Kate Thompson has scored in double figures in every Wayzata girls basketball game so far this season, and she wasn’t about to let the Buffalo Bison bring her streak to a halt. Thompson scored a game-high 18 points, including 11 in the second half as the Trojans won their eighth game of the season, 57-40 over the Bison on Tuesday, Jan. 20.
The Trojans led by just four, 26-22 at halftime, but used a superb defensive effort in the second half to cruise to the 17-point victory. The Trojans held the Bison without a field goal for the first 10:32 of the second half and forced them to shoot just 4-25 from the field in the second half.
“When it feels like it’s going to be a difficult night to make baskets, you hope that you can get it done on the defensive end,” Wayzata head coach Kris Jones said. “We asked our girls to give a little more energy in the second half. We made them put the ball on the floor a little bit and at that point I don’t think they were that comfortable.”
The Trojans started the second half on an 8-0 run to turn their 26-22 halftime lead into a more commanding 34-22 lead. Senior Alexa Clausen hit a pair of three pointers and Thompson added a jumper in the lane to give the Trojans the 12-point lead.
“When Alexa is hot from the outside, it’s almost an automatic win for us,” Thompson said. “When we get those three pointers, it gives us a nice cushion.”
The Trojans led 47-38 with four minutes left in the game when Thompson and senior Teresa Thour put the game away at the free throw line. The two combined to go 8-8 at the line down the stretch to deny the Bison any hope for a comeback.
Free throw shooting proved to be critical as the Trojans went 17-19 as a team, while the Bison missed several opportunities to close the gap by going just 14-26 at the line.
While Thompson was the lone Trojans player to score in double figures, eight other players contributed in the scoring column including freshman post players Marissa Grossfeld and Kayla Timmerman.
Grossfeld and Timmerman come off the bench to spell senior forward Christina Keup. Keup scored eight points on the night, while Grossfeld and Timmerman added six and four respectively.
“Our ninth grade posts have grown up a little bit and learned a lot,” Jones said. “It really gives us three different looks in the post and has given us some more production off our bench.”
Bench production will be key for the Trojans during the second half of the season, as opposing teams focus their defensive efforts on stopping Thompson. Thompson, a 6’3” player with guard skills, is averaging 19.2 points per game. She is headed for the University of Michigan next year on a scholarship.
“I love the coaching staff at Michigan. Coach (Kevin) Borseth is very animated, but he’s an awesome coach with a great reputation,” Thompson said. “There are a couple of Minnesota girls who already go there so it will be fun to play with them and lastly it’s just a great school.”
Thompson and the Trojans will now take their 8-6 record into Classic Lake Conference play. The Trojans will get a good idea of where are they are at as a team when they face seven-time defending conference champion Hopkins on Friday, Jan. 23.
“When you play Hopkins you know they are going to be talented, athletic and well coached,” Jones said. “You get your team ready by allowing them to fear nothing.”
“Hopkins is a very talented team with a couple of Division I players,” Thompson said. “I think we just need to play our game and make sure that Hopkins doesn’t get out to a big lead early on.”
Wayzata: Kate Thompson 18, Christina Keup 8, Alexa Clausen 6, Marissa Grossfeld 6, Kristi Kuhn 6, Teresa Thour 4, Kayla Timmerman 4, Jordan Risberg 3, Rudy Ruffin 2
Team Stats: Field Goals: 17-42 (40%), Three Pointers: 6-17 (35%), Free Throws: 17-19 (89%)
Buffalo: Deanne Bechtold 10, Molly Muntifering 8, Miranda Speckel 6, Taylor Johnson 6, Hanna Rohl 5, Kristin Jeske 3, Ashley Patri 2
Team Stats: Field Goals: 12-48 (25%), Three Pointers: 2-14 (14%), Free Throws: 14-26 (54%)