Girls Basketball: Red Wing knocked out of state playoffsMINNEAPOLIS – A layup by Macy Kelly put the Red Wing girls basketball team up 42-41 with 10 minutes, 18 seconds left in the second half but a 14-1 run by Richfield put the Wingers away in a 68-53 loss to the top-seeded Spartans Wednesday at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
MINNEAPOLIS – A layup by Macy Kelly put the Red Wing girls basketball team up 42-41 with 10 minutes, 18 seconds left in the second half but a 14-1 run by Richfield put the Wingers away in a 68-53 loss to the top-seeded Spartans Wednesday at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota.
Kelly, Tesha Buck and Marisa Toivonen combined to score 32 points and grab 24 rebounds for Red Wing (19-11) but it wasn’t enough to knock off Richfield in the first round of the Class 3A girls state basketball tournament. Toivonen, a senior, scored 19 points to lead the Wingers and ninth-grader McKenzie Muelken scored seven points in 15 minutes. The Wingers shot 19-for-40 from the field but missed 11 free throws and committed 22 turnovers, 13 in the second half.
“They picked up their defensive effort in the second half,” Red Wing head coach Dave Muelken said. “They just got after it in the second half … the last five minutes it got away but for 30 minutes it was a heck of a ball game.”
Jessica January finished with 21 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals for the Spartans (26-4). Bryann Guyton had 10 points and 12 rebounds while Sierra Ford-Washington tallied 20 points.
The Wingers struck early and built a 15-4 lead with 12:25 left in the first half but Richfield countered with an 11-2 run to pull within two points at 17-15.Red Wing led the rest of the half and went into the break leading 29-24. January and Buck shot poorly in the first half but the Wingers had a 23-14 rebounding edge and made 11 of 16 free throws.
“We were very confident at halftime,” Buck, a junior, said.
In the second half, the Spartans’ defense sped up Red Wing and forced turnovers that led to easy baskets on the other end. Richfield scored 26 points off the Wingers’ turnovers and played with more physicality after halftime.
“In the second half, they let it get real physical,” Muelken said. “We just needed to play through and be a little stronger.”
The Spartans forced five turnovers during the 14-1 run in the middle of the second half. January, who shot just 2 of 10 in the first half, also started attacking the rim and getting to the foul line. She was 6 of 7 from the line in the second half.
“She finished really well,” Buck said. “We knew she would be really fast.”
Red Wing cut the lead to 59-50 with 2:50 remaining but couldn’t make one final push.
“We knew they were very beatable but it didn’t end the way we wanted,” Kelly, a junior, said. “We dug ourselves a hole and we just couldn’t get back out.”
The Wingers led at halftime of their first round game at last year’s state tournament but ended up falling to state runner-up Hill-Murray. Buck said it felt similar to last year’s game but they had a shot up until the final minutes.
“I thought the whole game we had a chance to come back,” Buck said.
Red Wing finished with a 38-28 rebounding margin and the game was much closer than the final score indicated.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” Muelken said. “We didn’t lay an egg today. They represented themselves really well.”