Mabel-Canton girls sink free throws during three-win week

HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER Payton Danielson puts up a shot for Mabel-Canton in a contest against Randolph.
Chad Smith

The Mabel-Canton girls basketball team had a remarkable week. Normally, averaging 45 points a game during a single week doesn’t get a team many wins. However, the Cougars played well defensively and wound up going 3-0, starting with a 40-35 home court win over Rushford-Peterson on Monday, Feb. 3. On Friday, Feb. 7, the Cougars beat the Randolph Rockets 49-45.

The final game was a rescheduled matchup with LeRoy-Ostrander on Saturday, Feb. 8, which the Cougars won 46-38. It was their third victory in a row after a three-game skid the prior week.

Shortly before this edition went to press, the M-C girls slipped to 10-14 (7-6 SEC, second place) with a 49-38 home loss to Class AA La Crescent-Hokah. Look for complete coverage next week.

Beat R-P 40-35

While neither team shot the ball exceptionally well in such a low-scoring game, the Cougars hit enough 2-point baskets and free throws to squeak out a 5-point non-conference win.

The Trojans (2-19) held a 1-point lead (15-14) over the hometown Cougars at halftime. The scoring pace didn’t pick up a lot in the second half, but the Cougars did enough to get the job done, outscoring Rushford-Peterson by 6 points (26-20) to get the win.

The Cougars hit 15 of their 48 shots (31%), while the Trojans, who’ve been playing more competitive basketball late in the season, made 14 of 45 shots (31%).

The Cougars hit 14 2-point field goals (28 points) to 10 2-pointers (20 points) for the Trojans. In a five-point win, they also held a 6-point advantage over the Trojans (9-to-3) at the free-throw line.

The Cougars scoring advantage overcame a 9-point deficit in 3-point shooting. Rushford-Peterson drained 4 of 12 (33%, 12 points) while M-C hit only 1 of 10 (10%, 3 points).

The Cougars placed two players in double figures, led by Payton Danielson with 11 points and team-highs in rebounds (8), steals (6) and assists (2, tied with Jordyn Newgard and Lauren Wyffels). Camryn Cox chipped in 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

Ellie Dahl led the Trojans with a game-high 17 points while Kaylee Ruberg added 9.

The Cougars grabbed 32 rebounds, 11 on the offensive end. Wyffels chipped in 7 boards as did Newgard. Defensively, the team had 11 steals against 18 turnovers.

Beat Randolph 49-45

The Cougars picked up their second-straight home court win last week in come-from-behind fashion, thanks in part to a great night at the free-throw line.

They trailed the Rockets (9-14, 6-6 SEC) by 1 point (23-22) at halftime before rallying in a low-scoring second half to outscore Randolph by 5 points (27-22) to pull out a 4-point win.

The Cougars won by four points with a 15-point scoring advantage at the stripe, where M-C hit 17 of 25 free throws (68%) while limiting the Rockets to only five free throws (2 for 5).

Mabel-Canton didn’t make a lot of field goals against the Rocket defense, but it was enough to get the job done. The Cougars sank 15 of their 48 shots (31%) while Randolph went 19 for 53 (40%).

Three Cougars hit double figures, a good accomplishment in such a low-scoring game. Wyffels led the team with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, an impressive accomplishment for someone who doesn’t play under the basket.

Danielson added a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards. Makenzie Kelly had 10 points, while Newgard scored 2 points and pulled down a team-best 11 boards.

The Cougars crashed the boards hard, pulling down a total of 41 missed shots, 9 of which were on the offensive end.  Randolph brought down only 25 rebounds,

The Cougar offense turned it over 18 times while the Rockets lost possession 12 times. The defense came up with 11 steals.

Two-time All-SEC junior Megan Erickson led Randolph with 21 points and 5 rebounds.

Beat L-O 46-38

The Cardinals scored the first three points, but the Cougars didn’t have to play come-from-behind basketball very long as they roared into an early lead with a 15-to-2 run.

Mabel-Canton led by as many 10 points in the first half before heading into halftime with a 5 point lead (26-21).

M-C slowed the pace and outscored the winless Cardinals (0-23, 0-12) by 3 points (20-17) in a low-scoring second half to pull out an eight-point win.

A Wyffels 3-point basket gave Mabel-Canton a 10-point lead (41-31) with three and a half minutes to play. The Cardinals were back within five points (41-36) before Wyffels hit two free throws for a three-possession 44-36 lead with 1:07 on the clock.

Free throws and 3-point shooting turned out to be the difference in the game for the Cougars, who swept the two-game regular-season series from L-O (47-33 M-C win in non-conference season opener).

Mabel-Canton made 11 of 18 (61%) free throws to just 6 of 8 for LeRoy-Ostrander.

M-C also hit 5 of 17 (29%) shots from long range, while the Cardinals hit just 2 of 7 outside the 3-point arc. The Cougars made just 9 of 32 from 2-point range to 13 for 30 from L-O.

Danielson (KFIL Radio Game Ball recipient) topped the scoring chart for Mabel-Canton with 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, her second game in a row with a double-double.

Kelly (KFIL Cougar Player of the Game) was once again in double figures with 10 points while grabbing 3 rebounds and getting 4 steals.

Junior Kelly Hanson led the Cardinals with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Jordan Runde added 9 points. 

M-C came out on top despite losing the rebounding battle 31-23. The Cougars did grab 12 offensive rebounds and gave themselves extra scoring opportunities.

Mabel-Canton also had a solid game on defense, finishing with 12 steals (Wyffels 5), while taking good care of the ball on their end of the floor, finishing with only 11 turnovers.


Following Monday's loss to La Crescent-Hokah, the Cougars looked for a season split with Grand Meadow in Mabel on Tuesday night.

They wrap up the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 13, at home against Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons.

The Section 1A tournament pairings are set to come out on Saturday. The 17-team section tourney begins with one Feb. 18 play-in game before the first round on Thursday, Feb. 20, followed by the quarterfinals (final eight) on Monday, Feb. 24, in Rochester.