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Tigers stay on top of WCC South race

Tiger Heather Gagner looks for a way around Benson's Jenny Bouta Tuesday at Morris Area.

The Morris Area/ Chokio-Alberta girls' basketball team defeated Benson 52-44 Tuesday at home to improve to 8-1 in the West Central Conference South.

Minnewaska also won Tuesday and remained in a tie with the Tigers at 8-1.

"On a night when the perimeter players shot a combined 7 of 35 (20 percent), the Tigers still were able to somehow pull out a victory," said coach Ken Gagner. "It was not a pretty game to watch, but we were able to put together a couple of good defensive stands and fortunately for us it turned out to be enough.

"The key to the game was probably a five-minute stretch near halftime when we overcame a seven-point deficit to take a 34-28 lead into the half," said Gagner. "We were able to get some steals and offensive rebounds to spark the run."

The Tigers ended the game with a 31 percent (18-57) shooting average.

The Braves were 16-of-49 from the field.

At the free-throw line the Tigers hit 11 of 17, while the Braves were 13-of-21.

Megan Dierks was the offensive sharp shooter in the first half with 11 of her team-high 14 points.

Nicole Gillespie scored half of the Tigers' second-half points (9) as part of her 11-point night.

Also scoring were Mary Rentz and Stefanie Strobel with nine apiece, Alissa Melberg and Jenna Nelson with five apiece, and Heather Gagner with three.

Gillespie led the Tigers with eight rebounds. Strobel and Melberg each grabbed five.

Strobel also dished out five assists.

Gillespie and Rentz both recorded five steals for the Tigers.