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Red Wing's McKayla Muelken drives to the hoop Friday during a 73-41 loss to Chaska. Muelken scored 10 points in the loss. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

Girls Basketball: High-flying Hawks take down Wingers

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With few exceptions, the ability to win a state championship rarely comes along. And when it does, coaches and players must grasp the opportunity as early as possible.

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For Chaska, that chance is now.

With three elite talents on the current roster – including two Division I posts and a high-level DII guard – the Hawks had little trouble with Red Wing Friday night, downing the Wingers 73-41 in a Missota Conference affair.

Quite simply, the time is now for Chaska, something Red Wing coach Dave Muelken knows first-hand after a state runner-up finish in 2013 followed back-to-back section titles.

“We have eight freshmen, and we’ll talk about that,” Muelken said. “All those young kids got valuable minutes against what is a very good team. We’ll talk about this, that four years from now, that’s what we need to be doing to teams. They didn’t feel sorry for us. They’re trying to win a state championship, and we’re in their way. They’re going to steamroll us if they can.”

The flattening started immediately.

Nine different players scored the first 12 baskets for the Hawks, a run that had Chaska up 27-12 with 7 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first half. The Wingers scored only twice more before the buzzer, and not failed to make a shot for the final 5:14. That left Red Wing staring at a 43-15 deficit at the break.

“They have more talent than us, they’re bigger than us, and on top of that, they’re a good team that played well,” Muelken said. “It’s one of those deals that once it rolls, they were all confident.”

Kendall Baab and MaKena Panning each scored 13 points for Chaska while teammate Ellie Thompson put up a dozen. Baab (Marist) and Thompson (South Dakota State) will be playing DI ball next season with Panning heading to Winona State.

McKenzie Muelken led the Wingers with 11 points and five rebounds as younger sister McKayla scored 10 points.

Red Wing never slowed down in the second half despite the running time. The Wingers just could not keep up with a rotation that was long on ability.

“(Chaska coach Tara Siefert) plays 10, and they play 10 regularly,” Dave Muelken said. “They have great depth with eight seniors. They started with this group as freshmen with the Chanhassen/Chaska split, and this is their first group of seniors because last year’s group was with Chanhassen. This is the culmination. This is their mother lode. This is their state tournament run is what they’re hoping. And they’re very good.”

Red Wing (6-9 overall, 2-4 Missota) will stay in conference Monday with a visit to New Prague (10-5, 2-3). The Wingers will then step out of league play to host Kasson-Mantorville (15-3, 10-1 HVL) Thursday.

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Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at kstevens@republican-eagle.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
(651) 301-7879
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