Sometimes, a chip on the shoulder is very good thing. Just ask the girls basketball team from Win-E-Mac.
The Patriots carried a chip throughout the state tournament, and it began when votes by the participating coaches left Win-E-Mac among the three unseeded teams in Class 1A. This was despite the fact that the Patriots had been the fourth-place team at state last year and came into the tournament with a record of 28-2.
Saturday’s title game at Williams Arena against defending champ Minneota seemed like a tough task for a team playing in its first championship game, but the Patriots (pictured taking a picture) never wavered … despite carrying that chip on their shoulder.
They took the lead for good when Korbyn Ross hit a three-point shot with seven minutes left in the first half. They stretched the margin to 15 points in the second half and held off the Vikings down the stretch.
Coming in unseeded had an impact on how the Patriots approached the tournament, said coach Ian Hanson.
“Absolutely it did,” he said. “In our locker room the pep talk was, ‘We are number one.’ We were fourth last year and we had everybody back. We knew from the get-go we could be state champions.”
Madison McKeever led Win-E-Mac with 27 points and Ross had 17. Taylor Reiss had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Minneota and Emily Stienessen had 17 points.
CLASS 2A: NRHEG 71, KENYON-WANAMINGO 61
Carlie Wagner was in tears as her high school career ended with a second consecutive state title. The tears began as soon as the horn blew on New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva’s victory over Kenyon-Wanamingo, they continued as Carlie was joined on the all-tournament team by ninth-grade twin sisters Maddie and Marnie, and they were still rolling down her cheeks as she talked to the media.
Wagner (pictured) – who will continue her basketball career at Williams Arena with the Minnesota Gophers next season -- capped a spectacular high school career by scoring 36 points and continuing her assault on the state tournament record book.
She finished with 130 points in the tournament, breaking her record of 129 from a year ago. NRHEG also scored 248 points in three tournament games, breaking the record of 241 set by Rochester Mayo in 1997.
Megan Quam scored 22 points for Kenyon-Wanamingo; the Knights’ only two losses this season were against NRHEG.
3A/ PARK CENTER 73, MARSHALL 71 (THREE OVERTIMES)
Park Center, playing at state for the first time in school history, survived triple overtime and held off the Tigers. Marshall won state titles in 2001 and 2002 and was the runner-up in 2006.
Ann Simonet led the Pirates with 26 points and Cayla McMorris had 21. Kenzie Beekman scored 20 for Marshall. Marshall has only two seniors on the roster and Park Center has just one.
4A/ EASTVIEW 64, BLOOMINGTON KENNEDY 61
The Lightning rallied in the final minute to capture the state title. Their first lead of the game came with 48 seconds remaining. Madison Guebert led Eastview with 29 points and Kenisha Bell had 24 for Kennedy.
--Three of the eight coaches leading their teams Saturday are graduates of Southwest Minnesota State University: Chad Johnston (1995) of Minneota in Class 1A, John Schultz (1986) of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in Class 2A and Dan Westby (1989) of Marshall in Class 3A.
1A/ Megan Schroeder, Lindsey Theuninck, Mankato Loyola; Mikayla Miller, Shelby Hinsch, Goodhue; Madison McKeever, Shelby Kaster, Korbyn Ross, Win-E-Mac; Emily Stienessen, Taylor Reiss, Shelby Corbin, Minneota.
2A/Abby Miller, Gabby Gruenhagen, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted; Bailey Mudek, Ava Gonsorowski, Esko; Siri Sviggum, Brittney Flom, Megan Quam, Kenyon-Wanamingo; Maddie Wagner, Carlie Wagner, Marnie Wagner, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.
3A/ Chase Coley, Lucia Renikoff, Minneapolis Washburn; Bailey Strand, Brianna Rasmusson, Fergus Falls; Kenzie Beekman, Hannah Bennett, Sarah Buysse, Marshall; Cayla McMorris, Mikayla Hayes, Ann Simonet, Park Center.
4A/ Emma Boehm, Jayla Mayes-Jackson, Eden Prairie; MacKenzie Denk, Temi Carda, Lakeville North; Hana Metoxen, Madison Guebert, Kari Opatz, Eastview; Kenisha Bell, Tonoia Wade, Lashayla Wright-Ponder, Bloomington Kennedy.
1A/ Goodhue 74, Mankato Loyola 62: Mikayla Miller had 30 points for the Wildcats Shelby Hinsch had 24. Lindsey Theuninck led Loyola with 19 points.
2A/ Esko 53, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 44: Bailey Mudek led the Eskomos with 16 points and Abby Miller and Gabby Gruenhagen each had 17 for Howard Lake. Miller set a state tournament record by making 16 three-point baskets this week. The previous record was 13, set by Sara Schoenrock of Christ’s Household of Faith in 1997.
3A/ Fergus Falls 72, Minneapolis Washburn 62: Bailey Strand scored 45 points for the Otters and Chase Coley had 18 for Washburn.
4A/ Eden Prairie 48, Lakeville North 44: Martha Kuderer led the Eagles with 18 points and MacKenzie Denk had 10 for North.
--Photos by MNPrepPhoto.com. See photo galleries from Saturday’s championship games on the MSHSL Facebook page.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 399
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 9,154
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn