Girls Basketball: Wingers start title defense with blowout victoryDefending Section 1AAA champion Red Wing looked ready to make another run at a title Wednesday in its 66-30 opening round playoff victory over Albert Lea in Red Wing.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
Defending Section 1AAA champion Red Wing looked ready to make another run at a title Wednesday in its 66-30 opening round playoff victory over Albert Lea in Red Wing.
Four players reached double figures in scoring for the Wingers. Marisa Toivonen led the team with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Tesha Buck added 16, A.J. LaFond 14 and Macy Kelly finished with 12 points. Buck also finished with eight assists, five rebounds and five steals.
“I thought we got off to a good start and it was everybody,” Red Wing head coach Dave Muelken said. “We got great contributions tonight from a lot of kids.”
Red Wing displayed patience on offense and worked to find the best shot, which resulted in a balanced scoring attack.
The Wingers got off to a quick start and built a 16-point lead less than eight minutes into the game.
“This whole week we’ve stressed coming out hard and being ready to go,” Buck said. “We’ve had two good practices to start the week so I think that rolled over to the game.”
Second-seeded Red Wing (17-10) had no trouble against the seventh-seeded Tigers (4-23) and tallied 16 steals in the game. The Wingers also cleaned up on the boards, holding Albert Lea to two offensive rebounds in the first half and none in the second half. Red Wing finished with 39 rebounds, 14 offensive.
“We were saying talent doesn’t just win games,” Kelly said. “We’ve been working hard and know we have to want it more than the other team that we’re playing.”
Red Wing came into the game on a four-game losing streak and had lost eight of its final 10 games, but as Muelken has said repeatedly during the season, it’s the postseason that the Wingers have focused on.
“We focused real hard on our section all year long,” Muelken said. That’s our goal.”
Red Wing led by as much as 40 at one point in the game.
Having gone through the rigors of reaching the section title game last season has given the Wingers some added confidence, Buck said.
“I think it gives us a little more confidence, if anything,” Buck said. “It’s a new season, you can’t base it off of last season. You have to start over and do it all over again.”
The Wingers will face No. 3 seed Austin Saturday in Red Wing at 7 p.m.