With just one game to play in the regular season, the Waconia boys’ basketball team has captured at least a share of the Wright County Conference – East title with wins over Orono and Dassel-Cokato last week.
Games against both the East and West division teams are taken into account when determining the two conference champions. Delano is currently second with a 10-3 WCC record and has two games to play this week.
Waconia will host Mound-Westonka on Friday, March 1. A victory guarantees the Wildcats sole champions in the East division. Litchfield has already clinched the WCC – West.
Waconia 57, Orono 55
Playing at Orono on Feb. 19, Waconia head coach Pat Hayes said the win was a good one on the road, as the score stayed tight throughout the game.
Waconia led by just two at the half (27-25) and when both teams scored 30 points in the second half, it would be that two-point margin by which the ‘Cats would win.
The Wildcats held a six point lead with under two minutes to play, according to Hayes, but Orono closed the gap to just three points and possession of the ball with less than three seconds.
Waconia fouled as soon as the ball was in play, sending Orono to the free throw line for a one-and-one with 1.4 seconds left, and the Wildcats were able to hang on for the win thanks to some smart playing.
Junior Ryan Boll led Waconia with 18 points, including a hot 10-15 at the free throw line. Seniors Matt Rachey (12) and Alex Chandler (10) also scored double digit points. Senior Josh Lenz contributed seven points for WHS, spurred by a 3-3 night in two-point shooting. Junior Jacob Herd scored eight points, including 2-2 two-pointers.
The Wildcats were 17-32 from within the arc, 2-8 beyond it, and shot 61 percent from the charity stripe (17-28).
Senior Wylie Ferron led with five rebounds and two blocked shots, followed closely by Boll who collected four rebounds and two blocks. Chandler, Herd, and Lenz each grabbed three boards.
Waconia 76, D-C 33
Still on the road, the Wildcats traveled to Dassel-Cokato Feb. 22 and solidified their share of the WCC – East title with a 76-33 victory. According to Hayes, the team came out very focused and were able to build a large lead. The ‘Cats led 53-18 after the first half.
“Twenty assists to only seven turnovers in the game was a direct result of unselfish play and good decision making,” Hayes said.
Waconia shot 58 percent from the field, 21-53, including 5-8 from beyond the arc. Boll scored a team-high 20 points, followed by Chandler (12), Rachey (12), and Herd (10). Chandler was 6-6 from the field, while Rachey was 3-3 from the three-point line.
On defense, the Wildcats grabbed 35 rebounds led by Chandler (7), Ferron (5), Boll (4), and senior Austin Fuller (4). Rachey (3), Lenz (2), and Ferron (2) tallied the team’s seven steals.
The Wildcats are 20-5 overall this season.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]