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Cats Conclude Summer Season with Wins

July 29, 2012
Waconia Girls Basketball MN

    The Wildcats 23 game summer season drew to a close on Sunday with the Cats claiming the consolation championship at the Breakdown Top 20 Tournament in Lakeville. Waconia faced AAAA power Eastview in the opening game and while the Cats were competitive throughout, Eastview was able to answer every time Waconia went on a run. The Lightning won 42-32 and would go on to win the tournament championship. It's worth pointing out the Wildcats gave the champs their most closely contested game. Expect Eastview (a state tournament team last year) to be ranked in the top 10 pre-season this year.


     Miranda Schultz scored 12 points to lead the Wildcat scoring. Both teams shot 50% from the three point arc but Eastview cashed in at the free throw line to the tune of 82%. Waconia shot just 42% from the stripe.


     In game two the Wildcats faced Jordan. Waconia didn't play as sharp in this contest but they took advantage of a depleted Jordan roster to claim a 50-34 win. The Cats again shot the ball well from beyond the arc going 7 for 14 on threes. They shot 42% overall (so strangely enough they were much more accurate from far away), but struggled again at the free throw line shooting just 42%. Caroline Jacobs and Steph Dressen reached double figures with 16 and 10 points respectively. Dressen also grabbed 6 rebounds. Anna Schmitt added 3 steals.


     The win pitted the Cats against class AA power Pine Island for the consolation crown. The Cats led from start to finish and earned a 37-28 win. Eight of the 10 Wildcats in uniform scored (with no player reaching double figures) making for a very balanced team effort. Waconia was once again strong from the floor but flawed at the free throw line shooting 45% from the field and just 45% on free shots. Waconia was outrebounded 23-16 but still managed to earn the win thanks to an aggressive defense that limited Pine Islands' looks at the basket.


     On Saturday Waconia followed the same format as Sunday, losing their opener to Lakeville South (who lost in the championship to Eastview in the top 20 tournament on Sunday) before putting together back to back wins.


     The Cougars of Lakeville South controlled the glass and scored 16 points on offensive rebounds to down Waconia 43-32. The Cats converted on only 35% of their shots compared to 49% for the Cougars. No Waconia player scored more than 6 points or had more than 3 rebounds.


     Fortunately the Cats bounced back dominating Northfield 38-23 in a game that was not even as close as the score might suggest. Waconia struggled to cash in on some easy 1 and 2 foot shots, otherwise the margin would have been even larger. Miranda Schultz and Steph Dressen propelled the Cats with 14 points a piece. Anna Schmitt added 3 steals. Perhaps the most impressive stat of the game is that Northfield got only 14 shot attempts in 40 minutes of basketball. Waconia was very successful at plugging up passing lanes and frustrating the Raider offense.


     Waconia would face Stillwater for the days' consolation championship and while layups were again elusive, the Cats' defense delivered a 28-21 victory. The Wildcats shot a paltry 22% as a team and just 50% at the free throw line, but Stillwater was only able to make 21% of their shots. Waconia dominated the boards 36-26 led by Steph Dressen's 8 rebounds. Caroline Jacobs had 3 steals.


     The 4 wins in two days meant a positive end to the summer season. It was a summer filled with quality opponents that certainly forced our Wildcats to play faster and more physical. This should be a big benefit when the winter season arrives in mid-November. The summer season was also a chance for players to prove they have what it takes to excel at the varsity level. With three top players still sidelined with knee injuries other Cats had additional opportunity to develop and compete in game situations. This should be another benefit to the team this winter.


     Thank you to all the players in grades 9-12 that competed at the tournaments and took part in the summer league. Great teams and top programs engage in an aggressive offseason program because that is what separates them from the pack. Every team works hard in the winter, but only the best teams bust their tail in the summer. This summer we got exposed to what the offseason expectations are moving forward and we made some solid progress.


     Now our players will move on to focus on their fall sports and take a well deserved break from basketball. Best of luck to all of our fall sports athletes. The winter season is only 105 days away!

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