MWHS girls basketball finished their season with a fantastic basketball game that resulted in a 63-60 loss in the first game of the Section 6AAA playoffs.
Five seed Westonka faced the fourth seeded Waconia away at their home turf on Feb. 28. Although the White Hawks did not win on the scoreboard, they battled with a fast paced, back and forth contest that was close throughout the game.
In the first half, the White Hawks secured the lead with seven minutes left. With 4:40 left they pulled ahead by seven points and two minutes later the Wildcats tied it up at 27 all. Westonka headed to the locker room up 1 point at 31-30 at half.
Again in the second half, there was a battle for the lead with the two team trading the advantage. With just over four minutes left, the Wildcats had taken a six point lead. With a minute and a half left, Westonka took over the lead once again.
Thirty seconds later, with a minute left, Waconia brought the game within one. Westonka was not able to land a couple key free throws and Waconia converted a steal into a basket taking the lead 60-61 with 14 seconds left on the clock. This was a heart stopping game with the excitement of the back and forth play and was a strong way to end the season, despite the loss.
Highlights: Sophomore Jennifer Schaible had her second double-double this season with 23 points, 14 rebounds. Junior Abby Wharram showed her passing skills with 11 assists and 5 points. Also scoring for the White Hawks: senior Claire White 15 points; sophomore Maya Thurston 6 points; Junior Makenzie Anderson and sophomore Ela Springer with 4 points each; and senior Ryann Beyer with 3 points. This took high energy play from the entire team doing battle against the deep bench for Waconia.
“As a team we were heartbroken by the loss but that’s a sign of significant progress for our program,” Head Coach Alan Hiebert said. “Our kids gave everything and competed for 36 minutes against a good Waconia team. Ultimately, we missed a couple of key free throws and had a critical turnover that we couldn’t overcome. Games like this are what we want to play in however. Games that matter, games that require focus and intensity and games that result in joy or disappointment depending on the result.
“We’ll use this game as motivation going into next season. As a team, the girls displayed significant growth from November until the end. We ended up winning 10 games, which is more than the last two seasons combined and we also won 4 conference games, up from zero the last two seasons so the improvement is undeniable.
“As a coach I was extremely proud of these kids. They represented themselves and the community in a way to be proud of. I’m already looking forward to next season.”