Knights finish regular season strong to share division title


Victoria Hershberger drives to the basket in Kingsland’s game against Houston. DAVID PHILLIPS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
By : 
CHAD SMITH
SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

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The Kingsland girls’ basketball team swept the three games played last week, all in the Southeast Conference, ending the regular season tied with Houston for the Southeast Conference East title.

The Knights overcame a slow start to pick up a win at Randolph on Monday, Feb. 11, by a 44-39 score. A rescheduled game against Fillmore Central scheduled for Tuesday was canceled due to winter weather. The Knights won a rare Wednesday game at home against Houston 76-61, claiming a share of the division lead. The Kingsland girls ended the season at home against Spring Grove. Lauren Buchholtz became the school’s all-time leading scorer (boys and girls) in an 80-42 win.

With the win over the Lions, Kingsland shares the East Division title with Houston (both teams are 10-3 in conference). The Knights are 15-9 overall (10-3 SEC) as they open the Section 1A tournament at home on Feb. 21 against Spring Grove.

Tough road win at Randolph

The week began with a tough road trip to Randolph for a Southeast Conference game against the Rockets (13-10, 6-5 SEC). A bad first half shooting for the Knights put Kingsland behind the eight-ball but the Knights rallied in the second half. The Rockets led 24-17 at the half before Kingsland got it going at both ends of the floor, outscoring Randolph 24-15 in the second half to grab an important five-point road win.

Free throws were a help to the Knights, who hit only seven field goals in the first half and nine in the second. However, the Kingsland girls could have had a much easier time of it with more made free throws. They wound up hitting only 10 of their 21 attempts. From the field, Kingsland made 16 of 55 shots (29%), doing most of the damage from two-point range (14 of 40, 35%).

Lauren Buchholtz was the only Knight in double figures with 19 points, completing a double-double with 14 rebounds (nine offensive). Shelby Beck added seven points and four rebounds. Audrey Webster and Sam Wernimont each added five points.

Sophomore forward Morgan Erickson led the Rockets with 14 points, while senior guard Andrea Splichal added 11 points.

Anika Reiland and Emily Miner each had two of the team’s nine total assists. The Knights’ defense hit double figures with 12 steals (Nora Jahn three, Megan Schultz three), while also getting three blocked shots in the Knights’ final regular-season road game.

Big win over Houston

The Knights returned home for a rare Wednesday-night game, a big matchup against the Houston Hurricanes. A share of the SEC Eastern Division lead was at stake for the Knights, who came into the game trailing Houston (14-10, 9-3 SEC) by a game. Both teams came out playing well, with Kingsland holding a homecourt lead at halftime 42-33. Kingsland put up 34 points in the second half and held the Canes to 28, coming away with a 15-point SEC win.

The win was the second in a row against Houston. Kingsland dropped the first conference game back in early December (60-48). The two squads faced each other in a non-conference game in late December, which Kingsland won by five points (67-62) in overtime.

After a poor-shooting game against Randolph, the Knights got things going on the offensive end, draining 26 of 63 shots (41%). They were especially hot from long range, knocking down 10 of 23 shots outside the arc, torching the nets for 43 percent on three-pointers.

Three Knights carried the offensive load as Wernimont and the Buchholtz sisters combined for 61 of the team’s 76 points. Lauren Buchholtz scored 28 points (seven of nine free throws) and grabbed 17 rebounds, nearly completing a triple-double with eight assists. Ellie Buchholtz added 19 points (six treys) and a team-high four steals (three assists). Wernimont added 14 points, three assists, and two steals.

Houston’s Emma Geiwitz led her team with 27 points while Alyssa Rostad chipped in 15.

The Knights grabbed 39 rebounds, including 16 on the offensive end. The offense was clicking as the Knights finished with 19 assists.

The defense hit double figures in steals once again, getting 13 thefts against Houston ballhandlers. Beck had three steals and Wernimont added two. Jahn had the team’s only blocked shot.

Senior Night vs. Lions

Senior Night was a fantastic and historic way to wrap up the season for the Knights. Kingsland senior Lauren Buchholtz became the all-time leading scorer (either boys or girls) in Kingsland girls’ basketball history. It was just a few weeks ago that she broke Paisley Larson’s scoring record. Her 25 points pushed her ahead of Josh Hagan’s all-time scoring record, taking over the lead with 1,513 career points.

The Knights were highly motivated, coming out fast and cruising into halftime with a 47-26 lead. The Knights added another 53 points in the second half while holding the Lions (10-11, 6-7 SEC) to only 16 points. Kingsland swept the two-game regular season series against the Lions after winning the first game on Jan. 8, 65-46.

The Knights scorched the nets, draining 35 of 65 shots (53%). They were even hotter outside the three-point line, hitting eight of their 13 attempts (red-hot 61%). The only place Kingsland didn’t shoot well was the free throw line, which didn’t make a lot of difference in the game, hitting eight of their 16 free throws.

Lauren Buchholtz took another run at a triple-double during her historic night, getting 25 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. Ellie Buchholtz added 21 points, five rebounds, and a team-leading nine assists. While no other Knights broke double figures, eight of the 11 other girls on the roster all contributed points.

Alyssa Johnson led Spring Grove with 13 points, Mariah Edgington added nine, and Amelia Solum scored eight points.

The Knights grabbed 37 rebounds, 14 on the offensive end. When the Knights had the ball, the offense was flowing as the team finished with 24 assists.

Defensively, the Knights swiped the ball 14 times from Spring Grove (Schultz five) and two blocked shots as they clinched a share of the East Division title.

Schedule

The Knights earned the No. 11 seed in the Section 1A basketball tournament, which begins with play-in games on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The Knights will host a familiar foe in Spring Grove, the team they just ended the regular season with. The game starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21. The winner moves on to play next Monday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rochester Civic Arena. Hayfield awaits the winner of the Mabel-Canton and Bethlehem Academy play-in game, with the winner of the game at Hayfield to face the winner of the Kingsland and Spring Grove game.

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