If the Waconia boys’ basketball team was looking for a way to make a name for itself early in the season, taking down the No. 2 Class 4A team was the way to do it.
In preseason polls, the Wildcats were ranked No. 6 in Class 3A. For their first game of the season on Nov. 30, they hosted the No. 2 (4A) Edina Hornets.
In a 66-57 victory for Waconia, the Wildcats struggled to start the game, quickly down 7-0, according to head coach Pat Hayes. Waconia regrouped in the half and led 36-28 at the break.
Edina started the second half with eight unanswered points to tie the game at 36-36, but the Waconia offense continued to work through the Hornets’ defense for the win.
“It was great win against a very tough Edina team,” Hayes said. “Our defense was sound throughout the game and we were very effective when we looked for the next pass on offense to find the open man.”
Seniors Matt Rachey and Josh Lenz led the Wildcat scoring, with 17 and 16 points respectively. Seniors Alex Chandler (9), Wylie Ferron (8), and junior Ryan Boll (8) also contributed significant points to the Wildcat attack. The Wildcats shot 76 percent from the free-throw line and 36 percent from the floor.
As a team, the Wildcats pulled down 26 rebounds, led by Chandler (7). Boll, Ferron, and Rachey each had four rebounds.
“Very proud of our effort and composure throughout the game,” Hayes said.
Ferron and junior Jacob Herd, who both suffered injuries during the fall season, contributed significant minutes for the Wildcats, which Hayes was happy to see. Junior Tommy Gove, recovering from a football injury, reinjured his shoulder but is hopeful to be back by next week.