Girls Wildcat Basketball · Wildcats Beat Benilde, On to Section Final

54 Benilde-St. Margaret's
68 Waconia High School
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Benilde-St. Margaret's vs Waconia High School
54 68
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2 26   33
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4 54   68

In a rematch of last year’s 6AAA semi-final the Wildcats got their revenge with a 68-54 victory over Benilde-St. Margaret’s. With the win Waconia advances to the section championship for the first time since 2006 (credit resident basketball historian Bart Meath).
The Cats were able to get some separation in the final minutes of the first half as the Red Knight’s point guard and transfer post both went to the bench with foul trouble. Waconia had a 33-26 halftime advantage. The Wildcats had to overcome some foul trouble of their own as junior guard Tess Johnson was limited to only 6 minutes in the first half after picking up her second foul. But as it has done all season, the Wildcat bench responded with big contributions.
The Cats struck early in the second half increasing their lead to double digits. Benilde would cut the lead to 8 at two junctures but that was as close as they would get. Waconia shot 43.9% from the floor while the Red Knights made 41.1% of their shots. Two big advantages for the Cats were an 18-6 edge in points off turnovers and a 41-30 rebounding margin. Waconia’s defense limited Benilde to just 6 offensive rebounds. If they can have a similar performance in that category on Thursday the Wildcats will advance to their first ever state tournament.
The Cats lone senior, Courtney Freeberg, played her final game on her home floor and she went out in style. “Fran” scored 16 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Jayda Lenz erupted for 13 points and Tess Johnson netted 12 in her limited minutes. Sophomore Addy Salzer gave the team a big boost in her first game back from knee surgery scoring 9. Freshman Audrey Swanson grabbed 8 important rebounds.
Waconia improves to 21 and 7 on the season. The defending state champion Robbinsdale Cooper is what stands between the Wildcats and their first state tournament appearance. Cooper is 19 and 8 but they have won 12 of their last 13. Their lone loss in that stretch was to a 7 and 20 Chanhassen team.
The section championship will be played at Chanhassen High School at 7pm. While we know most of the student body is away on spring break the girls would certainly appreciate any Waconia residents that are still in town to be there and support them as they try to make history!