Just one loss mars the otherwise perfect record for the Waconia boys’ basketball team this season. Now 6-1, the Wildcats picked up two victories last week over conference opponent Glencoe-Silver Lake and Chaska.
Waconia 91, G-SL 69
In their first conference game of the season on Dec. 18, the Wildcats came out with intensity and focus, according to Waconia head coach Pat Hayes, which allowed an early lead for the team.
As the half progressed, the ‘Cats defense picked up they extended their lead to 10 points at the half, thanks to a 65-foot buzzer beater bucket by senior Josh Lenz.
“Which kind of woke us up,” Hayes said.
In the second half, the Wildcats shut down the Panthers’ penetration and did a much better job passing the ball on offense, according to Hayes.
The Wildcats’ outscored Glencoe-Silver Lake 43-31 in the second half.
Junior Ryan Boll led the Wildcat attack with 22 points. Junior Jacob Herd (15), senior Matt Rachey (14), and senior Wylie Ferron (11) were able double-digit scorers. As a team, the ‘Cats shot nearly 52 percent from the field, 33-64, and sunk 20 of 26 free throw attempts.
Ferron also had double-digit rebounds, with 14, and one steal for the Wildcat defense. Other top rebounders included senior Alex Chandler (9), Boll (7), Rachey (4), Herd (3), and Lenz (3).
Waconia 74, Chaska 61
After being tied at 28-28 after the first half on Dec. 21, the Wildcats outshot Chaska 46-33 to take the game. Hayes said the team played better all around during the second half.
“Much better second half than first in terms of energy, intensity and defending shooters better,” he said. “We were able to get some steals and turn them into points.”
The team’s eight steals were collected by Rachey (4), Lenz (3), and junior Tommy Gove (1).
Sitting at 60 percent shooting on the night, the ‘Cats were 5-8 in three point shots, assisted by Herd, who went 3-3 from beyond the arc. The Wildcats also made over 70 percent of their free throws (15-21). Boll (18), Herd (13), Rachey (12), and Ferron (12) were again the team’s top scorers. Lenz (8), Gove (6), and Chandler (5) also contributed to the Wildcat attack.
Ferron (7) and Rachey (6) led the team in rebounds, followed by Boll (5), Chandler (3), Herd (3), and Lenz (2).
Waconia will compete in an Eden Prairie tournament, beginning on Dec. 27. Their first game will be against the host team, the No. 7 (4A) Eden Prairie Eagles. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.