The Red Wing Republican Eagle covers local sports in Goodhue County and surrounding areas.
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There's a fine line between competing at the varsity level and winning at the varsity level. That's a lesson that Red Wing boys' basketball coach Drew Olinger has told his players, and it's a step the first-year head coach is hoping to see his team take at the tail end of the season, even after his team lost their sixth straight game Thursday, 73-57, to Owatonna. “We're competing night in and night out. Now we got to take that next step and get over that hump,” Olinger said.
Going down to the final race of the night, Rochester Century was able to edge the Red Wing boys' swimming and diving team Thursday for a 95-91 Big Nine Conference dual meet in Rochester. “The boys swam really well and had some great races. Swimming at JM (Rochester John Marshall) certainly has its challenges due to the high sides and no gutters to help get around on open turns,” said Wingers head coach Kevin O'Brien. “But we were able to practice turns with no gutter to grab Wednesday before the meet, so the guys knew what to expect.”
Red Wing led fifth-ranked Winona 23-20 at halftime in Tuesday's Big Nine Conference game in Winona. But the Wingers were held to 13 second-half points and were held to 22 percent shooting (10 of 44) in a 45-36 road loss. Tayzha Buck had a team-high 10 points for the Wingers to go with four rebounds, three steals and two blocks while McKayla “Bubba” Muelken and Morgan Zebro both had six points. Ellynn Braunreiter chimed in with four rebounds and four blocks, and Lindsay Reps finished with five points, three rebounds and three steals.
Winona's Dakota Matthees sent Tuesday's Big Nine Conference game with Red Wing into overtime, hitting a pair of free throws with .3 seconds to go. From there, the Winhawks were able to get the lead with 22 seconds remaining in the extra period to take a 79-77 victory from the Wingers at Sonju Gymnasium.
Goals from four different players gave Red Wing everything it needed in a 4-2 victory at South St. Paul on Tuesday. Mariah Haley and Emily Hart had goals for the Wingers in the first period, with Makena Burke getting one for the Packers in between. Hart had an assist on Haley's goal, but scored unassisted herself. Taylor Heise scored an unassisted power-play goal in the second to put Red Wing up 3-1, and Solveig Roth answered Burke's second goal, late in the third, with an empty-net goal on a Heise assist with just more than a minute to play.
Special teams made the difference for Red Wing on Tuesday as the Wingers picked up a pair of power-play goals, and a short-handed one as well, in a 3-1 win over Holy Angels in Richfield. Tyler DeFore broke a scoreless tie 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the second period, scoring unassisted while Red Wing killed off a penalty. Pete Laird scored 10 minutes later to tie the game, but Cam Blue finished off assists from Nick Ramstad and Seth Cushing to give the Wingers a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Lake City kept it close through 18 minutes, but Kenyon-Wanamingo pulled away in the second half for a 94-67 Hiawatha Valley League victory on Tuesday. Mara Quam led the Knights with 32 points, while Tiger teammates Laura Heitman (19) and Deandra Oelkers (18) combined for 37. K-W (10-6, 6-3 HVL) will head south to face Rochester Lourdes on Friday, while Lake City (9-7, 3-7) hosts Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Thursday.
With a trio of double-digit scorers, led by Broc Finstuen, the Pine Island boys' basketball team held off a second-half surge from Zumbrota-Mazeppa for a 53-50 Hiawatha Valley League between Highway 52 rivals on Tuesday. Finstuen finished the game with a team-high 15 points along with seven rebounds and three assists. Camden Heepke had 12 points, and Mark Mboya Kotieno added 10 points in the Panthers' victory.
Marc Kjos hit eight 3-pointers on Tuesday, including all seven he took in the first half to lead Lake City to an 82-50 victory over Hiawatha Valley League opponent Kenyon-Wanamingo. Kjos finished the game with 26 points, five assists and three steals, and was joined in double figures by Mitch Marien (17), Reid Gastner (14) and Nathan Heise (10). The Tigers hit a school-record 17 3-pointers, the Knights hits just 18 field goals all game. K-W was led by Gavin Roosen's 23 points while Jack Beulke finished with seven points, six assists and five rebounds.
After Houston battled back to make it a three-point game, Cannon Falls went on a 9-3 run to close out the Hurricanes, 45-36, on Monday. Kaly Banks led the Bombers with 12 points, while Kira Jacobson piled up 13 rebounds to go with her six points. Rebecca Lee's 10 points were a Houston game-high. Cannon Falls (3-11) has won three of its last five games, and will hit the road to face Byron on Tuesday.