NRHEG is headed back to the state championship game

Published 8:38 pm Friday, March 21, 2014

NRHEG's Carlie Wagner drives to the basket during Friday's Class AA semifinal against Howard Lake-Waverly Winstead at Williams Arena. NRHEG won, 87-58, and will be advancing to the state finals.

NRHEG’s Carlie Wagner drives to the basket during Friday’s Class AA semifinal against Howard Lake-Waverly Winsted at Williams Arena. NRHEG won, 87-58, and will be advancing to the state finals. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — State records are falling like dominoes.

After the NRHEG girls’ basketball team passed three state milestones Wednesday in the quarterfinals, another record was set two days later — one that dated back to 1980.

In Friday’s 87-58 win over Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted in the Class AA girls’ basketball state semifinals at William’s Arena, NRHEG’s Carlie Wagner set the record for most career points scored at the state tournament.

Email newsletter signup

The previous record was 329 points by Janet Karvonen of New York Mills, who participated in the state tournament four times with 12 state tournament games. Carlie broke the record despite participating three years with seven state tournament games.

“It means a lot,” said NRHEG head coach John Schultz. “It’s not just a state record. It’s Janet Karvonen. These young kids probably don’t realize what kind of player she was. Us old-timers get that. It’s a big deal.”

Karvonen led the Marauders to three consecutive state titles and played on teams that qualified for the Final Four at Old Dominion University and Louisiana Tech University.

Carlie was presented with the game ball at the end of regulation. She dashed behind the bench, handed the ball to her mom, Jane Wagner, and gave her a hug.

“I just told her that I loved her,” Carlie said. “She gets there early and claims the front row every time. She’s my biggest fan.”

Carlie drained a 3-pointer to score the first points of the game and led all scorers with 41 points. However, the play of her twin freshman sisters, Maddie and Marnie, was what helped the Panthers stay afloat while fighting back from an early deficit.

“Maddie and Marnie stepped up huge,” Carlie said. “They had the games of their lives, and they picked a really good time to do it.”

Maddie scored 13 points and Marnie added 12.

“When they were double-teaming Carlie, it left me, Marnie or Jade (Schultz) open, and we were able to hit our shots,” Maddie said.

Coach Schultz said the twins aren’t fazed by the environment at the state tournament after making sizable contributions the last two seasons.

“These big games don’t bother them,” he said. “They handle it. They’re comfortable out there.”

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted began the game blazing from the perimeter. The Lakers hit three of their first six 3-pointers to take an 11-5 lead more than five minutes after the opening tip.

Maddie connected from downtown on consecutive possessions to tie the game at 12 and give the Panthers their first lead, 15-12, since the game’s opening basket. Layups by Marnie and Carlie gave NRHEG a 19-12 lead and completed a 14-1 run over a span of 3:04.

However, the Lakers wouldn’t go away, and five Panthers had three fouls each midway through the first half. All starters sat on the bench except Carlie, who the Lakers shadowed with two defenders every time down the court.

“We’re going to stay aggressive, and we have a strong bench,” coach Schultz said. “You can put a strong ball-handler out there with our second-string, and they can still create points. They’ve had a lot of minutes this year with blowout games.”

NRHEG won its regular-season games by an average of 40 points. Eight players scored for the Panthers.

NRHEG opened up its first double-digit lead on a jumper in the paint by Maddie three minutes before halftime.

At halftime, NRHEG led 40-28, and the Lakers gave up an average of 44.1 points per game to opponents during the regular season for a complete game. The Wagner sisters accounted for 34 of the Panthers’ 40 points.

In the second half, the NRHEG pulled away. At the 10-minute mark, the lead grew to 20 points on a 3-pointer by Carlie, and it expanded to 31 points on a jumper in the paint by Jade Peterson with eight seconds left.

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted’s Mackenzie Uter was carried off the floor 11 minutes into the first half with a knee injury.

Most stat lines were in NRHEG’s favor. The Panthers scored 32 points off turnovers, while the Lakers had 12. NRHEG scored 12 fast-break points and held Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted scoreless in transition. The Panthers had 26 bench points, and the Lakers had three.

NRHEG (30-0 overall) won its 60th straight game dating back to Dec. 1, 2012.

Look for a story and photos from the Class AA girls’ basketball state championship game against Kenyon-Wanamingo in Monday’s Tribune.

Girls’ basketball

Class AA state semifinals:

NRHEG 87, Howard Lake Waverly-Winsted 58

NRHEG   40   47  —  87

HLWW   28   30  —  58

NRHEG (30-0)
Wagner, Carlie 11-27 17-19 41; Wagner, Maddie 4-10 3-4 13; Wagner, Marnie 5-9 0-0 12; Overgaard, Paige 3-10 2-3 8; Ramaker, Gretchen 2-6 2-3 6; Harrington, Kelli 2-4 0-0 4; Peterson, Jade 1-1 0-0 2; Camerer, Kayley 0-0 1-2 1; Hagen, Ryann 0-0 0-0 0; Schultz, Jade 0-2 0-0 0; Stork, Anna 0-0 0-0 0; Lundberg, Hannah 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 28-73 25-31 87.

Miller, Abby 7-16 7-9 27; Gruenhagen, Gabby 4-8 3-5 11; Eastman, Cozy 2-8 4-7 10; Reed, Marissa 1-5 1-2 4; Uter, Mackenzie 1-3 1-2 3; Woolhouse, Marissa 1-2 0-0 2; Miller, Maggie 0-5 1-2 1; Uter, Jessica 0-0 0-0 0; Smida, Taylor 0-0 0-2 0; Schank, Camden 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-48 17-29 58.

3-point goals — NRHEG 6-20 (Wagner, Maddie 2-5; Wagner, Marnie 2-4; Wagner, Carlie 2-8; Schultz, Jade 0-1; Lundberg, Hannah 0-1; Ramaker, Gretchen 0-1), Howard Lake-Waverly  9-28 (Miller, Abby 6-11; Eastman, Cozy 2-7; Reed, Marissa 1-1; Woolhouse, Marissa 0-1; Miller, Maggie 0-5; Schank, Camden 0-1; Uter, Mackenzie 0-1; Gruenhagen, Gabby 0-1).

Fouled out — NRHEG None, Howard Lake-Waverly None.

Rebounds — NRHEG 54 (Overgaard, Paige 15), Howard Lake-Waverly 31 (Reed, Marissa 8).

Assists — NRHEG 7 (Schultz, Jade 2; Lundberg, Hannah 2), Howard Lake-Waverly 2 (Reed, Marissa 2).

Total fouls — NRHEG 25, Howard Lake-Waverly 23.

Technical fouls — NRHEG None, Howard Lake-Waverly — None.