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Waseca downs Fairmont in 2AA South basketball semifinal

TIED UP — Fairmont’s Madysen Allen (23) and Waseca’s Camryn McQuery (32) battle for possession of the basketball during Section 2AA, South Sub-Section semifinal action Friday night in Waseca. Fairmont’s Cassidy Schultz (13) helps out on the play, while Waseca’s Melady Renteria (far right) looks on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

WASECA — Waseca’s “bigs” delivered big numbers to help the Bluejays capture the decisive game of their three basketball clashes with Fairmont in an abbreviated 2021 season.

Starting center Camryn McQuery and reserve post player Kloe Wadd combined for 29 points and 11 boards to guide No. 2-seeded Waseca to a 55-44 Section 2AA, South Sub-Section semifinal triumph over the No. 3-seeded Fairmont Cardinals on Friday night in Waseca.

The Bluejays (12-7) advance to face No. 1-seeded Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (16-1) in Tuesday night’s 7 p.m. South Sub-Section championship game in Lake Crystal. The top-seeded Knights dispatched No. 4-seeded Medford (10-5), 57-35, during their sub-section semifinal Friday night.

Fairmont, which posted a 37-34 win over Waseca on Feb. 8 before losing a 40-35 decision on Feb. 12, ended its season with a 13-6 record.

“When you look at our lineup, we’ve really got six starters,” Waseca head coach Joan Conway said in reference to the 6-foot-3 Wadd coming off the bench and logging quality minutes. “Kloe understands her role for us and does a nice job every game.”

Wadd’s role during Friday night’s playoff clash turned out to be just what Conway & Company needed — instant offense off the bench that triggered the Bluejays’ pivotal 13-0 scoring spree near the 11-minute juncture during the opening half.

Emma Gudahl’s baseline runner knotted the game at 9-all for Fairmont before Waseca reserve guard Samantha Azure nailed a left-corner 3-pointer to set the stage for Wadd and guard Brittney Draeger.

Wadd worked the low blocks for four of her 12 points, Draeger sank a solo free throw, Melady Renteria floated home an off-balanced leaner and Draeger swooshed a trifecta to build a 22-9 lead.

Rayah Quiring, who finished with six points, tossed in a 3-pointer to finally end the Cardinals’ nearly 6 1/2-minute offensive drought with 4:20 left in the first half.

Gudahl drove the lane for another runner with 27 seconds to go before intermission to pare Fairmont’s deficit to 28-17 before Madysen Allen and Cadee Becker combined for five more points to open the second segment.

Allen made two free throws to help fuel her team-best nine-point effort, while Becker garnered one of her game-high 11 rebounds for a putback and two of her seven points on the game.

Draeger, however, answered the challenge for the Bluejays by sinking two free throws, converting a midcourt steal into a layup and drove the paint for two more of her 12-point performance to rebuild the No. 2 seed’s lead to 36-22.

Faith Olson hit her lone 3-pointer of the game to later inch Fairmont within 11 with 8:50 remaining before Wadd and McQuery combined for Waseca’s ensuing 12 points to re-establish a 15-point margin with 6 minutes left.

Maggy Totzke then converted a one-and-one situation and swooshed a pair of 3s, while Maddy Schwieger tossed in a trey at the 37-second mark for the Cardinals, but the late comeback fell short.

McQuery netted a game-best 17 points to complement six boards for Waseca, while Renteria contributed six points, four assists and a team-leading nine rebounds.

Totzke produced eight points off the Cardinals’ bench, while Bryn Miller collected four points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Fairmont 17-27–44

Waseca 28-27–55

FAIRMONT (44)

Miller 2-5 0-2 4, Quiring 2-3 0-0 6, Becker 3-8 1-5 7, Allen 2-5 5-6 9, Olson 1-9 0-0 3, Mosloski 0-0 0-0 0, Totzke 2-6 2-2 8, Schultz 0-0 0-0 0, Gudahl 2-5 0-0 4, Schwieger 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 15-43 8-15 44.

WASECA (55)

McQuery 7-11 2-2 17, Hiller 0-1 3-4 3, Renteria 2-7 2-4 6, Rodriguez 1-3 0-0 2, Draeger 3-6 5-8 12, Wadd 6-8 0-2 12, Azure 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 20-41 12-20 55.

3-pointers: Fairmont 6-21 (Quiring 2-3, Totzke 2-4, Schwieger 1-2, Olson 1-8, Allen 0-2, Gudahl 0-2); Waseca 3-12 (Azure 1-3, McQuery 1-1, Draeger 1-2, Renteria 0-4). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Fairmont 28 (Becker 11); Waseca 25 (Renteria 9). Assists: Waseca 15 (Renteria, Rodriguez and Draeger 4 each); Fairmont 8 (Totzke 3). Steals: Fairmont 8; Waseca 8.

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