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Girls Basketball: Quam sets scoring standard

Kenyon-Wanamingo’s Mara Quam goes up for a layup during the first half of Friday’s HVL game at Zumbrota-Mazeppa. Quam scored 27 points and became the Knights’ all-time leading scorer. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)1 / 2
Z-M’s Makayla Arendt goes up for a rebound during the first half. She finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in the 75-53 loss. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)2 / 2

ZUMBROTA – It proved to be a milestone week for Kenyon-Wanamingo girls’ hoops.

In a four-game week that saw the Knights knock off second-ranked (Class 1A) Goodhue in overtime on Tuesday, senior Mara Quam set a new school standard Friday in K-W’s 75-53 Hiawatha Valley League win over Zumbrota-Mazeppa.

After hitting a basket at the 9-minute, 6-second mark of the first half, Mara became the Knights’ all-time leading scorer, beating Kasi Quam’s all-time mark of 1,951 points set in 2001. With 27 points Friday, along with five rebounds, Mara now sits at 1,973 career points.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking,” Mara said. “Everyone was telling me, ‘Get it right away. Get it over with.’”

“She’s been unbelievable. She’s been giving us good minutes since she was in eighth grade and she just keeps getting better and better every year,” said K-W head coach Brent Lurken. “She just does so many things for us. It’s been a pleasure and it’s something we’ll never see again in our program.”

Between Mara’s strong night mixed with a strong effort from Savannah Bleess (16 points, eight steals, six rebounds), the Knights went on an 11-2 run late in the first half, helping K-W to a 38-23 halftime lead.

“With our fourth game this week, you wonder what the energy level is going to be like,” Lurken said. “We did a pretty good job creating turnovers. We had some stretches where we didn’t get enough ball pressure and they’d get it to the middle and beat us for some easy shots.”

The Cougars, using the inside combination of Ali Hunstad and Makayla Arendt cut the deficit to 44-35 with 13:59 to play. Hunstad finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds while Arendt tallied 12 points and seven boards. Lyndsey Quam also finished in double figures with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.

“The whole first half, Makayla and Ali weren’t in at the same time with it being senior night,” said Z-M head coach Scott Paukert. “The second half, we got more of the high-low stuff going with those two.

“We got it to within nine and then we had two turnovers right away.”

That led to a seven-point run that put K-W ahead 53-35, putting the game out of reach for a Cougars comeback.

“We just had to put more ball pressure on and make it harder for them to pass and keep it out of the high post,” Mara said after her team forced Z-M into 17 turnovers.

Off the bench, K-W (15-8, 9-5 HVL) also got a lift from Morgan Burow, who gave the Knights an inside presence with nine points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.

“Morgan was posting up hard and had a couple nice drop steps, and we certainly needed that,” Lurken said. “She’s come a long way. She’s put a lot of time in and worked on her post moves and that’s been big for us.”

Going 3-1 on the week, the Knights’ schedule gets a little lighter next week with two games at home, starting with Hayfield on Tuesday and the regular-season finale Friday against Triton.

“I think we’re all pretty tired but we played hard,” Mara said. “I think we played really well this week.”

Z-M (10-12, 6-10 HVL) closes out the regular season on the road, with Cannon Falls on Tuesday and St. Charles on Thursday.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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