Mabel-Canton faced some tough competition at home early last week, then scored a road win on Friday.
Mabel-Canton vs. Fillmore Central
The Cougars hosted the Fillmore Central (FC) Falcons on Monday, Feb. 10, coming up on the short end of a 53-38 score.
M-C got out of the blocks well, staying right with FC until a 13-2 run put the Falcons up 29-18 at intermission. The visitors were able to maintain a similar margin in the second half, in spite of a Cougar rally that cut the lead to eight late in the contest.
“Their half-court man (to man) defense was one of the best we have seen all year,” said M-C coach Adam Wilder.
FC hit six of 15 from the line, while M-C netted seven of 13.
Center Sara Lind poured in nine points, came down with 11 rebounds and passed for three assists. Lydia Geving also had nine points, three steals, one assist, four rebounds and one block. Hannah Nolte stepped up with eight points, two steals and three rebounds. Carly McCabe netted seven points, three steals and two assists. Coranda Vickerman added four points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal. Abby Hanson had one point, three rebounds and two steals.
Morgan Malley and Tayah Barnes led Falcon scorers with 11 points each. Sammi Bakke added 10 and Kendyl Bennett added eight.
Mabel-Canton vs. Spring Grove
Spring Grove (SG) wrapped up its fifth straight Southeast Conference East Division championship on Tuesday with a come-from-behind victory over M-C, 59-51.
There had been six tie scores in the first half, and M-C hit three of five three-point attempts to lead, 28-21, at the break, much to the delight of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Down 28-21 at halftime and by nine points early in the second half, SG finally overtook the Cougars with 8:21 left to play.
In the second half, the Cougars went zero for eight beyond the arc while SG put the game away from the free throw line.
The Lions hit nine of 14 free throws in the final two minutes and 21 seconds and finished with a strong 23 for 33 (70 percent) overall on charity shots. SG closed with a 15-point advantage during the eight-point win.
Three Cougars scored in double figures with Geving putting in 19 points. She also had nine rebounds and four assists. McCabe added 13 points and five steals. Lind scored 10 points and lifted three steals. Vickerman poured in six points, passed for three assists and snagged three steals.
Spring Grove's Julianna Sand scored a career-high 22 points, sinking 12 of 15 free throws. Senior center Nicki Ellingson had a 14-point, 13-rebound double.
M-C scored 26 (just over half) of its 51 points from the perimeter but was not successful getting to the foul line. The Cougars shot 47 percent, eight for 17, while attempting about half as many free throws as SG.
“We played very good defense in the first half and handled their zone defense well,” Wilder said. “They came out in the second half with more pressure. That was able to get them back into the game. We had to foul at the end and they knocked down their free throws. It seemed like we were a little out of gas at the end of the game and because of that we missed some shots down the stretch.”
Mabel-Canton at Grand Meadow
On Friday, M-C defeated Grand Meadow (GM) on the road, 60-53.
After close scores throughout the first half, the Cougars managed a 33-28 lead at intermission.
“We talked about our defensive intensity and rebounding at halftime and I felt we played probably our best nine-minute stretch to start the second half,” Wilder reported. “We went on a nice run only allowing four points in those first nine minutes. We got up by as much as 18 before GM made a run at the end and they hit a three at the buzzer to make it a seven-point difference.
Coranda Vickerman led with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Geving had 16 points and eight rebounds. Lind got the double double with 10 points, 10 rebounds. McCabe scored seven points, while Hanson had six points and six boards. Nolte had four points.
Free throws were close, with M-C hitting nine of 18 and GM seven of 12.
For the Superlarks, sophomore center Rio Landers was a force to be reckoned with, both on the boards and at the bucket, scoring a game-high 25 points. Allison Gehling added nine, while Brittanie Winfield and Rachel Oehlke had seven each.
On Thursday, M-C hosts Grand Meadow. Friday brings a trip to Lanesboro. The Section 1A East tourney play begins on Feb. 25. Quarterfinals will be held two days later. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD