‘Cats fall to Fire, defeat White Hawks

Senior Michael Vigil takes a shot for the Wildcats during their Dec. 17 game against Holy Family.

Senior Michael Vigil takes a shot for the Wildcats during their Dec. 17 game against Holy Family.

The Waconia boys’ basketball team split a pair of WCC games last week, falling to Holy Family before a Friday night win over Mound-Westonka.

Facing off against WCC competitor Holy Family on Dec. 17, a team currently ranked No. 2 in Class AAA, WHS head coach Pat Hayes said it was a good, competitive game for WHS against a team that returned all five of their starters from last season.

“Thought we played good defense throughout,” he said.

Holy Family led by three at halftime, 27-24. The Wildcats were able to open a 50-43 lead in the second half, but turnovers proved costly for WHS as the Fire turned that deficit into a 55-55 tie with one minute to play in the game.

The game went back and forth in the final minute, and although the Wildcats had a good shot with 10 seconds to go (trailing by one point), Hayes said the offensive rebound went out of bounds off WHS and Holy Family was able to convert their possession into points for the 62-59 Fire victory.

Senior Michael Vigil led the Waconia attack with 16 points, along with seniors Ryan Boll (15) and Jacob Herd (14). Sophomore Joey Kortuem (7), junior Oliver Smith (5), and senior Tommy Gove (2) also contributed points for WHS.

Of the teams 23 rebounds, Boll (5), Smith (4), Kortuem (4), and Gove (4) combined for nearly all of them. Kortuem (3) and Herd (2) snagged most of the team’s steals, while Waconia’s five blocked shots game from the tall arms of Smith (3) and Boll (2).

The Wildcats picked up a 76-45 conference victory over Mound-Westonka on Dec. 20, thanks to scoring leaders Boll (22), Herd (20) and Gove (10).

Waconia held a commanding 42-21 halftime lead, and outscored the White Hawks 34-24 in the second half.

Strong shooting (79 percent in two-point range) led to the large score gap, according to WHS head coach Pat Hayes.

“We made very good decisions with the basketball and showed good patience getting the best shots offensively,” he said.

Waconia is at the Eden Prairie tournament this weekend, beginning with Chaska on Friday, Dec. 27 at 6 p.m. If they win, they play at 7:30 on Saturday. A loss puts the Wildcats in a 6 p.m. game. Eden Prairie and Benilde-St. Margaret’s fill out the other side of the bracket.

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