by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
For the Rogers girls, the state basketball tournament experience was not what they hoped for.
The Royals suffered from abysmal field-goal shooting and lost their first-round game to DeLaSalle 47-23 on Wednesday, and most had teary eyes as they left Williams Arena a half-hour later.
“Any time you get this far and have the run we had, it’s very disappointing for the girls to lose it, because you want one more game,” said coach Jeremy Digiovanni. “And the way we performed today, that was disappointing to them, too.”
The Royals, who won a section with no powerful teams, ended the season 15-15 with the loss to No. 2 ranked DeLaSalle (25-4).
A long-shot underdog, they needed good shooting to have a chance to stay with the Islanders — and instead went 0-for-18 from the field in the first half, seven of them layups, and 2-for-38 in the game.
Not until their 25th shot did they get one to drop, that being Shelby Beach’s layup after a steal to make the score 30-12. Their only other made field goal was another layup after steal, by Emily Reichert.
“We couldn’t buy a basket, especially in the first half,” understated Digiovanni. “When you miss as many easy shots as we did in the first half, those are heart-breakers, and the kids get frustrated and try to do a little too much. They tried to alter their shots to account for (DeLaSalle’s) size inside and their athletic ability.”
DeLaSalle got 20 points and 14 rebounds from sophomore post Tyseanna Johnson, with sophomore guard Mariah Adanene adding 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Royals did connect on 19 of 27 free shots. Top scorers were Beach with six (4-for-6 at the line), Reichert with five (3-for-4) and Jordyn Motter with five (5-for-7). Maria Loughlin, senior guard who led the section finals win with 22 points, and had over 800 points in her career, was 0-for-8 and scoreless.
Rogers, whose season field percentage is about 36 percent, has shot poorly on a number of occasions, including their 51-36 win over Monticello in the section finals when only two of their close-range shots were made.
“All year, we have struggled with our shooting at times, and we just picked a bad day to have a bad day shooting,” said the coach. “We had way too many empty possessions against a very good team.”
DeLaSalle coach Faith Johnson said she thought Rogers “looked like they had pretty good shooters” while watching them in warmups. She chose to go man-to-man press rather than the various zone defenses she was sure Rogers had scouted “because we didn’t want to get them started (shooting) by sitting back in a zone.”
Johnson felt her team executed very well defensively and could understand why Rogers had such a tough time.
“We are long a ‘long’ team and definitely had the height advantage and those kids are deceptively quick, too, and have long arms, so if someone like that is sticking with you, it can be a little bit intimidating.”
Rogers made its first six free shots, and had early leads of 2-0 and 4-2, before the roof fell in at the Barn.
DeLaSalle 47, Rogers 23
Rogers ……………. 9 14 — 23
DeLaSalle …….. 26 21 — 47
Rogers — Emily Reichert 5 (10 reb, 2 stl), Shelby Beach 6 (6 reb), Maria Loughlin 0 (3 stl), Jordyn Motter 5 (6 reb), Morgan Edstrom 2 (5 reb), Rachel Sharp 0, Kirsten Heikkinen 1, Shelby Darr 0, Kelsey Frain 2, Courtney McClay 0, Megan Dobberstein 2 (2 stl), Lindsay Dorr 0 … Team totals: 2-38 FG, 0-7 3FG, 19-27 FT, 35 rebounds, 9 fouls, 18 turnvoers
DeLaSalle — Allina Starr 8 (7 stl, 5 ast, 7 reb), LaTanza Britts 3, Tyseanna Johnson 20 14 reb), Chanel Dickinson 2, Maria Adanene 12 (8 reb, 4 ast, 3 blk) Maria Phillips 0, Dejhaunna Hodges 0, Cori Garner 0, Claire Thomas 2, Samantha Dornsbach 0, Anecia White 0, Paige Rodriguez 0, Joi Jones 0, Jasper McNeal 0 ….Team totals: 20-59 FG, 3-15 3FG, 4-7FT, 48 rebounds, 21 fouls, 16 turnovers