In a matchup of two titans of Class 2A second-ranked Waseca resolutely showed why it’s higher in the Minnesota Basketball News poll with a 79-66 victory over third-ranked Lake City Tuesday in Lake City.
The Bluejays (18-5, 8-0 Big South East) got a team-high 24 points from Kyreese Willingham, 18 of which came in the second half. Willingham also drew the assignment of guarding University of Northern Iowa recruit Nathan Heise. Heise matched a career high with 39 points but Willingham and Waseca did enough to slow down the Tigers (19-2, 11-0 Hiawatha Valley League Blue) to end a 24-game home winning streak.
“This was probably the best game we’ve played all year,” Waseca head coach Seth Anderson said. “We were very good defensively and we were good enough offensively to find a rhythm.”
The Bluejays held just a 33-30 lead at halftime despite trailing by seven a little less than six minutes into the game. But Zach Hoehn hit a pair of 3-pointers to help Waseca grab an edge by halftime.
Andrew Morgan finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bluejays. Morgan had 10 points in the first half while Ryan Dufault scored 16 points and had 10 assists. Matt Seberson scored 12 points and helped limit Reid Gastner, a Minnesota State, Moorhead recruit, to 10 points.
Waseca shot 61 percent from the field, including 7 of 14 on 3-pointers. The Bluejays also went 10-for-18 on free throws and outrebounded Lake City 29-18.
Waseca closed the game out on a 23-11 run during the final seven minutes.
“Everyone knew it was a big game going into it,” Anderson said. “It was a big game between two good teams. It was a packed house.”
The Bluejays face Blue Earth Area Friday in Blue Earth at 7:15 p.m.