KoMets to defend section title against Winona
The Kasson-Mantorville girls basketball team will look to make their third consecutive trip to next week’s state tournament as they defeated Stewartville and Northfield to set up a showdown with top-seeded Winona on Thursday night. This will mark the fifth straight season the KoMets have made it to the section championship game.
“This program has had consistency in our coaching staff and program philosophy,” K-M head coach Ryan Harlaldson said of the programs’ success. “The players and parents all believe in the system and when that happens your expectations are high and traditions are made.”
To set up the trip to Rochester, the KoMets had to take care business on their home floor as they faced seventh-seeded Stewartville. Unlike the last meeting, where the Tigers hung around thanks to a barrage of three-pointers in the first half, K-M tamed their opponent early by jumping out to an early 12-0 lead.
With a balanced offensive attack that saw four players score in double figures (Maddie Worden 15, Kristin Scott 13, Peyton Seuss 13, and MiKayla Grant 10) and a defense that limited Stewartville to 27 percent from the floor, the KoMets had a breeze with their HVL adversary in a 69-40 victory.
The victory ensured that the KoMets would finish their second straight season with an undefeated record at home and it could be the final game for the program in the South Gym as they’ll move to the newly renovated North Gym beginning next winter.
“Remaining undefeated at home over the last two years is a pretty incredible record,” Haraldson mused. “Again, we’ve all bought into what we do and we have faith in each other. That builds the confidence needed to stay successful like that for a long time.”
As the KoMets moved to the section semi-final against Northfield on Saturday, they ran into a tougher opponent as the Raiders moved down a class from AAAA to AAA beginning this season.
K-M struggled to keep up in the early moments as Northfield controlled the game and wouldn’t let the KoMets take a lead until there were just over seven minutes remaining in the half. The Raiders also were building their own lead to as much as seven points down the stretch.
However, the turning point for the game might have came at the first half buzzer as Bailey Berge was fouled as she launched a half court shot with time expiring. With the KoMets down four points, the freshman converted on all three free-throws to cut the lead to one at halftime.
When the two teams came out for the second half, it was a completely different story in favor of the KoMets. Scott, who spent most of the first half in foul trouble, was a force as she scored 15 of her game-high 23 points in the second frame to go with 11 rebounds.
While Scott was battling foul trouble all night, several other members of the KoMets stepped up. After establishing a career-high in points against Stewartville o