June 14, 2024

No. 6 Knights upset No. 3 Lakers in 3AA opener

Brooke Kern / Grant County Herald WCA freshman Nora Anderson dribbles past a Minnewaska defender during Saturday’s 3AA-North quarterfinal game, in Glenwood.

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Brooke Kern

Grant County Herald

The No. 6-seeded West Central Area girls basketball team upset the No. 3-seeded Minnewaska Area Lakers in the opening round of the Section 3AA-North playoffs Saturday, Feb. 25, in Glenwood. The Knights bounced back from a 12-point deficit at halftime to pick up a five-point win, 74-59, to advance to the Section 3AA-North semifinals against No. 2-seeded Montevideo Tuesday, Feb. 28, in Willmar.

“It was a stressful but exciting game,” WCA’s first-year head coach Becca Holland said. “A lot of the game came down to heart and concentration.”

The Knights struggled against the Laker press in the first half and closed out the first 18 minutes down 42-30 after 18 turnovers.

“We got nervous with the trap, not sure why since we’ve seen it before,” Holland said. “I tried my best to give the girls confidence at halftime. We changed up some offensive schemes and talked a lot about turnovers.”

After holding the lead at 12 for the first several minutes of the second half, WCA began to chip away thanks to cold shooting by the Lakers, who were held to just five field goals in the final 18. Senior Claire Stark got a dish from Macy Grosz on a 2-on-1 fast break to give WCA its first lead of the game at 51-50 with around nine to play. Stark finished with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds as the senior also reached the 1,000-point milestone in the game.

With just under six to play, Jayden Styba hit a reverse lay-up that started a 7-1 run for the Knights, which gave them a commanding 62-56 lead with 3:45 left in the game. WCA closed out the game on a 12-3 run. The Knights hit six second half threes in the comeback win.

“Nora Anderson stepped it up big time for us. We had her on lock on Thorfinnson,” Holland said of the freshman that finished with 13 points. “Once we got the lead, we got the confidence and just kept pushing.”

Mya Foslien finished with nine points, nine rebounds and three assists. Addison Staples (nine points, six rebounds, five assists) and Jayden Styba (seven rebounds) were both factors on the boards throughout the night.

Lauren Ankeny led the Lakers with 17 points, making 9-of-14 free throws. Sydney Dahl added 14 points.

The Lady Knights will now face Montevideo on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Willmar.

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