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Girls Basketball: Wingers drop fifth straight

Red Wing's McKenzie Cota goes up for a layup during the Wingers' 43-31 loss to Farmington Friday evening. Despite being fouled on the play, Cota made the basket. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)

It could be plastic wrap or Plexiglas, but whatever the lid is made of on top of Red Wing’s basket should be removed as soon as possible.

The Wingers, winners of four of their first five games, dropped their fourth straight Friday night as Farmington walked out of Sonju Gymnasium with a 43-31 Missota Conference victory.

About the only thing that went wrong for Red Wing was the ability to make shots. The Wingers had open looks throughout most of the game, including 20 3-point attempts that were rarely taken with a defender nearby. But Red Wing hit on just one of those long-distance shots while the Tigers made five 3-pointers in the first half alone.

“It wasn’t effort tonight,” said Red Wing head coach Dave Muelken. “They communicated, they worked hard, all the things we talked about in practice they did. They just didn’t make any shots … We didn’t give up a bunch of layups in transition. We just didn’t make any shots. And they didn’t put any pressure on. We just missed and missed.”

Early on, turnovers were an issue for the Wingers as well. After Hailey Kuhl opened the scoring 59 seconds into the game, Red Wing turned the ball over on four of its next seven possessions. Giving the ball back to Farmington so often gave the Tigers a chance to pull away, which it did behind 14 straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Sofia Chadwick.

More than six minutes after the Wingers first scored, Rebecca Swenning ended the Tigers’ run. Kaitlyn Gordon answered with her second 3-pointer before five straight points from Red Wing cut the Farmington lead to 17-9. And that was as close as the Wingers would get for the rest of the game.

But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Muelken did everything he could from a set-play standpoint to get the Wingers good looks. But with the Tigers packing the paint, and daring Red Wing to shoot from outside, the only answer was to start hitting 3-pointers.

“We ran eight specials tonight,” Muelken said,” to try and put us in position. We talked about attacking the rim to get to the free-throw line. And we shot seven free throws. We talked at halftime that if you’re struggling, get to the free-throw line and get a couple that way.”

Unfortunately for the Wingers, those seven attempts from the charity stripe netted just two points. No matter where the shots were coming from, it seemed, they just would not fall.

Yet Farmington would not be able to completely run away with the game. The Tigers scored just one field goal in the final 7:42 of the game. And when McKenzie Cota got a chance at an and-one, it seemed as though Red Wing might be able to tighten the game. But the Wingers managed just five points over the final five minutes, enabling Farmington to close the game out.

McKenzie Muelken finished with a team-high 10 points and nine rebounds while Kara Norvet, who hit the team’s only 3-pointer, had eight points and six boards. Cota had just the one field goal, but did come up with three steals.

Red Wing (4-6, 0-1 Missota) will stay in conference play for the near future, including Tuesday’s visit to Holy Angels (6-3, 0-0 Missota). Should the Wingers figure out a way to uncap the basket, Red Wing could even out its league record.

“We just have to keep shooting,” Dave Muelken said. “That’s what I told them, shooters shoot. And I said, ‘You know what, we’re going to break out. And when we do, we’re going to pound somebody.’ Austin, we scored (66) points and drilled them. Austin is just like all the other teams we’ve played this year except we shot really well.”

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, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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