Jordyn Newgard drives and shoots over Spring Grove defender Amelia Solum.
Jordyn Newgard drives and shoots over Spring Grove defender Amelia Solum. EPPS/NEWS LEADER

The Mabel-Canton girls basketball team had a grueling schedule over the final week of the regular season with four games in a five-day stretch. They started with a hard-fought, home court win over Spring Grove, 53-51, on Monday, Feb. 12, earning a season split with the Lions.

The next night, Mabel-Canton dropped its final home game of the regular season to La Crescent, 51-43. It was off to Houston on Thursday, Feb. 15, where the Cougars lost to the Hurricanes in SEC action 54-34.

The Cougars wrapped up the regular season with a tough road matchup at Randolph on Friday, falling to the Rockets, 53-43.

Mabel-Canton finished the season 8-17 (6-7 SEC) in a three-way tie for second place in the SEC East.

The Cougars move on to the Section 1A Tournament and hosted a weather-delayed play-in matchup with Glenville-Emmons on Wednesday, Feb. 21 (a day after this edition went to press).

Win vs. SG, 53-51

The Cougars played conference rival Spring Grove in front of a full house for Parents Night, as well as a Cancer Awareness Fundraiser. There’s no question it was emotional as one of the basketball parents is battling cancer, and it was just a week after the horrible auto accident that took the lives of two teenage girls. The Mabel-Canton girls gave the community a much-needed something to smile about with a two-point win.

This series between the teams literally couldn’t be any more even. The Cougars and Lions have played 102 times with each team winning 51 of the games. The Cougars dropped the first game between the squads earlier this season, coming up short to Spring Grove 48-42. Similar to the first game, the rematch came down to free throws. Once again, Spring Grove shot more free throws, but this time Mabel-Canton would make enough to hold on at the end.

The Lions (9-13, 5-7 SEC) had cut a 12-point Cougar lead down to two points (44-42) but hit only one of seven free throws and four of 11 shots from the field in the final 6.5 minutes.

However, the Cougars would leave the door open with four late turnovers and hitting just four of nine free throws in the final one and half minutes.

Up by three points with 14 seconds left, M-C missed two free throws, but the rebound went out of bounds to the Cougars, forcing Spring Grove to foul again.

Payton Benson iced the game by hitting two free throws, making it a two-possession game with 7.5 seconds left.

While Mariah Edgington hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, the Cougars won the game by just two points.

Although the Lions scored first, the Cougars would lead the rest of the game. M-C was up by seven points (27-20) at halftime and by as many as 12 in the second half.

Danielson scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed a team-best six rebounds. Jordyn Newgard chipped in 12 points.

Spring Grove got 14 points each from Edgington and Lauryn Bohr.

Team statistics were as close as the final score. Each team had 20 turnovers. The Lions had a slight edge in rebounds, 30-28. SG had 52 shots and M-C 51. The Cougars were a little better from the field, shooting 41% to 35% for SG, and knocked down the two big free throws at the end.

Neither team was sparkling at the free throw line. The Lions missed more free throws (14) than they made (10), while the Cougars were seven for 13 (54%). However, it was the two final free throws that made all the difference.

The last two teams to win the SEC East - M-C in 2017 and SG the previous seven seasons — came into this game in a three-way battle for second place, along with Schaeffer Academy. That trio of teams would end the week and regular season with identical 6-7 conference records.

Loss vs. La Crescent, 51-43

The Cougars dropped their final home game of the regular season against the Lancers in a game that saw both teams start slowly in the first half before picking up the offensive pace after halftime.

The Class AA Lancers led by five points (21-16) on the Cougars’ home floor during the break. La Crescent (4-19) outscored the Cougars 30-27 after halftime, coming away with an eight-point, non-conference road win.

Once again, the game was probably won and lost at the free throw line, where neither team shot especially well. The Lancers were just nine for 20 (45%) and the Cougars were nine for 16 (54%).

Mabel-Canton just couldn’t get enough shots to fall, going 15 of 61 (25%) from the field, and was very cold from three-point range, hitting four of 24 shots (17%).

Mabel-Canton didn’t get a player into double figures, but three did tie for the team lead with nine points each - Danielson, Kenidi McCabe and Lexi Thorson. Avery Davis and Newgard added four points each.

The Cougars were aggressive on defense, finishing with an impressive total of 16 steals, led by Danielson with four and getting three each from Thorson and McCabe, who also led the team with three assists.

M-C finished with 18 turnovers. They also grabbed 25 rebounds, 13 on the offensive end. Danielson was the top Cougar on the glass with seven rebounds, and Newgard grabbed four.

Loss at Houston, 54-34

The Cougars couldn’t find enough offense to keep up with the Hurricanes. However, the game was close at halftime because SEC East champion Houston (22-4, 11-2 SEC) started slowly as well, leading just 21-20 at the break.

The Hurricanes would get their offense going in the second half, outscoring the Cougars 33-12  and pulling away for a 20-point conference win. Houston had needed overtime to win the teams' first game at M-C.

McCabe was the only Cougar in double figures with 14 points. Thorson added six points; Danielson had five points, and Newgard four. No other stats were available.

Three Hurricanes finished in double figures, led by 16 from Amber Chapel. Senior Jessica Kitching tossed in 15 points, and Alyssa Rostad 10.

After a slow start to the first half, Houston finished the game hitting 17 of 48 shots (35%), but their biggest scoring advantage came at the free throw line, outscoring the Cougars by 12 points. The Canes were 16 of 22 (72%), and M-C was four of seven.

The only Cougar edge in scoring came from outside the three-point line, where they hit six shots (18 points) while Houston knocked down four (12 points). Cougar scoring leader McCabe hit three treys, and Kitching led her team with two.

The Hurricanes didn’t give the Cougars many extra scoring chances, turning the ball over just 12 times while taking it away from the Cougars 13 times (Chapel four).

Loss at Randolph, 53-43

There’s no question the legs had to be tired for Mabel-Canton, playing their fourth game in five days. Adding to the challenge was a good 19-win Rocket team. The Cougars played hard, especially on the defensive end, but once again couldn’t find enough offense to stay even with Randolph (19-7, 9-4 SEC) and give themselves a chance at the end of the ballgame, coming up short to their SEC foes.

McCabe had another good all-around game in the regular season finale, scoring 18 points while contributing five steals and five rebounds.

Danielson added nine points, four rebounds, and two steals. Newgard and Maddy Michels each scored six points while Michels added four rebounds. No other stats were provided.


The Section 1A tournament looks different than what fans are used to. With no sub-section tourneys this year, the section coaches seeded the teams from No. 1 through No. 20, with the lowest eight seeds facing each other in play-in games on Wednesday, Feb. 21 (delayed one day by ice) with the winners moving on to the round of 16 two nights later.

The Cougars are the No. 14 seed and hosted No. 19 seed Glenville-Emmons with the winner to head to No. 3 Goodhue on Thursday, Feb. 22, for a tough game against the defending state champion.

Southeast Conference Girls

End regular season


Houston*.……...11-2 (22-4 all)

Schaeffer Aca…. 6-7 (16-10 all)

Spring Grove…...6-7 (10-13 all)

Mabel-Canton...6-7 (8-17 all)

Lanesboro……...2-11 (4-19 all)


Lyle/Pacelli*.…….13-0 (25-1 all)

Grand Meadow….10-3 (21-5 all)

Randolph………….9-4 (19-7 all)

Glenville-Emmons..2-11 (4-20 all)

LeRoy-Ostrander…0-13 (0-26 all)

  *2018 champions