Wildcats News · Wildcats beat Mankato East in Round 1, head to section semis saturday vs. Mankato West

The Wildcats played stifling defense in the first half, giving up only 13 points, and made plays down the stretch of the 2nd to prevail against one of the toughest #7 seeds I’ve seen in my time at Waconia in Mankato East. They have some very good players in #32, a good, tall-shooting center who altered a lot of our shots all night (scored 19), #22 who scores 17 a game (we held her to 11), and #4, a tough, physical point guard who can shoot it (had 11). But, we were able to limit the other players and get stops down the stretch to persevere through a somewhat rough shooting night, one in which we had many open looks that didn’t fall.
We had major contributions, and timely ones at that, from many of our players, as is the usual. To be a great team, we need EVERYONE to step up, because you never know who the other team will focus on / take away, and we had that tonight. Senior PG Jayda Lenz was huge for the Wildcats, showing control, playing good defense, and scoring 12 points, hitting 3 huge 3’s (2 in the 2nd half) to lead all scorers. Sometimes in the playoffs you need senior leadership, and Jayda helped do that tonight. Dani Dykstra absolutely battled all night in the post against a much taller #32. She got huge offensive rebounds, she hit an absolutely HUGE reverse layup on #32 down the stretch, and really showed what can be done when teams trust each other to step up when it matters most. Salzer and Swanson had 6 and 5 respectively, but they worked their tails off all night trying to get in the space of #22, East’s leading scorer, and held her to 11, so that was a huge part of this game. Tess Johnson had 9, hitting a big 3 and getting a couple of gigantic steals for layups (one down the stretch of the 2nd half really sealed the game). Mel Honnold had 7 on a couple of huge 3’s, and played tough defense on #4, getting beat up a little in the process, but Mel is one of our toughest players. Natalie Meath and Addy Salzer each had 6, and Sauce really rebounded well against bigger players and hit some big shots early when others’ weren’t falling. Audrey Swanson had 5, and both Allie Zimmer and Dani Dykstra each had 4 that were huge.
Other stats are being tabulated, and I’ll update this post when they are known.
Our section semifinal matchup vs. Mankato West happens this Saturday at Gustavus Adolphus college at 7:45 P.M. We will travel early, likely leaving at 4:30 (I will have the plan for certain solidified by tomorrow) to watch the entire game of Marshall vs. St. Peter, who upset Hutchinson tonight by 12, in what’s going to be a very good game. Our opponent in the semifinal, Mankato West, is very good – they have really good shooters and finishers, a lightning fast guard, big posts, and are hungry to take their shot, so we will have to head into that game absolutely united as a team. It will take everyone’s best effort, all game long, for every play, possession, and moment to beat them as they are a very, very good team. We must be single-minded in our pursuit of winning this game for the next 2 days in practice to give ourselves a chance to get back to the section finals in what some call the toughest section, top-to-bottom, in the state.