Minneapolis (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Waconia Wildcats defeated the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks by a 62-52 count on Wednesday at Williams Arena in Class 3A quarterfinal action.
While Waconia controlled the game from the start, Grand Rapids refused to go away and make life easy for the section 6AAA champions. The Wildcats jumped out to a 7-0 lead and eventually built up a 22-6 advantage with 9:18 to go in the opening half. Grand Rapids was unable to get anything going offensively and the deficit at halftime was 19 points.
Waconia's advantage wavered between 18 and 14 points for the first 5 and a half minutes of the 2nd half, but then Grand Rapids stuck with it and made the score 43-32 with 11:41 to play in the game. That's as close as the Thunderhawks would come, though, as Waconia kept their foot on the gas pedal and maintained their double-digit lead throughout the rest of the game.
The Wildcats had 3 players score in double figures, including sophomore F Wylie Ferron, who had a game-high 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting. Junior G Alex Schmitt (15 points) and senior F Shelby Moats (12 points) were also double-digit scorers and Moats also added 13 rebounds to the effort.
Grand Rapids was led in scoring by junior G Austin Pohlen, who had 14 points to go along with 9 assists, and 8th-grade C Alex Illikainen tallied a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Grand Rapids sees their season come to an end, but not before a section 7AAA title and state tournament berth following a 19-9 campaign.