Last year was a crazy year for the Waconia girls’ basketball team. Faced with a notable height deficit, coach Carl Pierson rolled out a run-and-gun attack that resulted in record-setting point totals and a consistent stream of media reports on the high-flying Wildcats.
Anna Schmitt was the leading scorer on that team. The ultra-fast tempo was so well-suited to her strengths that she averaged almost 30 points per game.
And she’s glad it’s over.
“It put us on the map because people wanted to come and check out that high-scoring Waconia team,” she said. “We put ourselves in the record books because of how many points we scored, but a lot of times, the other team would score more points than us.”
The Wildcats averaged 88.5 points per game. Problem was, their opponents averaged 89.7, leading to a 10-16 record.
Things have quieted down a bit this season. Waconia, playing in the tough Wright County Conference, has rebounded from a five-game losing streak early in the season and is 10-8 heading into this week.
Staff writer Jim Paulsen talked with Schmitt about last season’s exhaustive pace and why she prefers things the way they are now.
Q: Playing at the tempo last year had to be tiring.
A: It was, especially toward the beginning of the season. Once we got into it, though, it became easier to go up and down the court.
Q: What’s the difference this year?
A: We’re working harder and doing better defensively as a team. We’re still scoring high amounts of points but we’re not letting the other team score as much. It’s been a big team effort. We’re not pressing as much, so other teams aren’t getting so many super-easy layups.
Q: Which style do you prefer?
A: This year is a lot better. Last year was crazy and fun, but it’s better to win more games.
Q: Give a scouting report on yourself.
A: I’m kind of skinny and scrawny, but I’m pretty fast and I get my eyes up right away, so I can see the court and get off the long pass when it’s there. I like to attack off the dribble and I can pull up and score. I like to do a mixture of both. I don’t focus only on scoring. I like to create open shots for my teammates.
Q: How important is basketball to you?
A: Very important in my life. I’ve got a brother who plays at St. John’s [University], a dad who played basketball in high school, a sister who played in high school. They’ve taught me everything I know and have brought me to where I am today.
Q: What is your favorite high school basketball memory?
A: I would say the day last year when we broke the record for the most three-pointers in a game . Or when I got to 1,000 career points against Delano last year and they stopped the game. I love the support I got from everybody.
Q: Favorite thing about basketball?
A: Probably running onto the court before the beginning of the game and the crowd is going crazy.
Q: What are your college plans?
A: I’m going to play basketball at Concordia of St. Paul. I love the campus, the coaches are super nice, they’ve got a strong program and I got a really good offer. I’m excited.
Q: What to you do to get away from basketball?
A: I like to listen to music and sing in my room. Or watch Netflix with my best friends Kendall and Kelsey [Eder].
Q: Netflix can be evil. It’s too easy to binge and not get anything else done. What is your latest binge?
A: The show “Criminal Minds”. I’m addicted. I think I’ve seen every episode.