Nothing easy

Velva GBB locks down Nedrose for a critical district win

Justin Martinez/MDN Velva junior Kaitlyn Lund (left) goes up for a layup on a fast break while Nedrose’s Hailee Miller (10) contests during the Aggies’ 59-25 win over Nedrose at home on Monday.

VELVA — With the Cardinals hot on their trail, the Aggies kicked it into another gear.

The No. 9-ranked Velva girls basketball team (15-2, 4-2 District 11) had a hard time shaking a resilient Nedrose squad (12-6, 4-2 District 11) in the early going of its home contest on Monday. Leading 12-9 entering the second quarter, the Aggies caught fire from deep and played some lockdown defense the rest of the way to create separation and claim a 59-25 victory.

“I think the girls came out with a lot of energy,” Velva head coach Chris Braaten said. “Especially in a district game you want to play well, and I felt that we did that tonight. It was a good night for us.”

The Cardinals kept pace in the opening quarter thanks in part to junior guard Hailey Roberts. The Velva defense had no answer for the 5-foot-6 menace, who recorded four points off a pair of layups to make it a 12-9 contest at the break.

That’s when Emma Passa and the Aggies began to pull away. After going 1-for-4 in the opening quarter from deep, Passa splashed home three triples in the second quarter.

The junior was one of three different Velva players to connect from long range in the quarter as the Aggies lit up the scoreboard with five 3-pointers.

“It gets difficult to know what to defend when we’re (making threes),” Braaten said. “It was good to get that going.”

Velva also stepped up its intensity on defense, harassing the Cardinals with a full-court press that gave the road team problems. The Aggies outscored Nedrose, 17-3, in the second quarter to take a commanding 32-12 lead into halftime.

That stout defense carried into the second half, as Nedrose managed to score just 13 points in the final two quarters.

“Defensively, we knew we had to tighten things up,” Braaten said. “We wanted to get some steals and get some momentum with those turnovers. It all starts on defense.”

Meanwhile, Passa kept firing away from deep and kept connecting with the bottom of the net. The junior drilled another two triples and finished with a game-high 26 points to lead her team the 59-25 win.

Aiding Passa were seniors Hope Brewer with 10 points and Rachel Mack with eight points. Roberts totaled a team-high 17 points for the Cardinals in the losing effort.

With the win, the Aggies claimed the No. 2 seed in the District 11 standings, followed by Nedrose and TGU — all of which finished with a 4-2 District 11 record. Rugby went unbeaten (6-0) in district play to win the regular-season district title.

Velva will look to finish its regular season on a high note when it hosts Our Redeemer’s on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“We’re still growing and trying to get better every day,” Braaten said. “I like the momentum we have so far, so hopefully we’ll keep it up and carry that into the district tournament.”

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


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