All according to plan

Berthold girls basketball coach Kayla Lambrecht kept her game plan simple for the Bombers’ game with Our Redeemer’s Christian School: capitalize on mismatches, crash the boards and limit freshman guard Morgan Olson.

The Bombers achieved all three goals and came away with a 54-44 victory against the Knights in the District 12 Showcase on Saturday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

It was a collective effort for Bethold, which had three players finish in double figures, led by senior guard Bethany Limke with 16. Forwards Hannah Hornberger, at 5-foot-11, and Madison Erickson (5-10) finished with 14 and 12, respectively.

“It helps to have two girls that are 5-10,” Lambrecht said. “There’s a couple mismatches down there that we took advantage of.”

Erickson did most of her damage in the first half, while Hornberger carried the load inside during the final 16 minutes. Hornberger – a senior – had just four points in the first half, but scored 10 in the third quarter.

Two free throws by Olson midway through the third quarter gave ORCS (8-9 overall, 2-4 district) its largest lead at 32-28. Hornberger scored 10 of the final 14 points as the Bombers (9-6, 4-2) closed out the third on a 12-2 run.

“For some reason we’re just not syncing together very well right now, so we have to try and figure that out,” ORCS coach Kory Nelson said. “(Berthold) did a good job. They wanted the game a little more. We embarrassed them last year at this thing so they wanted it a little worse than we did. They got it.”

The Knights crushed Berthold 83-56 last season.

Berthold sophomore Cassidy Limke hit the first two shots in the fourth quarter to give the Bombers a 44-34 cushion with 5:45 left.

“It was just patience with our offense,” Lambrecht said. “Working the ball around and getting open shots. We caught them off their guard a little bit and attacked the basket for second and third chances.”

Five straight points by ORCS senior guard Jenny Skees brought the Knights within five, but that was as close as they would get. The Bombers scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 53-41 lead – their largest of the contest. Berthold senior guard Bethany Limke tallied seven points in the fourth.

Skees finished with a game-high 19 points and hit four 3-pointers.

Defensively, the Bombers didn’t allow any ORCS basket to go unearned. They applied heavy ball pressure on the Knights’ guards and used their size down low to double team ORCS’ forwards when they got the ball in the paint. Olson went scoreless in the first quarter and finished with 12 points.

“Teams are playing us a lot more aggressive than we’re used to, so we have to figure that out,” Nelson said. “The biggest thing is we need to be unselfish and set screens for each other. Good things will happen if we set those screens.”

The Knights took their first lead at 15-13 on freshman forward Emily Maasjo’s only basket of the game. ORCS led by three late in the first half before baskets by Hornbeger and Bethany Limke gave the Bombers a 24-23 advantage at the intermission.

Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.