Waseca 90, St. James Area 51
The Bluejays continued to run roughshod over the southern Minnesota basketball scene with the Cardinals being their latest victim.
Waseca comes in at number one in the latest Associated Press Top 10 poll and second in Minnesota-Scores’ QRF ranking system behind Minneapolis North. The Bluejays average margin of victory this season is 32.6 points.
Kyreese Willingham led the Bluejays in scoring with 22 points. Zach Hoehn scored 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Ryan Dufault (14), Elijah Breck (12), Andrew Morgan (9), Shaun Hulscher (7), Parker Link (5), Max Gaytko (2), Dravyn Spies (2), and Preston Mansfield (2) also scored for Waseca.
Waseca returns to the court on Friday against St. Peter (6-4, 4-3).
Maple River 72, NRHEG 31
Maple River continued their run of dominance last Friday night, dispatching the NRHEG Panthers without much struggle.
“Maple River is the best team in our Conference for a reason and we found out tonight,” NRHEG coach Isaiah Lundberg said. “We stayed close for most of the first half and then we got into some foul trouble and put them on the line for most of the half. I thought our defense in the first half was good and did a lot of good things and on offense we did some good things too, but as some of our games have gone, we just can’t shoot good enough to score points.”
Kordell Schlaak once again led the Panthers in scoring with 10. Porter Peterson (7), Daxter Lee (5), Ashton Johnson (4), Jaxon Beck (3), and Benjamin Schoenrock (2) also contributed points for NRHEG.
Bethlehem Academy 76, NRHEG 65
The Panthers fell to 3-9 overall and 3-6 in Gopher Conference play following their loss to the Cardinals (3-7, 2-6) Tuesday night.
“After having the last three games on the road it was good to get to be at home again. I thought being back at home would help us after playing three good teams on the road and getting beat. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best first half and got down by 31 at the end of the half,” NRHEG coach Isaiah Lundberg said. “Credit to BA, they came out and played well in the first half and got up early and got some easy baskets and did a great job of pushing the ball up the floor for layups after our misses.”
The Cardinals took a 52-21 lead into halftime. However, NRHEG controlled the second half, outscoring Bethlehem Academy 44-24, but unfortunately the lead was ultimately too large to overcome.
“The second half our energy and effort was 100 times better and came out with a sense of urgency that we didn’t show in the first half,” Lundberg said. “I was proud that we continued to fight and never quit. In the end we just couldn’t overcome our off night of shooting.”
The Panthers shot 26-of-86 from the floor and 6-of-28 from beyond the arc.
Lee led NRHEG in scoring with 18 points. Peterson (15), Jack Olson (12), and Schlaak (10) also scored in double-figures. Johnson (9) and Schoenrock (2) rounded out the Panthers’ offensive contributions.
NRHEG returns to action on Friday, Feb. 26 against Medford (2-9, 2-6).
Mankato Loyola 73, JWP 47
The Bulldogs played a good second half against the Crusaders, but it was not enough to overcome Mankato Loyola’s 23-point halftime lead last Friday night.
Landon Dimler (16) and Memphis James (15) accounted for 66% of JWP’s total points. Kaden Johnson (8), Austin Westphal (5), Cody Quast (2), and Karson Lindsay (1) also scored. Loyola outscored JWP 42-16 in the post while both teams converted seven 3-pointers.
Alden-Conger 51, JWP 48
The Bulldogs fell to 4-8 overall and 2-8 during Valley Conference play following their loss to the Knights (1-8, 1-8) Monday night.
James led JWP in scoring with 17 while Dimler added 16.
The Bulldogs return to action on Monday, March 1 against Cleveland (10-1, 8-1), who top the Valley Conference standings.
Waseca 60, Lester Prairie 56
The Bluejays won last Friday night against a good Bulldogs squad in a game that was a late addition to the schedule. Waseca was originally slated to play Saturday against St. James Area; however, the game was postponed — a make up date has yet to be announced — leaving an open game for the Bluejays. Lester Prairie filled the void Thursday evening, quick enough for the game to take place Friday night.
The Bulldogs took a 28-27 lead into halftime, fueled by a 10-4 run to end the half. However, Waseca was able to control the paint and the boards in the second half, which ultimately propelled them to victory; the Bluejays outscored the Bulldogs 32-22 in the post.
Melady Renteria led Waseca in scoring with 18 points; she also contributed eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Kloe Wadd registered a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double to go along with three blocks. Camryn McQuery just missed a double-double of her own with 10 points and eight boards. Brittney Draeger also filled up the boxscore with eight points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Sam Azure (5) and Gabby Rodriguez (3) rounded out the scoring for Waseca.
Waseca 42, Belle Plaine 39
The Bluejays picked up another tough win Tuesday night, defeating the Tigers in a tight contest. Waseca has now won two games in a row and six of their last eight after starting the season 0-3. They are currently 6-5 overall and sit in second place in the Big South Conference with a record of 3-2.
Draeger led the Bluejays in scoring with 13 points, while Renteria added 12 and McQuery eight.
Waseca continues their string of non-conference games on Saturday, Feb. 27 when they face off against Crosby-Ironton (8-1, 5-1 Mid-State Conference). The game is set to begin at 12:30 p.m. in Sauk Rapids.
Maple River 49, NRHEG 36
The Panthers simply could not keep pace with the Eagles Friday night. NRHEG trailed by six at halftime, but poor shooting overal combined with a hot streak by Maple River in the second half ultimately proved costly.
“We played hard but had a rough night shooting,” NRHEG coach Onika Peterson said. “Erin Jacobson and Andy Briggs both added a spark to the game tonight, but overall tonight wasn’t our night.”
