By Pat Garry, Staff Writer
On Tuesday, March 23, the Lady Cubs traveled to Sauk Centre to take on the defending Region Section 6AA defending champs in the section semifinal round. At stake was a spot in the section championship and, conceivably, a berth in the 2021 state tournament. The Mainstreeters scored first, but sophomore Ellie Kuechle answered with a layup to tie it at 2-2. But then Sauk Centre rattled off 14 straight points to take an early commanding lead. Free-throws by Kuechle and sophomore Hallie Arnold, along with a basket by junior Madelyn Hunt, kept the Cubs within 10 points, at 16-6 with 9:46 left in the first half. Sophomore Kristen Hilbert scored next for the Cubs, to make it 18-8, but Kimball managed just two more baskets and trailed 37-14 at halftime. The Mainstreeters went up 54-24 with six minutes remaining. Sophomore Olivia Mortenson scored the last five for Kimball, and the Cubs fell by a final tally of 64-29.
“We played a very good team tonight, who were just more experienced than us in all aspects. They were tough in the post, and their guards knocked down their perimeter shots, while we didn’t. Despite the outcome, this was a great experience and hopefully a taste of playoff basketball that our girls can use in the future. We are a much younger team, and we have better days ahead. I am super excited about what this team can become, as the improvements we made from last year to this year were huge. If the girls continue to work hard in the off season and grow their basketball skill sets and knowledge, next year could be even better,” Coach Jeremy Kuechle commented.
Stat Line: Madelyn Hunt, 11 points, 2 assists, 3 steals, 4 rebounds; Olivia Mortenson, 7 points, 2 rebounds; Ellie Kuechle, 3 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds; Hallie Arnold, 1 point, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists; Eva Schwenzfeier, 1 steal; Lexi Myers, 2 rebounds; Kristen Hilbert, 5 points, 5 rebounds; Madison Streit, 2 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound.
Notables: Team shooting – 2-point field goals: Kimball 10/32, Sauk Centre, 17/35; 3-point field goals: Kimball 2/16, Sauk Centre, 7/17; Free throws: Kimball 3/8, Sauk Centre 9/11. Kimball finished the season with an 11-9 record, after winning only two games a season ago. Remarkable improvement, girls!