Girls basketball: Hill-Murray bounces back in second half to gain win

Graskewicz hits late big 3-pointer

Hill-Murray 46 - Totino-Grace 43

In a tense girls basketball game that went down to the wire, the Hill-Murray Pioneers pulled ahead in the late stages to ground the Totino-Grace Eagles Friday, Jan. 3, at the Hill-Murray Field House.

“It was a hard-fought game right to the end. That three-point shot by No. 10 (Olivia Graskewicz) was somewhat of a killer,” stated Totino-Grace head coach Bill Essma.

“Our shooting wasn’t what I hoped it would be. But they are a tough team. In the end, it came down to just shooting,” Essma said.

Shooting was also somewhat a problem for the Pioneers, especially the number of layups that they missed.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s something in the water around here,” joked Hill-Murray veteran coach Erin Herman. “We’ve always seemed to have problems with layups.

“This game was a tale of two halves. We’re young and maybe our inexperience showed, especially in the first half.

“We struggled in several of our opening games, especially against a zone defense. We’ve talked about it, and still we’re having a problem, as you saw tonight.

Herman continued, “They have a good zone defense but then we hit one when we needed it most.”

Graskewicz said of the three-point shot from the left corner that gave the Pioneers a five-point—39-34—lead late in the game, “It felt good.” The junior captain smiled and added, “It felt especially good after I missed a bunch before.”

Both teams put up solid defenses and played hard throughout. The contest was tied just three times in the first half and Hill-Murray led just twice when the horn sounded ending the first 18 minutes with the Eagles owning a 22-20 halftime lead.

Totino-Grace came back to tie the score at 39-39 and again at 41. But a two-point shot off the fingertips of McKenzie Lindahl gave Hill-Murray a 43-41 lead with 26 seconds left in the game. When the Eagles were stopped on their next effort, they began to foul and the Pioneers made 3-of-4 from the line to end up on top of the three-point, 46-43, win.

Contributing to the winning effort for Hill-Murray was Lindsey Malecha with a game-high 16. Also in double figures was Lindahl 10, followed by Graskewicz 6, Ellie Schwartz 6, Nicole Thompson 4 and Sami Schneider 4.

The Pioneers will travel to North High Friday, Jan. 10, to meet the Polars at 7 p.m.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at


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