Jacobson led the Panthers in scoring with 12 points; she also added 11 rebounds to secure a double-double. Briggs (7), Faith Nielsen (5), Rhys Martin (4), Hallie Schultz (2), Kendall Johnson (2), Sidney Schultz (2), and Sarah George (2) also scored for NRHEG.
MCW 57, JWP 20
The Bulldogs fell in Valley Conference action last Thursday night when they succumbed to the Mavericks in a one-sided affair.
Mara Richardson led JWP in scoring with 8 while Emma Johnson (4), Dani Gerdts (3), Alexa Cord (3), and Emily Bengston (2) also contributed points.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 74, JWP 34
The Knights proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome Tuesday night, controlling the game from the opening tip.
Johnson scored 21 of JWP’s 34 points, with Faith Miller (8), Richardson (2), Bengston (2), and Gerdts (1) also contributing.
JWP returns to the court on Thursday when they face off against Blue Earth Area (2-7, 1-4 Big South Conference).
Waseca 7, Luverne 1
Kyle Ahlschlager returned to his dominant ways, scoring five points and registering a hat trick in the win; Ahlschlager’s performance left him tied with Hermantown’s Zam Plante for most goals scored with 23 and second in total points (42), five behind Maple Grove star and Michigan Tech commit Kyle Kukkonen (47). Riley Forshee, Leo Harguth, and Charlie Huttemier also scored goals for the Bluejays.
Luverne 10, Waseca 0
Luverne 11, Waseca 0
The Cardinals controlled both games from puck drop, outshooting the Bluejays 108-23 en route to their commanding victories.
St. Peter 129.175, Waseca 127.500
The Bluejays suffered a close loss at the hands of the Saints last Thursday evening despite coming out on top in both the vault and floor events.
Brooklyn Flatau (8.850) and Emily Farley (8.775) finished first and second, respectively, in the vault, while Camryn Lynch (8.800) took home gold with her floor routine. Lynch also finished second on the bars (7.900) and fourth on the beam (7.800) en route to coming in second all-around with a total score of 33.025. Jordan Hofmeister (31.600) just missed the podium, finishing fourth overall.
Blue Earth Area 126.35, Waseca 126.1
The Bluejays dominance of the bars was not enough to overcome the Buccaneers’ victories in the other three events, resulting in an excruciatingly tight loss Tuesday night.
Waseca won the second event of the evening 30.075-27.775 behind dominant performances by Lynch (8.300) and Hofmeister (7.900). Lynch would also win the beam event (8.550) and finish second on floor (8.450) en route to taking home the individual all-around victory with a score of 33.700; Farley — who came in second on beam (8.250) — finished third with a 32.050.
The Bluejays next meet is on Thursday, March 4 against Martin County West/Fairmont.
Fairmont-MCW 55, Waseca 13
Blue Earth Area 66, Waseca 8
The Bluejays hopped out to 7-6 lead over the Cardinals following wins by John Feeley (106; 6-5 decision) and Mason Gehloff (120; 17-5 major decision); however, their next victory did not come until Payton Garza’s by 6-2 decision in the 182-pound weight class as Waseca struggled to contain their opponent. Jenaro Delgado also picked up a win by 4-2 decision in the heavyweight bout.
Unfortunately, the Bluejays struggles continued into their match with the Buccaneers, who were easily able to fend them off.
St. James triangular
Waseca 61, St. James Area 16
Waseca 66, Luverne 15
The Bluejays quickly returned to their winning ways Tuesday night, sweeping their duals and improving their record to 11-11 overall and 2-5 in the Big South Conference.
Feely (113; 8-3) and Rodriguez (152; 21-7) picked up wins by decision against St. James, while Grant Cox (132), Oliver O;Brien (138), Carter Ellis (170), and Garza (182) all won by fall.
In the dual against Luverne, Gehloff — the fourth-ranked wrestler in the state in Class A’s 126-pound weight class — Christian Rodriguez (152), and Garza (182) all picked up wins by fall with the rest of the team’s points coming via forfeit.
The Bluejays return to the mat on Thursday when they take on Tri-City United and St. Peter in a triangular at Waseca High Shool.
Medford 57, NRHEG 18
The Tigers controlled their dual with the Panthers from start to finish Thursday night.
Medford started the night with a 30-0 run following multiple NRHEG forfeits and wins by fall by John Doe (120) and Kael Neuman (138).
NRHEG’s Clay Stenzel appeared to turn around the Panthers’ fortunes with a win by fall in the 145-pound weight class; however, the only other victory they would take would come by fall by Ralph Roesler in the 182-pound match.
“It is clear that Medford has been putting some time in, and not just the practices during the season. They are a strong team and they were very impressive,” NRHEG coach Shawn Larson said. “We were missing a few people from our lineup, though not enough that we could have changed the outcome tonight. We wrestle them again in two weeks, and hopefully the work that we put in before that can help us close the gap a little.”
Byron 66, NRHEG 12
The Panthers ran into another tough opponent in the Bears Tuesday night. NRHEG’s record stands at 6-10 following the loss.
“We like having the opportunity to wrestle in these out of conference matches sometimes. It is nice to wrestle against teams that have no relevance to our postseason,” NRHEG coach Shawn Larson said. “However, it is unfortunate that we are a bit too young to be competitive against a AA team that is in their situation. We had four or five good matches and had big wins from Annabelle Petsinger, and Ben Hagen...Our team is getting better, it is just tough to be as young as we are at the varsity level. We will keep working to improve.”
Both Petsinger (120) and Hagen (220) won their matches by fall.
The Panthers return to the mat on Thursday where they will face off against Westfield and St.Clair-Mankato Loyola in a triangular at NRHEG High School.