John Marshall, the team atop the Big Nine standings, jumped out to a 10-3 lead over top-ranked Red Wing. Wingers head coach Jesse Nelson called a timeout to regroup his team, and from then on the Wingers slowly chipped away at John Marshall's lead, eventually going ahead and holding on to win 57-50 on Friday.
During the timeout, Nelson said he saw a much better effort defensively.
"At that point, I thought we needed something to change the momentum or slow things down," Nelson said. "After the timeout, we settled down. (John Marshall) came out on fire, and then they hit a bunch of shots. Then we were able to match them. When both teams settled down, I thought our defensive effort carried us and allowed us to chip away at their lead. Then, finally, build a lead."
The Winger defense held John Marshall in check from that point on, and Red Wing had a number of consecutive possessions with offense hitting 3-pointers.
Coming out of halftime with a 31-26 lead, John Marshall started on a 5-0 run. Again, the Wingers were forced to stop the bleeding with strong defense. Sydney Rahn, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, came off bench and scored the first seven points for the Wingers in the second half. Lindsay Reps then hit a 3-pointer with under 8 minutes to go in the game. The Wingers were off and running. It was the boost of energy from the defense, and remaining patient on offense, that Reps said propelled the team to the win.
"At the beginning of the game and at halftime, (Nelson) was saying if shots aren't falling and our offense isn't flowing just get after it on the defensive end," said Reps, who scored a game-high 18 points and hit 4 of 9 shots from behind the arc. "We always say defense starts the offense."
Red Wing improved to 18-2 overall and 14-2 in the Big Nine. The Wingers next travel to Owatonna on Monday.
"Great team effort and great team win," Nelson said. "We want to keep things rolling as we move into next week where we have games on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday."