In preparation for a packed schedule to come for the rest of the season, the Waconia girls’ basketball team picked up a Saturday afternoon win in Mankato on Jan. 4. Winning 99-92 over the Scarlets of Mankato West, the Wildcats struggled to shoot, despite the consistently high score for WHS. Waconia shot just under 30 percent for three-point shots (14-47) and under 32 percent for the game. In comparison, Mankato West shot 38.4 percent for the game.
Junior Anna Schmitt and sophomore Madelin Dammann led the scoring charge for WHS with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Three other Wildcats hit double figures, including senior Kaylee Vanderhoff (14), senior Brenna Rice (12), and sophomore Halli Koppi (10).
Schmitt found herself in foul trouble early in the game, but Carl Pierson said the story of the game was the way the team stepped up to fill the hole.
“Our team responded well when Anna fouled out,” Pierson said “She is obviously very important to our team, but our players demonstrated that they can handle the pressure and make plays in her absence.”
On defense, the Wildcats grabbed four more rebounds than the Scarlets, for a total of 50. What separated the ‘Cats from Mankato West was the 23 steals WHS grabbed and the 35 turnovers created. On the flip, Waconia turned the ball over 24 times.
“Our players did an outstanding job of making adjustments during the game as West attempted to do some different things defensively,” Pierson said. “But ultimately, it’s still about hustle and the offensive rebounds by Dammann and Kelsey Eder may have been some of the biggest plays of the game.”
Dammann and Vanderhoff each snagged eight rebounds, followed by junior Kelsey Eder (7) and Schmitt (6). Assist leaders included sophomore Megan Kirsch (7) and Schmitt (5). Vanderhoff also had five blocked shots.
“Megan Kirsch made some big plays and great passes in the final minutes and Kaylee Vanderhoff’s three-point shooting and defense were hugely important to the victory,” Pierson said.
Next week, the Wildcats hit the road to Delano (Jan. 14) and New London-Spicer (Jan. 16) for some more Wright County Conference action.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]