Abby Miller isn’t going to beat you with her midrange jumper. She will with her three-point shooting.
The petite guard scored 23 points, including 21 on seven three-pointers, leading No. 6-ranked Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted past Minnehaha Academy 62-43 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A girls’ basketball state tournament at Mariucci Arena.
“I was a little nervous at the beginning of the game,” Miller said. “Once I saw them in a 2-3 or 1-3-1 zone I was pretty excited. It really calmed me down.”
Miller’s three-pointer with 10:26 left on the clock gave Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (28-2) the lead for good at 37-35. It ignited an 11-2 run, extending the cushion to eight points three minutes later. She capped the spurt with her sixth three-pointer.
Miller went 7-for-12 from three-point range. She missed all four of her two-point shots.
“Abby is very confident in her shooting,” Lakers coach Jason Kuehn said. “When they do it with the pressure on and in the clutch, it makes your proud as a coach.”
Sophomore guard Sarah Kaminski paced Minnehaha Academy (20-7) with 14 points.
“I think we started playing better defense, that’s why we were able to stretch out our lead,” Kuehn said. The Lakers limited Minnehaha Academy to eight points over the final 10:47. “We are going to have to be a lot better both offensively and defensively in our next game.”
That will be a matchup with No. 1-ranked New-Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (29-0) on Friday.
“Now, that’s going to be a challenge,” Miller said. “Obviously, they have a great team. They scored 100 points today.”
Fast start leads to quick exit for foe
Kenyon-Wanamingo 64, Redwood Valley 31: The Cardinals were making their first state tournament appearance in 35 years. Kenyon-Wanamingo made sure it didn’t last very long.
No. 2-rated Kenyon-Wanamingo (30-1) scored 15 of the first 18 points, and was in control from the outset against overmatched Redwood Valley. The victory was the Knights’ 21st consecutive.
“We came into this game with a lot of confidence,” Knights senior forward Siri Sviggum said. Their only loss of the season came at the hands of NRHEG in early January.
It showed from the opening tipoff. Redwood Valley (19-10) struggled to get quality shots against the Knights’ defense in the opening half, going 5-for-24 from the floor while falling behind 39-12 by halftime.
“Our defense carried us the whole game,” Sviggum said. “We shut them down.”
Sviggum led the Knights with 23 points. Brittney Flom and Meg Clark had 14 and 11 points, respectively. The trio went 16-for-21 from the floor.
Patience prevails for Eskomos
Esko 39, New-London-Spicer 35: The Eskomos preach patience. It worked to perfection against the Wildcats and their 2-3 zone.
A deliberate Esko (26-5) squad closed the game on a 10-2 run, surprising No. 5-ranked New London-Spicer (24-6).
“They executed the game plan to perfection,” Esko coach Scott Antonutti said. “I think they understood what we were doing. I just wanted to win.”
Senior guard Erika Shady’s only basket, a three-pointer with just over two minutes, provided the Eskomos the lead for good at 35-33.
“She is a senior who is totally unselfish,” Antonutti said. “We talk about persevering, and waiting for your time to come. She did that tonight.”
Taylor Thunstedt scored 24 points for the Wildcats.