NRHEG’s Carlie Wagner shoots over a defender from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on March 21 in the Class AA state semifinals at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. NRHEG won 87-58 and went on to win its second consecutive state title. — Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune
NRHEG’s Carlie Wagner shoots over a defender from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on March 21 in the Class AA state semifinals at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. NRHEG won 87-58 and went on to win its second consecutive state title. — Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Wagner is the Tribune’s Player of the Year for 3rd straight year

Published 3:04pm Saturday, April 5, 2014

After leading the NRHEG girls’ basketball team to back-to-back titles, Carlie Wagner has been recognized throughout the area, the state and the country.

At the local level, Carlie is the Tribune’s girls’ basketball Player of the Year for the third straight season.

At the state level, she was honored on March 24 by the Associated Press as its Player of the Year for girls’ basketball.

At the national level, she was given four of five stars by scouting services at ESPN.com with a grade of 95 out of 100, an overall prospect ranking of 54th and as the ninth-best point guard in the nation.

Click HERE to view the Tribune’s 2013-14 All-Area listings.

Despite all the praise, Carlie’s ego hasn’t exploded. After setting three more individual records at the state tournament, she chose to talk about her teammates instead of her individual accomplishments in state post-game interviews.

The same humble attitude rang true in an interview with Carlie on Friday. She said the team accomplished everything it set out to do.

“Winning the state championship was huge, and then going undefeated — it was a dream season,” Carlie said.

The Panthers went undefeated, 31-0 overall, and won 61 straight games, despite feeling pressure from every angle.

“They wanted it (the title), but they wanted it more for the fans than for themselves,” said Jane Wagner, Carlie’s mother. “The pressure was there, but they just focused on taking it one game at a time.”

Carlie shined brightest on the state’s biggest stages. Last year, she scored 50 of NRHEG’s 60 points in a one-point win over Braham in the state championship game. This year, she found her range from beyond the arc early in the second half to propel the Panthers to their second straight title. She finished with 36 points, which was a normal game for Carlie. She averaged 37.1 points per game this season to lead the area.

This year’s championship game was a 71-61 win over Kenyon-Wanamingo. The Knights only lost twice this year, and both defeats were against the Panthers.

Carlie, a senior, has freshman twin sisters, Maddie and Marnie, who also made significant contributions to NRHEG’s title runs. Both freshmen were Second Team All-Area selections.

Carlie signed her national letter of intent to play basketball for Pam Borton and the University of Minnesota, so this was the final season she was able to play with her sisters.

“It’s hard leaving Maddie and Marnie behind, but I know they’re going to lead the team and do great things,” Carlie said.

After 12 seasons as the head coach at the University of Minnesota, athletic director Norwood Teague fired Borton on March 29.

“It was pretty hectic,” Carlie said. “Right after I heard I got a few phone calls and emotions were running pretty high.”

However, Carlie said she plans to stick with the Gophers.

 

NRHEG records set at state tourney

• Carlie Wagner’s 36 points gave her 130 for the tournament, which broke her record of 129 in 2013.

• Carlie Wagner’s 371 points scored in games at the state tournament is a new state record. The old record was 329 by Janet Karvonen in 1980.

• Carlie Wagner scored 53 points in the state quarterfinals, which broke her record of 50 in 2013.

• NRHEG set the record for most points in a game at the state tournament with 100 in the quarterfinals against Pequot Lakes. The old record was 88 by Eden Valley Watkins against Cass Lake in 1984.

• NRHEG and Pequot Lakes set the record for most combined points in a game with 168. The old record was 157 when Monticello played Fergus Falls in 2013.

 

Tribune Players of the Year since 2001:

2014: Carlie Wagner, NRHEG

2013: Carlie Wagner, NRHEG

2012: Carlie Wagner, NRHEG

2011: Alyssa Sager, Albert Lea

2010: Abby Arends, Albert Lea

2009: Alyssa Kerkhoff, NRHEG

2008: Kate Hartman, N-K

2007: Brittany Hansen, NRHEG

2006: Alison Anderson, NRHEG

2005: Alison Anderson, NRHEG

2004: Alison Anderson, NRHEG

2003: Andrea Eilertson, USC

2002: Kjerstin Black, Lake Mills

2001: Amber Sickels, Albert Lea