M-C girls close regular season with one win, three road defeats

TIFFANY DANIELSON/NEWS LEADER Kenidi McCabe shoots from beyond the arc during the Cougars’ game in Houston on Thursday night.

TIFFANY DANIELSON/NEWS LEADER Payton Danielson makes a break to the basket to get two points for the Cougars against Rushford-Peterson last Wednesday. The Cougars won in a close game, 56-53.
By : 
Chad Smith
News Leader

The Mabel-Canton girls basketball team spent last week on the road, winning one of four games. The week started on Feb. 11 with a conference road win at Lanesboro, 45-32, as Mabel-Canton won the regular season series. After a Tuesday night off, the Cougars began three straight days on the road, starting with a Wednesday win at Rushford-Peterson, 56-53, just their second two-game win streak of the year.

The Cougars then lost at Houston on Thursday, Feb. 14, 56-39. A tired group of Cougars lost at Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons on Friday night, 60-55.

On Monday of this week, shortly before this edition went to press, Mabel-Canton closed the regular season at 7-19 overall (4-9 SEC, fourth place) with a 55-36 road loss as Lyle/Pacelli earned a share of the SEC West Division championship. 

On Tuesday of this week, the Cougars took the No. 14 seed (among 19 teams) into the Section 1A Tournament, hosting No. 19 Faribault Bethlehem Academy.

The winner moves into tonight's (Thursday, Feb. 21) game at No. 3 Hayfield.

Coverage of these games will be in next week's News Leader.

Beat LHS, 45-32

The Cougar girls put an end to a three-game losing skid with a 13-point win at Lanesboro, sweeping the two-game season series with the Burros.

The Cougars led a low-scoring first half by nine points (23-14), adding 22 points in the second half while holding Lanesboro (3-20, 2-11 SEC) to 18. The victory came in the second of six-straight road games to end the season.

“Took us a little bit to get rolling,” Cougar coach Adam Wilder told KFIL Radio on Coaches Corner. “It had been a while since we had a game. The week prior, we were supposed to have one, and it ended up postponed due to weather. When we were able to get our momentum going, we were able to play some really good defense late.

“Lanesboro came out and made some shots early and actually took an early lead, five-to-six-point lead, I think,” he added. “One of our bench players came into the game; Kenidi McCabe a sophomore came in and got a fire going for us. She was able to hit two early threes and got us right back into the game. "

Mabel-Canton hit 19 of 53 shots (36%) while placing three in double figures. Maddy Michels and McCabe (four of nine on three-pointers) each had 14 points while Payton Danielson had a double-double of 13 points (five of nine shooting) and 13 rebounds.

The M-C offense did most of its damage inside the three-point line, going 15 of 35 (43%). Payton Benson was the only Burro in double figures with 12 points.

Danielson attempted all four M-C free throws, hitting three. The Burros attempted 13 more free throws than Mabel-Canton but only made four more (seven for 17). Three-point shooting was basically even as Mabel-Canton made four and Lanesboro three.

The Cougars pulled down 38 rebounds, only seven coming on the offensive end. Lauryn Wyffels and Jordyn Newgard each had six rebounds.

Danielson had six of the team’s 12 assists as well as three of the Cougars’ eight steals. The team finished with 20 turnovers.

M-C led by as many as 28 points in the second half before the Burros closed the gap late.

“Overall, it was a pretty good team effort,” Wilder said. “We had three girls in double figures. We were able to build that lead up in the second half and get some girls in late to rest some legs for the rest of the week.”

Beat R-P, 56-53

The Cougars hit the road for non-conference action at Rushford-Peterson (4-20) and wound up winning two games in a row for only the second time this season as they pulled out a three-point win.

There wasn’t much offense for either team in the first half with the Cougars heading to the locker room down by four points (19-15) at the half.

Both teams were much more consistent after the break, especially the Cougars, who outscored the Trojans 41-34 in the second half to come from behind and get the win.

“The first half, it was kind of hard for both teams to score,” said Wilder on KFIL. “We had a ton of shots go right off the rim and off. They were soft shots; they were right there. We just missed, and so did Rushford.

“I don’t know what happened at halftime,” he added. “Shots started falling for both teams, and we did a nice job getting aggressive and getting to the free throw line. We shot all our free throws in the second half. We are good from the free throw line, and we have been all year. I think for the game we shot around 73, 74%. So that's an area we want to get to; we were able to do that a little bit early in the second half and then especially late, we were able to ice the game with free throws by a few players.”

