Winhawk Selena Lor battles through Waseca’s defense.
by BEN MCLEOD
Winona State University hosted the Lewiston Auto Holiday Basketball Classic tournament again this year, inviting 18 schools and their teams from the Three Rivers and Big Nine conferences, including Winona Senior High School, Cotter High, Lewiston-Altura, La Crescent, Rushford-Peterson, Austin, Mankato, Rochester and Albert Lea. Both boys and girls, varsity and JV teams were in attendance over the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. From Wednesday, December 27, through Saturday, December 30, local high school basketball teams met at the WSU McCown and Talbot gymnasiums for a series of games that had a big impact on each team’s future in the 2017-2018 season.
The Cotter boys varsity team had a good holiday with two wins, 72-66 versus Cochrane-Fountain City on Friday and a solid 63-36 thumping against Lanesboro on Saturday. Unfortunately, they still sit at the bottom of the Three Rivers standings at 4-5-0 for the season. The Winhawk boys lost to Waseca on Wednesday 54-69, but brought in an 87-78 win against Holmen. However, they, too, are in the Big Nine basement with 2-6-0.
The WSHS girls varsity team logged two defeats in the final games of 2017, a 63-67 loss to Kasson-Mantorville on Wednesday and a brutal 26-54 loss against Waseca on Thursday. This leaves them 0-7-0 in the Big Nine, with only Albert Lea trailing at 1-9-0.
However, while Cotter’s Lady Ramblers also lost both their tournament games, they still sit at number two in the Three Rivers with a respectable 9-4-0, trailing Caledonia with 7-3-0. The Lady Ramblers lost to Waseca — just like everyone else — 49-60, and let Kasson-Mantorville sneak out with 59-63 on Thursday. The Lady Ramblers still look good for the season, and there are enough games left ahead for any of the teams to pull out a miraculous rejuvenation in the new year. But as of the closing week of 2017, Caledonia seems the team to watch, leading Three Rivers boys 8-0-0 and girls 7-3-0.