It’s common to hear coaches and players say they're taking things one game at a time. It’s a way to keep focused on their next opponent, instead of looking too far forward and taking the competition lightly.
Aja Wheeler of Robbinsdale Cooper (14-7, 9-1) lifted her Hawks past Chaska (18-4, 10-1) in a 75-70 victory on Tuesday night by somewhat breaking that rule. With just five first-half points, and Chaska leading 37-36 at the break, Wheeler went off for 21 points in the second half to finish with a game-high 26 points, leading her team to a vital Metro West Conference win.
She explained what changed for her at halftime.
“(I realized) that if we don’t win, we’re going to have to play more games for state to get there. So it’s either work hard now or work hard later,” she said.
Robbinsdale Cooper picked up a vital Metro West Conference victory on the road as it beat Chaska, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, 75-70 on Tuesday night.
In a back-and-forth battle, the largest lead for either side was six points, and the majority of the game was played with either team leading by one possession.
At halftime, Chaska (18-4, 10-1) had a one-point lead, with No. 7-3A Cooper’s leading scorer, Aja Wheeler, held to just five points. Her shots, however, started falling into the basket routinely in the second half and she finished with a game-high 26 points.
Both teams shot over 43 percent from the field, but when it got down to crunch time Cooper (14-7, 9-1) was able to make some key stops to maintain its lead.
Cooper was nearly flawless from the free-throw line, making 9 of 10 attempts in the final 70 seconds of the game. Its one miss was rebounded by Andrea Tribble, who killed precious seconds off the game clock after securing the miss.
Kierra Wheeler added 13 points for Cooper, while teammates Jayla Reliford and Tribble, contributed 11 and eight points, respectively
Destinee Bursch tallied a season-high 25 points for Chaska. Mallory Heyer added a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Kaylee VanEps had 15 points.
With the win, Cooper, sitting a half game behind Chaska in the conference standings, split its season series with Chaska.
The MN Girls' Basketball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.