Avery Davis takes to the air as she gets a shot for the Cougars as Mabel-Canton hosted the Glenville-Emmons Wildcats on Wednesday night in the first round of tournaments.
Avery Davis takes to the air as she gets a shot for the Cougars as Mabel-Canton hosted the Glenville-Emmons Wildcats on Wednesday night in the first round of tournaments. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER

The Mabel-Canton girls basketball team split what would be the last two games of the season, both in the Section 1A Tournament. The Cougars started with a weather-delayed play-in game win over Glenville-Emmons, 56-16, on Wednesday, Feb 21, to advance to the round of 16. The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 20, but had to be moved to the following night for a rare Wednesday contest.

That meant no preparation time for their next matchup, a road game at Goodhue on Thursday. The Wildcats are the No. 3 seed in the section tournament and the defending Class A state champs, who overwhelmed the Cougars, winning 67-26. The Cougars finished the season at 9-18.

Win vs. G-E, 56-16

Weather forced a rare Wednesday game in Mabel, where the Cougars wound up with an extra home game after the regular season ended.

The Cougars took the suspense out of the game with a solid first half on both ends of the floor and found themselves leading by 28 points at halftime (37-9).

With the No. 14 seed, the Cougars would outscore the 19th-seeded Wolverines 19-7 after halftime, going on to the win by a 56-16 score. M-C had previously won 42-28 at G-E during SEC play.

The Cougars shot the ball very well in the rematch, finishing at 41% on the night (23 for 56).

Payton Danielson and Kenidi McCabe were a solid one-two punch for Mabel-Canton on offense, combining to score 40 of the team’s 56 points.

Danielson led all scorers with 26 points, outscoring the entire G-E lineup by herself along with a team-best 5 assists. McCabe, a freshman, added 14 points and a team-high 7 steals.

Fifteen of the team’s points came from outside the three-point line (five of 14, 36%). There weren’t a lot of free throw opportunities for Mabel-Canton, hitting five of only six charity shots.

The Cougars were also sharp at the other end of the floor, finishing the game with 21 steals, one of their better nights of the season. Danielson contributed five steals, and freshman Jordyn Newgard chipped in four swipes plus one blocked shot). All this took place while M-C only committed 12 turnovers of their own.

The M-C girls pulled down 31 rebounds, 13 on the offensive end.

G-E closed with a 4-21 record.

Lost at Goodhue, 67-26

Because of the weather delay in the opening round, the next action for the Cougars in the round of 16 came the following night with what could only be called a very tough road trip to Goodhue. The Wildcat girls are the defending state champions, winning all three state-tournament games by an average of 19 points.

The Wildcats (20-7) bring back a ton of power this season, one of the top teams (No. 3 Seed) in the loaded Section 1A Tournament and currently ranked No. 4 in the state. The Class A school plays in the Hiawatha Valley League, which features mostly Class AA teams.

 The Wildcats played well at both ends of the floor against the overmatched Cougars, leading at halftime 38-13. Mabel-Canton only added another 13 points in the second half while Goodhue scored an additional 29 points.

While neither team sparkled at the free throw line, Goodhue had a tough night at the stripe, going 15 of 31 (48%). Mabel-Canton was more accurate at the line at 63% (10 of 16). Lauryn Wyffels and Newgard each scored seven points to lead the Mabel-Canton offense with Payton Danielson scoring six.

Joslyn Carlson of Goodhue was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points while pulling down seven rebounds. Sydney Lodermeier added 15 points and seven rebounds of her own, and Kate Opsahl was the third Wildcat in double figures with 11 points.

Goodhue dropped in six three-point baskets, and M-C had two.

The Wildcats moved on to crush No. 6 seed Randolph 53-19 in the round of eight and are one of Saturday’s four section semi-finalists.