Mustangs GBB fends off Nedrose on the road, 51-41

Justin Martinez/MDN Surrey's Olivia Wattendorf (right) chases down Nedrose's Hailey Roberts (left) to contest a fastbreak layup during the Mustangs' 51-41 win over the Cardinals Saturday on the road.

It was all about how the Surrey Mustangs responded.

The Surrey girls basketball team (6-5) made a statement on the road Saturday, toppling Nedrose (8-3) in a 51-41 victory. The Mustangs stayed composed in hostile territory, refusing to relinquish their lead for the entire second half despite a series of comeback efforts by the Cardinals.

The win comes at the perfect time for a Surrey team that was eager to bounce back from a 42-33 loss to Lewis & Clark-Berthold at home less than 24 hours prior.

“We had a really rough night (against Lewis & Clark),” Surrey head coach Erica Fairchild said. “But the girls really turned it around today and just dug deep. Nedrose has a heck of a team this year and they made runs, so this was a good win for us.”

Both teams battled hard in the first half, as neither group managed to gain much separation.

The largest lead came in the closing seconds of the second quarter when Surrey sophomore Zoe Mueller heaved a contested three that found the bottom of the net at the buzzer, giving the Mustangs a 28-24 edge at halftime.

The Mustangs pulled away in the third quarter thanks in part to sophomore Katheryn Aberle, who tallied five points in the quarter. On the defensive end, Surrey held the Cardinals to just six points and forced a number of turnovers that resulted in transition scores to take a comfortable 40-30 lead into the fourth quarter.

“I really think we got into transition well today,” Aberle said. “We were just passing the ball around, pushing ourselves and working as a team.”

But the Cardinals didn’t go down without a fight. Junior guard Hailey Roberts kicked off the final quarter with a three from the corner, and teammate A’Lexis Crawford sank a turnaround jumper down low on the following Nedrose possession to trim Surrey’s lead down to just five points.

The Mustangs’ lead shrunk to as little as four points with 2:25 left in regulation before Aberle delivered the dagger. The sophomore found some space in the corner and launched a three that was nothing but net, giving her team a 47-40 lead.

Solid defense, good boxing out and converted free throws down the stretch by Surrey prevented any hopes of a Nedrose comeback, and the Mustangs went on to claim the 51-41 victory.

“I thought we boxed out and passed the ball well today,” Fairchild said. “I really hope our girls are able to see that the little things make a huge difference. When they do those things like they did today, good things follow.”

Aberle finished with a game-high 16 points, while Olivia Wattendorf tallied 12 points. For the Cardinals, Roberts recorded a team-high 13 points in a loss that the team hopes to shake off as it tries to get into midseason form after the holiday break.

“I thought our girls had a good attitude the whole game and kept working hard,” Nedrose head coach Charles Miller said. “But I think we’re a little flat after the two weeks off, so now we just have to condition ourselves and return to our old ways.”

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