The Cougars were 19 of 26 at the line (73%) while the Trojans were 10 for 20. Those free throws were likely a big part of the M-C win as the Cougars were outshot by Rushford-Peterson from the field, 41% to 29%. Both teams did their best work inside the arc as each team only hit three three-point shots apiece.

Michels led the team with 18 points along with seven rebounds and a team-high five steals.

Danielson added 13 points while leading the team in rebounds (eight) and assists (six). Wyffels added 11 points and three rebounds.

Abbey Hoegh led the Trojans with 19 points, six rebounds and three steals.

The Cougars trailed on the boards by a slight margin, 38-36, but they did a great job of getting second chances with the basketball by grabbing 18 offensive rebounds.

The teams combined for 46 free throws and 44 turnovers (R-P 26, M-C 18).

Lost to Houston, 56-39

The first half was close in the road game at Houston before the Hurricanes kept jumping out to leads and the Cougars kept clawing back before a late game-sealing run by the 'Canes.

M-C trailed by just one point at halftime (23-22). The Hurricanes took the second half 33-17, closing out the SEC win. Houston took the season series from Mabel-Canton after a 10-point win in Mabel (46-36) on Jan. 8.  The win clinched a share of a second straight East Division championship for the Hurricanes.

“We came out and played a really nice first half,” Wilder told KFIL. “We were down only one going into halftime, 23-22 — played pretty even, did a nice job taking care of the ball against their pressure and were able to get good looks. I think we made only one or two threes, though we got a ton of good looks from out there.

The second half, they built a lead, we cut into it. They'd build a lead; we'd cut into it. With about two and half minutes to go, they were up six or seven; and they went on a 13-2 run,” he recalled. “So they closed out the game — what you like to see for any team. Unfortunately, it happened against us. They made free throws late when they needed to; they got big rebounds late when they need to.”

Houston won the rebounding battle, 38-33. The 'Canes (15-10, 10-3 SEC) added 11 offensive rebounds to 14 for Mabel-Canton.

Danielson had seven rebounds and Wyffels added six. Jenny Albrecht was the only player on either team with double figures in rebounding (14).

The Cougars were outshot 26% (14 of 54) to 39% (21 for 54) from the field. The game likely turned in two-point territory, where Houston went 17 of 36 (47%) to the Cougars' 10 of 35 (29%). Each team hit four three-pointers, and each also attempted 14 free throws, with Houston hitting 10 and M-C seven.

McCabe was the only Cougar in double figures with 10 points (five rebounds, one steal). Michels and Danielson each added nine points.

Alyssa Rostad of Houston led all scorers with 18 points while Becca Rostad and Sydney Torgerson each scored 12 points.

“We talked to the girls after the game; a lot of Houston points — I think 12 or 14 of their second-half points — came off second-chance opportunities,” Wilder said to KFIL. “Being mentally disciplined to go find somebody and box them out, and we weren't really doing that in the second half. And all of a sudden, now we're in a hole and we're trying to dig out of it. It's tough to do against a good team like Houston.”

Lost to A-C/G-E, 60-55

It was a tired bunch of Cougars that got off the bus on Friday night. The team started slowly during their third road game in as many days.

“In our start, about the first six or seven minutes of the game, we were late on our rotations; we were slow,” Wilder told KFIL. “You could tell that we had tired legs, and it was a long road trip.

"Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons got up by about 12 or 13 to start the game. Now we started to go on a run; we turned up the pressure a little bit just in the half-court defense. We're doing a better job rotating, getting to our spots, making them take tough contested shots and getting rebounds. That led to good offense for us.

“The second half continued for both teams,” Wilder added. “We were down three going into halftime. They opened up a six or seven-point lead, and then we caught back up. We'd be up by two and it would be tied. They'd be up by two and we'd be tied. Right toward the end, kind of the same thing; they're able to make a few shots and grab a few rebounds when they needed to. And they made free throws late when we had to foul. It ended up being a five-point game, 60-55."

Danielson led the Cougars with 19 points, adding seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Michels added 13 points (five of nine shooting), along with five rebounds, four steals and three assists.

As a team, the M-C girls made 23 of their 62 shots (37%). They also had one of their better three-point shooting games by making five of their 21 treys (24%).

“It was a tough, competitive game all the way,” Wilder added. “They have two outstanding scorers; Erika Bute has scored over 2,000 points in her career and a sophomore that's already over 1,000. But again defensively, Jordyn Newgard was on Erika Bute the whole night and only gave up 11 (points); only two of those came in the second half. She (Newgard) did an excellent job on her.”

The Cougar defense had 14 steals, including four each from Michels and Danielson. The Cougars also took good care of the ball, turning it over just 14 times.

M-C grabbed 25 rebounds (12 offensive).