Kingsland girls start 2020 with another conference win

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Ellie Buchholtz of the Knights goes up for a shot underneath the basket as Southland defenders try to stop her.
Chad Smith

The Kingsland girls basketball team spent some time on the court during the holidays, playing not one but two non-conference games in a row after Christmas and then started 2020 off with a Southeast Conference win.

The Knights lost a close game at home to Fillmore Central 63-56 on Friday, Dec. 27. The team jumped on a bus the next day for a trip to Adams and a game with Southland and lost 68-57 after starting slowly in the first half. Kingsland started 2020 on the road at Schaeffer Academy for an SEC matchup on Thursday, Jan. 2, which the Knights won 70-52. Kingsland girls are now 7-5 overall (6-0 SEC West).

Knights lose tight game to FC

The Kingsland girls spent time over the holidays facing a couple of former Three Rivers Conference foes, starting at home against Fillmore Central the first weekend after Christmas. The game was a tight one throughout as the Knights had a two-point lead at halftime (33-31) before they were outscored by the Falcons 32-23 in the second half.

“Fillmore Central is built to be a typical Three Rivers team,” said Kingsland coach Steve Hauser. “They’re bigger and stronger, which they don’t mind using to push the opposition around the floor a bit.

“However, their biggest advantage in the game was shooting 47 free throws and made 33,” he added. “I’ve never seen a team shoot that many free throws and I didn’t agree with a great many of the calls. We held them to just 30 points from the field.”

Emily Miner stepped up with one of her best offensive games of the season, finishing with team-highs of 14 points and eight rebounds. Sam Wernimont was second on the team with 12 points, made up of two three-pointers and six of nine shooting at the free-throw line. Alexys Harwood added nine points while Ellie Buchholtz had a quiet night with six points.

Most of the team’s offensive production came from inside the three-point line. The Knights hit 16 of their 42 attempts (42%) from two-point range. It was one of those nights when good looks from long range weren’t going in the basket. The Knights were just three of 21 from outside the arc, with all three of those buckets coming in the first half. Hauser said foul trouble made it hard to find any consistency.

“We had three girls with either two or three fouls within the first 10 minutes, so they had to sit,” he said. “We have to use that to learn that the next girl up needs to be ready to play in those situations.”

Kingsland had a lot of opportunities to change the outcome of the game at the free-throw line. The Knights attempted 22 shots from the stripe, making 13 (59%). They also didn’t get many second chances on the glass, grabbing a total of just 25 rebounds, 13 on the offensive end.

Kassidy Broadwater of Fillmore Central led all scorers with 20 points while Kandace Sikkink chipped in 15.

Defensively, the Kingsland girls had eight steals (Reiland 4) and Miner had both of the team’s blocked shots.

Road loss at Southland

Kingsland didn’t have much time to recover as the Knights were on the road to Adams the next night to face the Southland Rebels. The first half would turn out to be the difference in this one as the Rebels played well on their home floor, heading into halftime up by 11 points (40-29). The second half was more competitive as each team put 28 points on the board, giving a non-conference 11-point win to the Rebels.

“Southland is a completely different team than what we saw against Fillmore Central,” Hauser recalled. “They’re fast, quick, and they like to get out and run. We didn’t get back on defense enough and fell behind. We were down 14-2 early and fought back. Their lead was down to four a couple of times in the second half, but it takes a lot of energy out of us to get there.”

Buchholtz was back on top of the team scoring chart, leading the team with 19 points (7 of 17 shooting, 2 three-pointers) and a team-best eight rebounds. She also led the team with five assists and tied for the team lead with three steals.

Wernimont was once again in double-figures with 12 points (two three-pointers). Farlinger added eight points and Audrey Webster scored seven points.

Kingsland hit 20 of 54 shots (37%). Again, the Knights were most effective from two-point range, making 15 of 36 shots (42%). They were only five of 18 (27%) from outside the arc. They once again had some opportunities to change the outcome at the free-throw line. However, they made just 12 of 21 attempts (57%).

The team hit the boards much more consistently than the previous night, grabbing a total of 37 rebounds, 14 on the offensive end. Link grabbed six rebounds and Farlinger added five to the team total.

The Knights were also much more intense on defense, coming away with 13 steals. Wernimont and Reiland each had three steals to tie Buchholtz for the team lead.

Remain undefeated in conference

The Kingsland girls jumped back into their Southeast Conference schedule with a road trip to Schaeffer Academy in Rochester on Thursday night. The Knights played good basketball at both ends of the floor, especially on offense. They hit their third-highest point total of the season in putting up 70 points.

Kingsland raced out to a 10-point halftime lead (35-25) that was helped out by five three-point baskets and good defense against the Lions. The second half was almost exactly identical to the first, with the Knights adding another 35 points to their total and allowing Schaeffer to score 27.

“We played a good game at both ends,” Hauser said. “Our turnovers were down, we looked for open teammates who hit their open looks, it was just a complete team effort that night. We had two girls in double figures, we had two girls with seven or more assists, and everyone contributed in steals.”

Three-point shooting was solid for the Kingsland offense, which hit seven of 21 attempts (33%). For the game, the Knights made 26 of their 57 shots (45%).

Buchholtz led Kingsland with 24 points while dishing out seven assists, getting four steals and a blocked shot while grabbing four rebounds. Reiland had a remarkable all-around game, scoring eight points while leading the team in rebounds (12), assists (10), steals (6), and blocked shots (2). Wernimont continued solid outside shooting, scoring 14 points that included four treys. Link scored seven points and Miner contributed six points.

Kingsland hit the glass hard, pulling down a total of 38 rebounds, including 15 on the offensive end of the floor. Reiland was especially solid on the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds, more than half of which (7) came when the Knights had the ball. Farlinger almost joined her in double figures with nine rebounds.

The Kingsland defense made life tough on Schaeffer ball-handlers, coming away with an impressive number of steals (17).


The Kingsland girls already began a busy week on Monday, Jan. 6, with a home game against Lewiston-Altura for Parents Night. Tuesday night, they headed to St. Charles for a non-conference game with the Saints. Friday night, Jan. 10, the Knights head to Kenyon-Wanamingo before finishing the week the next night at home against Hayfield.