Two more “W’s” were added to the win column for the WHS boys’ basketball team last week, as the Wildcats defeated Richfield and Mound-Westonka after falling to Prior Lake.
Early in the week, Waconia fell to Prior Lake 75-51 on Dec. 3. WHS head coach Pat Hayes said the Wildcats didn’t play well on either side of the ball.
“We struggled to contain the ball on defense which led to open shots,” he said. “Offensively struggled to shoot the ball consistently and had 17 turnovers to just nine assists.”
The Wildcats made just 33 percent of their shots from the floor and were just 3-20 from the three-point line.
Trailing 40-29 at half, the Wildcats were outscored 35-22 in the second half for the Lakers’ 75-51 win.
Despite the loss, Hayes said there were many lessons taken from the game.
“Good learning experience from a quality opponent that was better prepared than we were,” he said.
Senior Ryan Boll scored a team-high 15 points against Prior Lake, followed by seniors Tommy Gove (10) and Jacob Herd (7).
Waconia had a much better defensive start against Richfield on Dec. 5, leading 39-29 at halftime and pulling ahead to a 25-point lead early in the second half.
“Richfield got the game close with reserves on the floor at the end, but we regained our composure to finish out making free throws,” Hayes said. The ‘Cats narrowly outscored Richfield 40-39 in the second half.
At the foul line, the Wildcats shot 79 percent, making 22-28 shots. Shooting from the floor improved to 43 percent, thanks to scoring leaders Boll (25), Joey Korteum (18), and Gove (11).
On defense, the Wildcats pulled down 40 rebounds, many by Boll (7), Cole Peters (7), Korteum (6), Royce Marker (5), and Roch Whittaker (5).
With 17 turnovers against Prior Lake and 20 against Richfield, Waconia needed to dramatically minimize those free points to their opponents, which the Wildcats did by committing only three turnovers in their conference opener against Mound-Westonka Dec. 7.
With Mound shooting strongly in the first half, the Wildcats trailed by one point at halftime, 31-30. WHS defended the three-point line better in the second half, according to Hayes, while continuing to shoot well on their own end of the court, shooting 51 percent from the floor.
Outscoring the White Hawks 50-34 in the second half, Waconia pulled away with the 80-65 victory. Once again, Boll led the Wildcats in scoring, this time with 30 points on the board. Gove added 20 points to the Wildcat effort, while senior Michael Vigil contributed 14 points to put away the White Hawks.
This early in the season, the Wildcats have already faced and defeated three of their section foes: Minneapolis Washburn, Mound-Westonka, and Richfield. Conference action goes into full swing next week as Waconia hosts Holy Family Dec. 17 before a rematch at Mound-Westonka Dec. 20.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com