Sometimes you have to be leery what you wish for. Kenyon-Wanamingo found that out firsthand.
Kenyon-Wanamingo (31-2) wanted nothing more than another shot at No. 1-ranked New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (31-0) — this time for the Class 2A championship. It didn’t turn out to be such a good proposition.
The Carlie Wagner-led Panthers used a 20-3 first-half run to quickly separate themselves from No. 2 Kenyon-Wanamingo, and cruised to a 71-61 victory at Williams Arena. Their 61st straight win gave the Patriots their second consecutive state title.
The Knights lost to the Patriots 67-60 on Jan. 9 in New Richland.
“We wanted to come out and show them how we really can play,” said Wagner, who had a game-high 36 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. “We didn’t play that well against them the first time.”
Senior forward Siri Sviggum’s three-point play with 12:54 left in the first half pulled the Knights within 11-10. Sviggum finished with 11 points.
The Panthers then kicked it into another gear, and it wasn’t just Wagner. Six different players scored during a 20-3 run that quickly turned a one-point game into a 31-13 runaway.
Wagner only had one basket during the run, a three-pointer to end the spurt. She had 10 points at halftime, while four of her teammates had at least five points.
“That was a statement to what our supporting cast can do,” Panthers coach John Schultz said. “In our big games, everybody has stepped up.”
Wagner then took over following halftime, and the Knights couldn’t pull closer than seven points. The Gophers recruit scored 26 second-half points.
“We dug ourselves too big of a hole in the first half,” Knights coach Brent Lurken said. “Our kids still battled the whole game. They’re fighters.”
Megan Quam led the Knights with 22 points before fouling out with 45 seconds left. A couple of possessions later the final horn sounded, signaling the end of Wagner’s brilliant career.
“I didn’t want to take off my jersey for the last time,” Wagner said. “Coach Schultz had to pry it out of my hands. I’m so proud of my teammates and community.”