Lady Wildcats fall to New Knoxville, Anna

• MINSTER —A series of free throws in the final two minutes allowed the New Knoxville Rangers to down Minster 43-41 in a match-up  of Midwest Athletic Conference heavyweights.
“It’s a big win whenever you can come into Minster here and pull off a win, because they’ve got a very good team,” said New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegemier. “I think the girls worked real hard on defense.”
Trailing by three points with just over two minutes remaining in the game, Minster hit three straight free throws, including two by senior Kayla Wuebker, to tie the game at 40 with 52 seconds remaining.
New Knoxville freshman Meg Reineke responded with three straight free throws of her own to give New Knoxville a 3-point lead with 31 seconds remaining.
“Meg is our highest free throw percentage shooter,” said Hegemier, who explained that he told his players to get the ball to either Reineke or Haley Horstman.   “Horstman shoots about 76 and Reineke shoots 83, so that’s who I want up there. She’s a cool cat, she can make them.”
Claire Fischer added a free throw for Minster six seconds later to cut the deficit to two points.  
New Knoxville’s Tiana Heidt missed two free throws with 7 seconds remaining.
Minster grabbed the rebound and stormed down the court. Rather than attempting a game-tying two-pointer, Wuebker tossed up a would-be game-winning three-pointer to no avail as the final buzzer sounded.
“I would’ve liked to have seen some of those free throws go in down at the end, but we’ll take the win,” said Hegemier.
New Knoxville improved to 16-3 on the season and wrapped up MAC play with a 7-2 record.
Reineke’s final two free throws ended up being the game-winners for New Knoxville.
“Fourth quarter, they went to the free throw line too much. So that’s really how it ends up,” said Minster head coach Nann Stechschulte. “They shot 11 times, which is the difference in the ballgame. We did some good things. They’re a good team.”
Only four players scored for New Knoxville as Heidt led the Rangers with 14 points. Paige Lehman added 12 and Haley Horstman scored 10, while Reineke added 7 points on all free throws.
Tara Clune led Minster with 11 points. Claire Fischer scored 10, while Kayla Wuebker added 8 and Kayla Albers scored 7.
After being tied 22-22 at halftime, both teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 30.
Claire Fischer opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to give Minster the lead. Knoxville responded with a 4-0 run to take the lead, thanks to a basket by Heidt and two free throws by Reineke.
Tara Clune answered with a bucket for Minster before Knoxville went on a 4-0 run, thanks to baskets by Paige Lehman and Horstman. The Lady Rangers led 38-35 with 4:08 left in the game.  
Wuebker then hit a basket for Minster to cut Knoxville’s lead to 1, but Horstman answered with two free throws for the Lady Rangers.
Minster would then tie the game at 40 before New Knoxville outscored Minster 3-1 in the game’s final 50 seconds.
Minster seniors Wuebker, Clune, Kayla Albers, Samantha Hoelscher and Heather Schmiesing were honored before the game. All five girls also started the game for Minster.
Minster led 18-12 after one quarter of play.
“We knew they were going to come out strong. It’s Senior Night. It’s their last night and they hit some big shots,” said Hegemier. “I told them going into the second quarter, I said, ‘I don’t think they’re going to shoot that well the second quarter. We just have to stand the storm and get out there and keep fighting and keep playing defense and we’ll get right back in it.’”
Albers hit a basket to end a more than 6 minute long Minster scoring drought in the second quarter. New Knoxville’s Knoxville’s Haley Horstman responded with a basket to send the teams to their respective locker rooms with a 22-22 tie.
“Defensively, we gave them too many easy looks,” said Stechschule. “The shot chart was all inside. They had no shots outside the paint in the second quarter and I think that was the difference in the game.”
While Stechschule was unhappy with her team’s defensive effort during the second quarter, Hegemier had the opposite opinion of his team’s defense.
“We held them to 4 points the second quarter. That’s a pretty good job,” he said.
The game was tied 30-30 heading into the fourth quarter.

Sports Correspondent
ANNA – A big start by the the state's number one-ranked Anna Rockets propelled them to a 61-35 victory Saturday afternoon over the Minster Wildcats girls basketball team in a non-league game at Anna.
“We had two bad quarters today,” Minster head coach Nann Stechschulte said. “We had a bad start and a bad finish.”
The key part of the game came midway through the third quarter. Going into the second half the Rockets had a 32-1 lead, but the Wildcats came out strong to start the third quarter. Following two free throws from the Rockets’ Ashley Frohne, Minster scored on a layup from Samantha Hoelscher, but Anna grew the lead to 20 points, 38-28, on layups by Erica Huber and Frohne. Tara Clune broke up the string with a layup, but Frohne sank a free throw with 3:24 left for a 39-22 lead.
Minster then started a comeback with a bomb from Kayla Wuebker and Clune added a basket. After Kayla Richard sank two free throws, the Wildcats trailed 39-29 with two minutes left causing Anna to call timeout. Anna finished the third quarter strong with a 6-5 run to lead 45-34 at the end of the third quarter.
“We were trying to slow down the tempo of the game in the third quarter,” Stechschulte said. “They came down the court quickly so we tried to dictate the tempo. Allowing them to score 19 free throws didn’t help either and we didn’t take care of the basketball with 20 turnovers.”
In the first quarter it seemed for every basket Minster scored that Anna would counter with two or three baskets and that allowed the Rockets to jump out to a 20-8 first quarter lead. They continued to expand on the lead when they went on an 8-0 run to start the second quarter for a 28-8 lead with 3:59 left. After a Wildcat timeout, Minster responded with an 8-0 run of their own to close the score to 28-16 with 1:58 left. The final two minutes went to Anna on a 4-2 run to lead at halftime 32-18.
Anna put the game away in the final eight minutes with a 16-1 run for the 61-35 victory.
“We got outscored 20-8 in the first quarter and 16-1 in the fourth quarter and that told the whole story,” Stechschulte said. 
Ashley Frohne led all scorers with 17 points and seven rebounds for the Rockets and Cayla Bensman added 10 points and 11 rebounds. No Wildcats scored in double figures.
In the JV game Minster won 39-35.
Minster will travel to St. Henry on Thursday.