ball was still going to go in.

After scoring Our Redeemer’s first eight points of its opening-round matchup against Powers Lake in the Nedrose Invitational Tournament with some aggressive takes to the rim, the Knight’s only senior found herself with the ball in her hands once again at the top of the arc.

Having recognized her defender was backing off, Olson faked a drive, stepped back and launched a three. The shot found the bottom of the net without even touching the rim to give her team an 11-4 lead and cap off her one-woman scoring spree.

The Knights never relinquished the lead after Olson’s first-quarter burst, and Our Redeemer’s cruised to an emphatic 54-30 win over Powers Lake on Thursday to advance to the semifinals.

“This was a good win for us,” Olson said. “It was nice to get out to a quick lead. I just tried to shoot when I was open, play my game and help my team.”

The Ranchers seemed to have regrouped in the second quarter as they battled to trim the Our Redeemer’s lead to 19-15 with 3:25 left until halftime.

But Olson snatched the momentum away, scoring six points in what became a 16-3 Knights run to end the quarter. Our Redeemer’s forced four turnovers during the run with some tenacious half-court defense, all of which led to an easy Knights layup on the other end.

Just like that, Powers Lake found itself trailing by a score of 35-18 at halftime.

“I thought we had a lot of hustle out there,” ORCS head coach Scott Peterson said. “We just played good, solid half-court defense, which is something we’d been working on this past week.”

The lead ballooned to as much as 24 points in the third quarter as Our Redeemer’s kept its foot on the gas. Five different Knights players managed to score, giving the team a commanding 46-22 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Knights went on to secure the 54-30 win and punch their ticket to the semifinals. Olson finished with 25 points to go along with four steals, while junior guard Tea Boeckel recorded 10 points.

Powers Lake’s Hanna Grub tallied a team-high seven points in the loss. The Ranchers will take on Rolette/Wolford today at 4:30 p.m. in the consolation semifinals.

Next up for the Knights is a semifinal matchup against Nedrose today at 7:30 p.m. with a trip to the championship on the line. For a young Our Redeemer’s team that hasn’t shied away from calling this season a rebuilding year, reaching the championship would be a major boost for the Knights moving forward.

“We’re starting to play well together as a team,” Olson said. “There’s not as much pressure on us this year, and we’re just looking forward to playing (Nedrose) and having fun.”

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.