By Mark Johnson
The Bearcats entered last week with a single purpose. They needed to be horse whisperers. They had a pair of Northern Galaxy Conference games against the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Ponies and the Red Lake County Central Mustangs.
KCC 65 – WAO 56
The WAO Ponies were the Bearcats’ first challenge last week. The two teams had played earlier in the year with KCC claiming a 68-58 win. The second time around did not start out very promising.
KCC struggled to get baskets to fall for the majority of the first half and found themselves in a predicament trailing 26-14 with just over 6 minutes to play in the first half. The Bearcats were able to flip a switch and combined aggressive active defense with and attacking offensive mindset to close out the first half on a 21-5 run to hold a 35-31 halftime advantage.
The Ponies momentarily tied the game at 35-35 in the early minutes of the second half, but the Bearcats quickly regained momentum and with steady play built their second-half lead to as many as 13 points on a couple different occasions. WAO made a run at the Bearcats late in the game to close the lead to 3 points at 59-56, but the Bearcats made critical free throws down the stretch to close out the game and get the road victory over the Ponies.
Scoring leaders: Ella Olson 20, Morgan Turn 16, Greta Kuznia 14, Aidra Johnson 5, Lily Peterson 4, McKinley Folland 3, Afton Lindgren 2, Berlyn Strege 1
Rebound leaders: Ella Olson 12, McKinley Folland 5, Berlyn Strege 4
Assist leaders: Morgan Turn 6, Lily Peterson 3, McKinley Folland 3, Afton Lindgren 3, Berlyn Strege 3
KCC 57 – RLCC 36
KCC returned home on Friday night in Lancaster with another Northern Galaxy Conference game. The Bearcats needed a win to stay on top the conference and continue their winning ways.
The Mustangs gave the Bearcats all they could handle in the early moments of the first half. The two teams were tied at 7-7 at the 13:38 mark of the half. KCC took off from that point and pushed quickly to a 14-7 advantage and kept the Mustangs in the rear-view mirror for the remainder of the game.
The second half mirrored the first half of action. The Bearcat defense made it difficult on the Mustangs to find quality scoring opportunities, while the KCC offense kept finding ways to increase their lead slowly and steadily. KCC doubled up its 10-point halftime lead and pulled away from RLCC to capture a 21-point win and stay on top the Northern Galaxy Conference standings with an 8-1 record.
It is always a good week when you can notch a pair of wins, and even better when they are conference wins. This team finds a way to get the job done. It isn’t always pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. They are learning how to persevere and overcome.
Scoring leaders: Morgan Turn 18, Ella Olson 11, Kaydence White 7, Lily Peterson 6, Afton Lindgren 4, Berlyn Strege 4, Greta Kuznia 3, McKinley Folland 2, Aidra Johnson 2
Rebound leaders: McKinley Folland 9, Afton Lindgren 7, Aidra Johnson 6, Greta Kuznia 5
Assist leaders: Morgan Turn 5
Photos courtesy of Kittson Central Media Arts