CALEDONIA, Minn. – Gene Klinge will have to wait until Tuesday night for another shot at win No. 1,000, as his Waukon girls lost at perennial Minnesota class 2A power Caldeonia 53-48 on Saturday.
After a heartbreaking game Friday in a 54-51 loss to New Hampton, the Indians (13-5, 7-4) battled the Warriors, who have given the Indians fits over the years. Waukon had lost four straight times to the Warriors until a victory at home against them last season. In the early going, Caledonia was dominating the Indians as the Warriors led 18-8, but in front of a boisterous crowd rooting on both squads, the habits of Klinge’s basketball team – pressure defense, diving on the floor, fighting for loose balls and pounding the ball to the post -started to kick.
Junior 6-foot-1 center Alyssa Collins dominated the paint and scored 16 points in the first half. Senior guard Daneshia Snitker, the state’s leading scorer, gave the Indians their first lead of the game, 22-20, on a slashing basket basket with 3:44 to go in the first half.
Waukon held a 33-26 lead at the break.
In a physical game with few foul calls, the teams had more players going to the floor than a hockey game. Waukon held its lead until just under nine minutes were left in the game as the Warriors’ Taylor Winjum stroked a jumper to give Caledonia a lead that they would not give up.
Collins led the Indians with 25 points.
“We really want to win every game,” the junior said. “The last two we were right in but came up short, we will just have to prepare for Crestwood next week now.”
Snitker finished with 14 points and was a bit more upbeat after the game.
“We always know playing up here is going to be a battle, we played hard,” the senior added. “It’s not a conference loss which makes it easier to take.”
Klinge was ready to move on to another challenge.
“We have had some great hard fought games with Caledonia in the past, they made some nice adjustments tonight in their game,” Klinge said. “I thought our kids gave everything they had, and after last night’s game we may have ran out of gas a bit at the end. The effort was there but in the end we could not get over the hump.”