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WCA girls advance to 6A title game

The Knights’ seven seniors eagerly claimed their 6A south subsection trophy after a 52-31 victory over Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Tuesday on the University of Minnesota-Morris campus. WCA will now play Ada-Borup in Morris today for a spot in the state tournament. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

In the final two weeks of its schedule, the West Central Area girls’ basketball team was experiencing a slump after losing three of the regular season’s final four games.

What a difference a couple weeks can make. The Knights claimed the 6A south subsection title on Tuesday with a 52-31 victory over Wheaton/Herman-Norcross in Morris and will now play Ada-Borup tonight for a spot in the state tournament. WCA head coach Beth Hill felt the regular season slide ended up being a positive for the Knights heading into the playoffs.

“I think a couple losses in a row was a good thing for us,” Hill said. “It was a wake-up call; we got to kind of start over and work some things out. We became a better team because of it.”

WCA won by more than 20 points, but the final score did not reflect how tight the contest was early in the second half. Wheaton had cut the score to within one point of the Knights in the half before WCA went on a 20-4 run to wrap up its first subsection title since 2008.

WCA felt its full court press helped make the difference as Wheaton was held to only 10 points in the second half.

“The first half wasn’t so good. We missed a lot of shots and a lot of inside shots,” senior Holly Van Kempen said. “The second half we kind of picked it up. Our press was going pretty well; I think that really helped fluster them.”

Christina Kruize led the WCA scoring with 15 points, followed by Holly Van Kempen with 13 points and Abby Van Kempen with 10.

Ada-Borup could prove to be a tough matchup as it comes into the title game with a top-five state ranking and a 27-1 record this season. But WCA feels on Friday it will be ready for the challenge.

“Yeah, absolutely, bring it on,” Hill said. “We’ve had that mentality all year that we don’t care who we play, it’s how we play that matters.”

Height inside could be an advantage for WCA. Abby Van Kempen led the Knights with 20 rebounds Tuesday while Holly Van Kempen grabbed 16.

“We have height on them, but they are quick,” Holly Van Kempen said about Ada-Borup. “With me and Abby in the inside, anything can happen in the playoffs.”

The Section 6A title game will be played tonight, Friday, at 7 p.m. on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Morris.


W/H-N 21 10 – 31

WCA 28 24 – 52

WCA – Christina Kruize – 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal; Holly Van Kempen – 13 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block; Abby Van Kempen – 10 points, 20 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists; Tiana Christenson – 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists; Kylee Fernholz – 5 points, 6 steals, 1 assist; Abby Oberg – 2 points, 1 rebound

WHEATON – Arianna Karsky – 14 points; Jordan Stafford – 13 points; Zoe Gronwold – 2 points; Hannah Gail – 2 points

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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