The Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights led for about 10 minutes of the 36-minute game Tuesday night against the Pine Island Panthers. Fortunately for the Knights it was the final 10 minutes in a 55-40 win at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center Arena.

Many of the fans in the crowd were still buzzing about the major upset they had just witnessed. Defending Class AA champion Plainview-Elgin-Millville, the top seed in the section, was defeated by the No. 8 seed Winona Cotter Ramblers 54-52.

Pine Island jumped out to a 7-0 lead right away and led 24-18 at the half, but Kenyon-Wanamingo put the clamps on defensively and allowed 16 second-half points while attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line.

The Knights were 13 of 14 from the free throw line in the second half after going 2 for 6 in the first half.

Five-foot-7 senior guard Mara Quam led the way with 28 points and got to the free throw line in the second half. All scorers find a way to get there, and Mara is certainly a scorer. She didn't attempt a single free throw in the first half and finished the game 9 of 10 from the charity stripe.

Pine Island did an outstanding job defensively in the first half and owned the glass. That was obviously a point of emphasis by the Knight coaches at halftime because Kenyon-Wanamingo did a much better job on the glass in the second half.

The Knights also forced a number of Panther turnovers in the second half, which helped them gain the momentum and get some transition buckets.

Kenyon-Wanamingo finished the game 15 of 20 from the free throw line and Pine Island was 3 of 8. Not a single Panther scored double figures. Freshman guard Brooke Sinning tallied 8 points and so did junior Autumn Pin.

The Knights did an outstanding job defending Pine Island senior Eliza Warneke. The 5-foot-11 inside player is a very physically strong player and was held to one field goal in the game and five total points.

Our Held Bus Service of Kenyon Knights of the game were Quam, senior Megan Flom, who did a nice job on the glass in the second half and finished with six points, including a top of the key three on a play perfectly executed out of a timeout. Savannah Bleess was chosen for getting somewhat on track in the second half. She scored one point in the first half and added seven in the second half for an eight-point total.

Maddie McCauley did a nice job when Tess Hokanson got in some foul trouble and hit some clutch free throw down the stretch, so we chose her also for the Held Bus Service honor.

Pine Island closed their season 18-10 and Kenyon-Wanamingo is now 18-8 and has to feel pretty good about their chances to make it to the title game.

In December during the Hiawatha Valley League vs. Three Rivers Conference showdown, Kenyon-Wanamingo literally ran away from Winona Cotter 89-66.

Mara Quam scored every way possible in that game and finished with 41 points. Megan Flom drained five three-pointers for 15 points and Savannah Bleess finished with 14 points. The game was played in the Mayo Civic Auditorium, and that is where the two teams will play beginning at 11AM Saturday.

I know Brent Lurken and his staff will remind the girls Cotter has to be very good to knock off the No. 2 ranked defending state champions, and you know they will change their defensive scheme this time around. We will see if that makes a difference.


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