Carlie Wagner is accustomed to lighting up basketball arenas around the state as well as the nation.
It took “The State of Hockey” to bring out the best in the Gophers recruit. The New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva senior guard scored a career- and state-tournament record 53 points in, of all places, Mariucci Arena. It was the first time the venue had been used for a basketball state tournament since 2008.
“I absolutely loved playing here,” Wagner said. The venue had to be used because the NCHC tournament is being played at the Target Center this weekend. “It was perfect.”
The green court centered between the maroon and gold seats couldn’t distract the Panthers’ phenom. The words SAINT PAUL MINNESOTA across the baseline hardly went noticed. The court was brought in from the Xcel Energy Center.
“I couldn’t believe how loud it got in there,” said Wagner, who established her record during the Panthers’ 100-68 rout over Pequot Lakes in the Class 2A quarterfinals. “It was a great environment.”
Role change coming
Bryanna Fernstrom’s final high school game was a blowout loss to Marshall in the Class 3A quarterfinals, but the Chisago Lakes senior played the first 34 minutes and scored 24 of her team’s 44 points.
The 6-foot-5 center will have a much different role next season at Iowa State. The Cyclones are one of the top teams in the Big 12, among the toughest conferences in the nation.
“I’m not really a big girl in the Big 12 anymore. I’m decent-sized … which is kind of weird,” she said.
Fernstrom will likely be the tallest player at Iowa State, but she’ll have to adjust to a faster pace. The Cyclones are averaging 74 points this season.
Wait ’til next season
Kasson-Mantorville freshman Kristin Scott scored 12 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots in the KoMets’ 61-52 loss to Fergus Falls in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Scott, one of eight top returning players for the KoMets next season, notched a double-double in the first half that helped Kasson-Mantorville stay within two points of the Otters. KoMets juniors Taylor Miller, Danika Hodgman and Cori Kennedy also scored in double figures.
“They’re going to be back, no doubt about it,” Fergus Falls coach Brad Strand said.