Bucs Blueprint Nearly Works
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneer Head Coach Gabe Hauer knew the only way his team could defeat the unbeaten defending State Champion New Richland- Hartland- Ellendale-Geneva Panthers was to limit their possessions. In other words, stall, and it nearly worked. The South Subsection Title game in Mankato was tied at 15 at the half, but in the end turnovers doomed the Bucs and they were forced to foul in the last couple minutes as NR-H-E-G prevailed 45-34. It was the lowest point total of the season for the Panthers. The previous low was 64 against Blooming Prairie in a game they won by 28. Kenyon-Wanamingo had the closest final of the season with NR-H-E-G 67-60. 20 turnovers is just too many to have in a limited possession game, because not only are you limiting your opponent's possessions you are obviously limiting your own. Coming through in the clutch as she always does was Senior Guard Carlie Wagner, a deflection leading to a steal, an awesome pass to the baseline while triple teamed and a put back off a missed free throw were contributions in a two minute stretch that gave the Panthers some breathing room and didn't allow W-E-M the luxury of continuing their stall. During the regular season NR-H-E-G notched 75-39 and 83-48 wins over the Bucs in January and February. W-E-M was led by Senior Kalley Kendall with 11 points, 9 of those in the second half. She fouled out with 29.3 seconds left to go. Carlie Wagner tallied 15 points and fellow Senior Paige Overgaard notched 12 as the Panthers march into the Section Final Friday against Norwood-Young America who bested Jordan 61-54 in the North Subsection Championship game. Raider coaches were intently watching the Bucs and Panthers collide and don't be surprised if they take a page from their blueprint. The Panthers are like their namesake, they pounce on turnovers and turn them into points. You have to play a near perfect game, which is why they have a perfect record this season.