Red Wing girls hoops wins section title, heads to state againRed Wing High School's girls basketball team won its second straight Section 1 3A title 75-61 over Kasson-Mantorville at the Mayo Civic Center Friday.
By: Chris Harrell - Red Wing Republican-Eagle, Pierce County Herald
ROCHESTER — Red Wing girls head basketball coach Dave Muelken said senior Marisa Toivonen deserves a spot on the Minnesota All-State team but in the Section 1AAA title game Friday Toivonen let her performance do all the talking.
Toivonen finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, despite missing more than 11 minutes with foul trouble, to lead the Wingers back to the Class 3A girls state basketball tournament after a 75-61 victory against top-seeded Kasson-Mantorville at the Mayo Civic Arena.
“If Marisa’s not all-state, they shouldn’t even have an all-state team,” Muelken said. “She’s done it all year. She’s composed. She doesn’t make mistakes. She doesn’t get flustered.”
Toivonen scored 19 points after halftime and knocked down 11 of 15 shots in the game.
Red Wing (19-10) got 18 points apiece from junior Tesha Buck and Macy Kelly in the win. Buck also contributed 13 rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Kara Norvet and ninth-grader McKenzie Muelken both grabbed seven rebounds.
K-M’s Erin Schlotthauer scored 18 points at the post position but also dealt with foul trouble. Both Schlotthauer and Toivonen fouled out.
“It was a fun matchup,” K-M head coach Ryan Haraldson said. “Two bigs going at each other. I thought Erin held her own in there. Marisa had a nice game.”
Kaia Buck tallied 15 points and Holly Peterson added 14 points for the KoMets (28-2). Abby Manitz was held to three points.
“That’s a really good team,” Dave Muelken said. “We were fortunate to play well tonight … our big three stepped up.”
The Wingers exploded out of the gate, scoring four points in the opening 15 seconds and established an 8-2 lead at 16 minutes, 5 seconds of the first half.
K-M pulled back within a point at 10-9 before Red Wing went on a 17-4 run to take control at 27-13 with 7:04 remaining in the half. At that point, Toivonen committed her second foul and was removed from the game.
She never saw the floor again in the first half but the Wingers maintained a double-digit lead. Kelly’s 3-pointer with 52 seconds left gave Red Wing a 39-28 lead going into the break.
Kelly had 14 points before halftime.
Norvet and McKenzie Muelken combined for seven points while Toivonen sat out with foul trouble and that allowed the Wingers to keep her on the bench.
“That offset it,” Dave Muelken said. “We were really happy with that.”
Red Wing struck quickly to start the second half, getting a 3-point play from Toivonen on its first possession. Toivonen scored nine points in the first four minutes of the half and the Wingers extended the lead to 48-24 on a shot by Tesha Buck with 15:52 remaining in regulation. Toivonen also got Schlotthauer to commit her third foul.
“When she got three fouls, coach said to go at her and get her another foul,” Toivonen said. “I kept trying to go hard to the basket.”
But the KoMets wouldn’t go away. Kelly, Toivonen and Buck all had three fouls by the 11 minute mark of the second half and K-M pulled within 56-50 with little more than 10 minutes left.
Again, Red Wing responded with a 10-0 run in the next three minutes.
“Anytime we tried to make a run, Red Wing came back with an answer,” Haraldson said.
Toivonen fouled out with 4:01 left and the Wingers leading 68-59 but the victory was never in doubt.
“We did everything we were supposed to do this game,” Tesha Buck said.
Red Wing did commit 18 turnovers but rarely struggled with K-M’s vaunted full-court pressure.
“I think we have good guards,” Buck said. “It kind of came naturally.”
The Wingers shot 27-for-53 from the field but it’s more impressive when Red Wing’s 1 of 9 from the 3-point line is taken out. The Wingers made 20 of 28 free throws and notched 49 total rebounds.
“Everybody had to step up tonight,” Dave Muelken said. “It was going to take 36 minutes.”
The Wingers will play their first round game Wednesday at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota. Game time will be decided today after seeding is determined for the tournament.