Girls Basketball: Scott, K-M outduel Quam, K-W
KENYON – Two of the Hiawatha Valley League's premier players took the court Monday with Kenyon-Wanamingo's Mara Quam and Kasson-Mantorville's Kristin Scott.
And the duo did not disappoint as Scott scored 36 points and 12 rebounds, and Quam with 33 points.
What Monday's conference match-up ultimately came down to was the effort of the other players on offense. And that's where the KoMets gained the advantage.
With 10 points from MiKayla Grant, five second-half points from Bailey Berge and a four-point, 15-rebound effort from Peyton Suess, third-ranked (3A) K-M held off K-W for a 55-50 win.
“I thought we came out super strong and I think we guarded Kristin really well in the first half. We all just came out with a bunch of energy and played really well,” Quam said. “In the beginning of the second (half), we just couldn't score. They came out with a lot of energy, too. Kristin, she's good. It's hard to stop her.”
To start the game, the Knights' full-court press caused some panic for the KoMets as K-W jumped out to a 12-4 lead. With the KoMets slowing things down, they were able to work the ball down low to Scott, causing the Knights to abandon the press for a 2-3 zone in hopes of cutting off the Iowa State commit. Suess also caused some headaches on the offensive boards.
“They're a hard team to play man with because of their size. We figured if we stayed in that 2-3, we'd be able to pack it in a little more,” said K-W head coach Brent Lurken. “But you're also giving up something on that, liking giving up ball pressure and not getting in the passing lanes as much as we'd like. They're a tough team to match up with, so you have to pick your poison.”
The zone look managed to work in the first half as the Knights went into the locker room with a 26-21 lead, having never given up the lead over the first 18 minutes.
Megan Flom opened the second half with a 3-pointer for K-W, boosting the lead to 29-21. But it was just one of four field goals the Knights would score in the first 10 minutes of the second half that saw K-M's eight-point deficit turn into a 39-35 lead. During the first 10 minutes, Scott dominated around the hoop with 15 points in that span.
“Second half, there was a lull there where we just weren't scoring very well,” Lurken said, “and against a good team like Kasson, it's hard to dig out of a hole like that.”
Scott's dominance allowed other players like Berge and Grant to get in on the action as the KoMets (9-3, 5-0 HVL) built their biggest lead, 53-39, with 2:55 to play after a layup by Scott.
“We were just really focused on (Scott) and once they started driving, we weren't expecting it and it caught us off-guard,” Quam said.
Quam managed to score 14 points in the second half, but no other K-W players had more than three in the final 18 minutes. Savannah Bleess finished with 10 points while no other Knight scored more than three points.
“With 33 points, (Quam) did a nice job for us out there,” Lurken said. “We lose by five points, but if a couple of those girls hit a three or make a play here or there, we could have knocked them off tonight. But unfortunately, we didn't have quite enough offense.”
The Knights (6-5, 3-3 HVL) have run through a gantlet of tough teams, with consecutive losses to New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, Goodhue and K-M. K-W will get a small reprieve at Triton on Tuesday and at home against Blooming Prairie Friday before facing top-ranked (1A) Mountain Iron-Buhl Saturday at the Hayfield invitational.