Coranda Vickerman of the Cougars moves the ball against Rushford-Peterson’s Keela Brand.  DAWN HAUGE/NEWS-RECORD
Coranda Vickerman of the Cougars moves the ball against Rushford-Peterson’s Keela Brand. DAWN HAUGE/NEWS-RECORD
Mabel-Canton met Rushford-Peterson in the Sub-section 1A East semi-finals on March 4. The last time the teams met (Jan. 10), Rushford-Peterson (R-P) walked away with a 74-55 victory. This time, it was different. The Cougars gave the Trojans all the competition they wanted before bowing out of the tournament, 68-60.

The game was closer than the final score would indicate. M-C overcame an early deficit with a 17-2 run, going up 24-15 in the first half. R-P responded by tying the game at 31-all, then took a 39-38 lead into the locker room.

It was a barn-burner from then until the final three minutes, with four tie scores and four lead changes. M-C led by as much as seven (55-48) in the second half. The Cougars shot the ball well and defended with an all-out effort, but top-seed R-P out-rebounded fourth-seeded M-C and took advantage of many more trips to the charity stripe.

Most importantly, the Trojans managed a 17-2 run of their own when it mattered, hitting free throws down the stretch while defending Cougar shooters well enough to force turnovers and deny open shots. M-C did not sink a field goal during the final five minutes of the game.

R-P's senior forward Hope Morrison tied the game at 57, hitting a three-point shot with four minutes left, then the Trojans ran off eight unanswered points, most of which came from free throws. Forced to foul to try and get the ball back during the final two minutes, the Cougars only made matters worse as R-P shooters calmly clinched the game from the line.

M-C hit 53 percent from two-point range and 44 percent from triple territory. R-P recorded a 42 percent success rate from the field, but that included sinking five of 12 treys.

The big difference was at the foul line. M-C netted a very respectable 10 of 17 (59 percent), but R-P got 39 tries, sinking 21. The Trojans also won the turnover tussle, 22-17, and out-rebounded the Cougars, 37-25.

Cougar senior guard Lydia Geving finished with 21 points for M-C, including two-of-three buckets from beyond the arc and three-of-three from the foul line. She also had five rebounds, two assists and four steals. Geving was awarded the KFIL-radio Mabel-Canton Player of the Game Award.

Senior forward Sara Lind totaled 12 points, five boards and an assist. Senior guard Carly McCabe added 11 points, three assists and two rebounds. Senior guard Abby Hanson had seven points, five rebounds and an assist. Junior forward Hannah Nolte grabbed six rebounds, hit four points and passed for three assists. Freshman guard Coranda Vickerman had three steals, three assists, two rebounds and three points.

The KFIL-radio Player of the Game Award for R-P went to senior guard Kendra Crawford, who led the Trojans with 27 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists. Morrison won the Game Ball Award with 13 points (including four treys) and two rebounds. Brianna Koop added 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and an assist. Keela Brand had 10 rebounds, four points and three steals. Sierra McNamer had five points.

R-P improved to 22-4 and went on the win the sub-section title by defeating second-seed Fillmore Central, 34-20. They will contend with 1A West champ Goodhue for a trip to state on March 13. M-C closed the season with a solid winning record (15-10).