Girls Basketball | Lamb, defense carry Stewartville

Stewartville’s Erin Lamb (13) takes a shot Saturday as the Tigers battle Zumbrota-Mazeppa in the Section 1AA semifinals at Mayo Civic Auditorium. Lamb finished with 34 points and hit all five of her 3-point attempts.

Stewartville’s Erin Lamb is known as a sweet shooter and one of the top freshman girls basketball prospects in the state.

But good grief, what the 6-foot-2 forward came up with Saturday was on another level. And it elevated the Tigers to the next level, as they’ll next compete in the Section One, Class AA championship game Friday night, taking on Byron.

Stewartville rode Lamb’s 34 points, including her hitting all five of her 3-point attempts, to a 78-73 win against No. 5 seed Zumbrota-Mazeppa at Mayo Civic Auditorium. Stewartville is seeded No. 1 and moved to 24-5 overall. Z-M finished 21-7.

"The best part of what Erin did was that on (Tuesday) she had likely the worst game of her career," said Stewartville coach Ryan Liffrig, who witnessed Lamb have a rare poor shooting night in the section quarterfinals.

"But she came right back into this game with confidence. She is a pure shooter, she’s got a high release and she can score from all three levels. About the only person who can stop Erin, is Erin herself."


And Lamb, who is averaging 21 points per game, rarely does that. Getting in her own way certainly wasn’t an issue Saturday.

Lamb, who also had 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots, already had 20 points by halftime. By then Stewartville led 47-36.

She dug further into Z-M with an equally hot start to the second half. Lamb quickly hit a double-clutch jumper from 12 feet, then splashed a 3-pointer. Just like that, the Tigers owned a 16-point lead.

"When I hit my first shot, I feel like every one of them is going to go in," Lamb said.

Both teams entered the game hot. Stewartville was on a five-game winning streak, while Zumbrota-Mazeppa had won its last seven.

But Stewartville combined Lamb’s hot night with some excellent defense and rebounding to end the Cougars’ streak and season.

"I thought our defensive intensity won it for us," Lamb said.

One of the most valuable of those defenders was senior Julianne Waugh. Just 5-9, she had a big assignment. It was to try to hold down sturdy, 6-3 Z-M center Lauren Miller.


Despite giving up those six inches, Waugh did an admirable job. Miller finished with 12 points, which is about five less than she’d been averaging the last month.

"Waugh has quickness and some of that farm-girl toughness to her," Stewartville coach Ryan Liffrig said. "She’s not always a starter for us. But I wanted her in there today to guard Miller."

Liffrig got no protest from Waugh.

"I like guarding those bigger girls," she said. "It’s physical down there, and that’s how I like it."

Z-M’s top scorers turned out to be a couple of guards. Lyndsey Quam and Hanna Mensink each had 15 points.

Lamb, as well as Jada Hale and Lily Welch all helped the Tigers also finish with a large advantage in rebounds. While Lamb grabbed 10, Hale and Welch each had eight. Stewartville finished with 46-32 edge on the boards, many of them resulting in second-chance points.

"Stewartville just outhustles you," Z-M coach Andy Bromeling said. "That’s a big difference in a game like that. They do a great job of getting to those balls."

Stewartville 78, ZUMBROTA-MAZEPPA 73



Ali Hunstad 13 P, 1 3-PT; Lyndsey Quam 15 P, 2 3-PT; Hannah Mensink 15 P, 2 3-PT; Natalye Quam 8 P, 2 3-PT; Megan Johnson 8 P; Makayla Arendt 2 P; Lauren Miller 12 P.


Lily Welch 11 P, 3 3-PT; Kailee Malone 5 P; Julianne Waugh 2 P; Erin Lamb 34 P, 5 3-PT; Jordan Schindler 9 P; Lori Bailey 9 P; Jada Hale 8 P.

Halftime: STEW 47, ZM 36.

Free throws: ZM 12-14, STEW 12-13.

3-point goals: ZM 7, STEW 8.


Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Lyndsey Quam manufactures a shot against Stewartville’s Makenna Theobald (50) on Saturday.

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