Two Friday championships. Two different paths. Two for 2—A & AA in Mankato. The first contest lickety split action; sharpshooting deluxe; epic tent pole performances. The second contest grind, grind, grind; pass, pass, pass turnover. In the first game individuals scored 42 and 32. They would have either tied or outscored teams in the second game.
WATERVILLE-ELYSIAN-MORRISTOWN 79, SLEEPY EYE ST. MARY’S 68
The Buccaneers are headed to the state tournament for the first time with a scoreboard bursting 79-68 win over Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s. Even though WEM is headed to the girls tournament for the first time the players are familiar with state tournament routine. They finished second to Minneota in the volleyball tournament in November. Four of the five starters plus the top reserve all received second place ribbons. The Bucs are going despite the best efforts of SESM sophomore Madison Mathiowetz with an eye popping 42 points. She did her damage primarily inside with 7/8 lay ups—primarily after a steal, and 10/16 on shots near the block. The Knights were hampered by foul trouble by Reagan Severson who picked up foul number three with 6:49 left in the first half and SESM up 22-20. As soon as she left WEM drained a triple, one of 14 on the night. The next four minutes belonged to WEM 18-4. With 1:47 left in the half and WEM up 38-27 SESM had a resurgence. Partly because of rushed shots and rushed decisions. SESM closed with four straight scores and it was a game again at 38-33. The Knights pulled in front 46-44 after Mathiowetz scored eight points in a six possession burst over the course of three minutes capped by a steal lay up, her third in that sequence. WEM took the lead on two back to back 3s by Bartelt (50-46). The game was tied at 53 on Sydney Windschitl’s 3 for SESM. The last tie game at 57. WEM scored five straight times to break open the nailbiter 66-57. When they got the ball back with around three minutes left up 66-59, they pulled the ball out, SESM spent five fouls in that possession. The Bucs turned it over. Mathiowetz scored an &1 to make it 66-62 with 2:07 left. WEM struggled at the line the next three possessions going 1/6. SESM in the interim could only shave one point off the deficit. WEM regained their shooting eye from the line just in time. In the last 1:13 they scored six of their last seven possessions going a perfect 12/12. Two Knights had fouled out in the desperate attempt to close the gap.
|WATERVILLE-ELYSIAN-MORRISTOWN||SLEEPY EYE ST. MARY’S|
|TOP SCORER||Brielle Bartelt 29||Madison Mathiowetz 42|
TRENCH PLAYER: Brielle Bartelt with 32 points, 1333.3 pp100 and a 41 score in the 31 Club.
WASECA 32, JORDAN 28
Waseca will be headed to the state tournament after dropping down from AAA last year. But the Bluejays will have a tougher time since they won’t have point guard Gus Boyer, who was in a wheelchair due to an ACL injury. That Waseca won out over the Jordan pressure is a testament to their grit and fortitude. They had a turnover differential of ten and had eleven fewer shots. The Bluejays made up for that with an overwhelming presence on the boards with a plus twelve differential. This was my third charting of Waseca. Gus Boyer in both cases was the prime ball handler, prime scorer, and prime minute eater. Boyer had 30 minutes of court time against Hibbing with 19 points and a 35 in the 31 Club. Starting in her spot was Brittney Draeger who ended up to be the leading scorer for Waseca in this game. Hannah Potter would increase her touch count from 23.6% to 25%. Not that big a difference, but the leader. The player that stepped up on the perimeter more was Draeger from 16% to 22.7%. But without Boyer’s floor generalship the touches per turnover fell dramatically from 29.2 to 14.4.
The first contest Friday night had 66 possessions with both teams over the century mark in pp100. This game only had 48 possessions and both teams at least 30 away from the century. More telling is the touch count. WEM scored on every 3.68 touches. Waseca needed 12.12 touches per score. Jordan was better at a flat 12. That tells a whole lot about this game. Jordan played the 1/3/1 half court defense which kept Waseca probing for openings, sometimes resulting in turnovers. But the Jaguars were not able to convert those miscues into points often. There really was no transition game to speak of in this game. Jordan came up empty on four opportunities. Waseca had no chances.
The game opened as a continuation of the first game with both teams scoring on their first cracks: Jorda a 3 from Makenna Johnson; Waseca from the right side by Draeger. Then it was into the deep freeze with eight nothing combined possessions, of which six were turnovers—-four in a row at one point. A Draeger 3 from up top made it 19-12 and then Rachel Breck scored on the left block to make it 21-12 with 3:59 left in the first half. Jordan called time to regroup. It worked as they scored the last five p oints of the half to trail 21-17 at the break. The last 18 minutes saw both teams score exactly the same amount: 11 points. With nine minutes left it was tied at 25. Jordan pulled in front on Johnson’s 3 28-27 with 4:15 left in the game. They wouldn’t score again in their next five possessions. Breck put Waseca back in front with about three minutes left 29-28 on another shot on the left block. Jordan picked up an offensive foul at the 2:39 mark away from the ball. Waseca milked the clock and Draeger added a pair of free throws with 2:10 to go (31-28). Plenty of time. Not really. Jordan had one shot on their next possession, got the missed but passed the ball away. Waseca missed their front end on their next chance. With one minute left Jordan tried a 3 but misfired. Draeger was there for the rebound and was fouled pronto. She cashed in the second with 27.2 left. Jordan did not get a clean look on their last possession, did not free up anyone and put up a forced shot.
|TOP SCORER||Brittney Draeger 10||Makenna Johnson 12|
TRENCH PLAYER: Hannah Potter with 9 points, 128.6 pp100 and a 22 in the 31 Club.