It would look as if things are finally turning around for the Waconia girls’ basketball team. After starting the season 2-4 and struggling in multiple aspects of the game, the Wildcats picked up three victories at home.
Waconia head coach Carl Pierson said the team made “solid progress” in the last week, both on and off the scoreboard.
“We are developing some leaders, playing with more intensity, and progressing towards being a better defensive team,” he said.
Waconia 77, Big Lake 30
Hosting Big Lake on Dec. 11, Pierson said it felt as it the team had finally found itself.
“We played the right way on both ends of the floor and when we put it all together, we proved that we can be nothing short of outstanding,” he said.
In the nearly 50-point win, Waconia jumped out to an early 29-0 lead within the first eight minutes. Pierson said the key to the first half was team defense and rebounding, which allowed for the ‘Cats ever-elusive transition game to take effect.
Leading 49-15 at halftime, Pierson opted to give his varsity regulars some bench time after the first eight minutes of the second half. The reserve players, who have brought multiple wins to the junior varsity court this season, continued the Wildcat domination over the Hornets and won by 47 points.
Ten different players scored for Waconia, including senior Morgan Iverson (21) and sophomore Anna Schmitt (13). The Wildcats shot 40.5 percent from the floor (28-69) and limited Big Lake to only 12 baskets. The team snagged 21 steals, led by Schmitt (6) and senior Stephanie Dressen (5).
Winning an obviously lopsided rebounding contest 60-32, senior Sarah Christians led the team with 13 boards.
Waconia 82, Holy Family 68
Defeating conference and section rival Holy Family on Dec. 14, Pierson said the 82-68 victory was not only great because of the conference standings, but also because of the rivalry that exists between the schools.
Controlling the game from the beginning, the ‘Cats led 46-27 at the break, after a foul-heavy first half allowed 17 points off free throws alone. With starters beginning to see the horizon of foul trouble, the Waconia bench again stepped up and “contributed crucial minutes” to the Wildcat effort, according to Pierson.
With 33 points and seven rebounds, Jacobs led the team from both ends of the court. In those 33 points, she sunk seven of 10 three-point attempts. Pierson said Jacobs “stepped up big time” to give the Wildcats the extra boost. Jacobs also led the team with four steals, while junior Miranda Schultz had three.
Iverson scored 17 points in the victory, along with seven rebounds. She was also 11-12 at the free throw line.
Waconia 83, St. P Highland 54
For the first time all week, the Wildcats found themselves down at halftime on Dec. 15, trailing 35-29 to the St. Paul Highland Park Scots.
Not to be defeated in a week of success, Waconia buckled down in the second half, limiting the Scots’ hot shooters to outscore St. Paul Highland 54-19 in the second half.
Turnovers proved key in this game, as the ‘Cats had only 10, while the Scots closed in on 30 for the game.
Jacobs and Iverson again led the team in scoring, collectively shooting 68 percent from the floor. The Wildcats shot 45 percent overall, with 12 players on the scoreboard, including Kahner Priess and Ally Fuller, who scored their first varsity points.
Waconia will be at Chaska Dec. 21, before competing in a tournament at Southwest Minnesota State University on Dec. 29.