Kasson-Mantorville Opens State With New Prague
The Class AAA No. 6-rated Kasson-Mantorville Komets will play against the No. 3-rated and third-seeded New Prague Trojans to open the Minnesota Girls State High School Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on KDHL 920 AM, kdhlradio.com and can be heard by downloading the free Radio Pup app on your favorite mobile device.
The Komets weren't seeded by the coaches in the tournament despite having just two losses on the season. Both losses came against ranked teams and both losses happened when 6-foot-2 sophomore center Kristin Scott was out of the lineup. Scott already has made a verbal commitment to play basketball at Iowa State and leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 16.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. One of those losses came against New Prague in Trojan country and the other was against Hutchinson at St. Catherine in St. Paul. The Hutchinson loss was 77-72 in overtime and the very next night Kasson-Mantorville boarded a bus bound for New Prague and lost 74-56. The Trojans have four losses, two to Class AAA top-ranked Orono by scores of 69-64 and 58-39 and to AAAA top-rated Hopkins 77-57 and No. 9 AAAA Shakopee 75-41.
I saw the Trojans in their season opener against Kenyon-Wanamingo at the Hamline Early Bird Tournament around Thanksgiving and their 5-foot-7 point guard Maize Deihl is fun to watch. Diehl leads her team in scoring with a 16.9 points per game average, has already scored more than 1,000 points in her career and leads the team in threes, with 53 on the season. She shoots 41 percent from beyond the arc. Five-foot-9 sophomore Taylor Hustad is New Prague's other leading scorer at 12.6 points per contest, and leads in rebounds with 7.4. It'll be a blast watching Diehl play against Komet senior point guard Cori Kennedy. Kennedy may be only 5-foot-4, but she is a strong young lady who may be able to get Diehl in foul trouble. New Prague loves to get after it defensively with relentless full court pressure. The key for the Komets will be handling that pressure and also using it against New Prague. By that I mean getting some transition buckets against that press.
New Prague averages 66 points a game and gives up 47.8 while Kasson-Mantorville's averages are 70.9 and 45.6. The Komets have shot 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range while the Trojan shooting is 42.9 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the three-point line.
If the Komets make it a half-court game, then Kasson-Mantorville has a good chance to advance in the tournament. If New Prague imposes their will on the Komets, then it could be one and done for the second straight year for K-M.
Our coverage will begin about 11:45 a.m. from Mariucci Arena on Wednesday.