Waconia girls basketball · 9th wins first game of season, but other Wildcats succomb to Royals.

The 9th grade team kicked off their season with a solid win over the Royals of Hopkins, They were in control of a physical game, and battled to a win. It was fun to see them finally get after someone, and they attacked well all game to pull out a solid win.
“B” Fell to Hopkins, and were a little shorthanded, after sustaining some injuries. 66-50 was the final, but the Wildcats were close throughout, mustering many rallies to get within striking distance – we just ended up running out of gas. Lauren Hansen (Olga!) got to the line well, scoring 17 for the game.
“JV” suffered a similar fate – a bit shorthanded due to injuries, couldn’t muster a solid enough run to overcome Hopkins’ pressure. Even scoring helped the Wildcats throughout, and a couple of step-back 3’s were pretty sweet as well.
Coming into the game, our goal was to compete the entire time, and attack at full speed the intense defensive pressure of the #1 team in Minnesota and the #3 team in the nation. Well, after 7 minutes, we were in the lead! 10-9. Booyaa. After that, however, the pressure got to us, forcing us into many turnovers and mistakes that teams make when sped up to sustained speed and pressure that they aren’t comfortable with. When the wheels came off, so to speak, they kind of rolled down the highway. There were moments when we regained our composure throughout the game, but we couldn’t put together a run offensively, which led to easy transition buckets for Hopkins. We’ve seen them do it to teams throughout the last couple of years, and tonight we fell victim. We had moments of competitiveness scrappiness, but they were too few and far between to stay in the game.
We are playing a very challenging schedule this year, and part of it is because we know how excruciating it was to lose the section championship by 1 point last year. We know that to get better, we have to learn how to compete intensely and consistently throughout a game, and tonight, for moments, we did, and for other stretches, we didn’t. So, we’ve got to sustain the kind of effort and intensity we displayed for the first 7 minutes of that game – if we can do it consistently, we can become the force that we want to be.
Many scorers had 4, 6, etc., and Addy Salzer had 18 on the night, attacking the basket well and getting to the free-throw line quite often. We had a couple of And-1 opportunities as well. The last thing to mention is this: When things DID go right for us throughout the game, our bench, players, and fans were excellent. We celebrated like crazy every time that we scored. If we got a stop, it was loud and intense. That is a culture of joy, and team, and what we are looking to sustain throughout our program. We had a lot of 9th and JV/B players staying to root on our team, and we really appreciate that as well, as that hasn’t been the norm in past years either, so shout-out to those who celebrated the good moments with us!