Girls fire on all cylinders in tournament opener
By Brady Ambrose
Call it a blow-out, call it lop-sided, call it whatever you want. But if Thursday night’s effort by the Caledonia girls varsity basketball team was any indication, Warrior fans might have to get ready to hit the road for awhile. In a totally dominating effort, Caledonia hammered Wabasha-Kellogg 90-23 in the first game of the MSHSL girls tournament. The victory set up a rematch with P-E-M Monday night in Rochester.
Caledonia improved to 20-7 on the season, and in their three meetings this year with the Falcons, the Warriors have outscored them 233-83. “This is good, this is what we needed,” said Caledonia coach Jimmy Westland. “Hopefully we can carry this to our next game. The effort and the attitude and communication were great.”
The Warriors got 31 points from Taylor Winjum, 16 from Maddy Mullins, 15 from Lauren Rusert and had 12 players get in the scoring column with Fruechte and Mullins combining to pull down 18 rebounds as well.
“We don’t focus on the score; we focus on our standard of play,” Westland said. “We really communicated well and it was a team effort on defense.”
The Warriors exploded out to an 11-2 lead less than two minutes into the game and extended it to 21-8 at the 10-12 mark. Three minutes later a basket by Mullins pushed the lead to 33-10, and Winjum’s jumper at the 5:16 mark made the score 35-14 and also gave the Caledonia senior 17 points in less than 12 minutes.
Caledonia then outscored W-K 9-1 to move the lead to 44-15 and then scored the next nine points for a 53-17 lead just before halftime. Rusert scored on a layup at the buzzer to put the game on ice with the Warriors leading 55-17 at the break.
Caledonia opened up the second half with a 21-4 run to build the lead to 76-21 with 10 minutes left to play. They eventually built a 61-point lead at 82-21 on a three-pointer from sophomore Jordyn Krause.
“I’m proud of the team, especially the freshmen who weren’t able to dress with us,” Westland said. “We have nine freshmen and I asked them if they wanted to be done or if they would like to continue with us, and all nine voted to stay, even though we can only dress six of the nine for the tournament. I’m very proud of them – every one of them has a great attitude and are great kids.”
Kotero 9, Garvin 2, Swenson 2, Blaschko 4, Kanz 6.
NO. 1 CALEDONIA
Werner 2, Fruechte 10, Mullins 16, Rusert 15, Russert 3, Doering 2, Krause 3, Winjum 31, Denstad 2, King 2, Felten 2, Schulte 2.
Free throws: W-K 5-11, CAL 11-15.
Three-point goals: W-K 0, CAL 9 Mullins 1, L. Rusert 3, Krause 1, Winjum 4