If the county had rankings, like college basketball, FC’s girls basketball (due to their holiday showings) probably moved into the #1 spot. Versus Mabel-Canton the day after Christmas, Levi Olstad’s group shot 20 of 32 in the first half, building a 42-10 lead. They prevailed handily 67-30. Kandace Sikkink (13 pts, 5-9 FGs, 3-3 FTs) and Kelly Ristau (12 pts, 8 rebs) hit double figures. Kassidy Broadwater (8 pts, 8 rebs, 6 asts) helped. Ten Falcons scored. Taller FC won the boards 41 to 21. The Falcons shot 30 of 58 for the game (51.7%). MaKenzie Kelly (12 pts) and Payton Danielson (11 pts, 5 stls) paced the Cougars. A night later, FC (6-3) trekked to Kingsland (6-3) for a battle of top five section teams. Fouls and free throws were critical. Each team experience foul trouble, but the Knights were done in by it. A trio of key players (Ellie Buchholtz, Merredith Farlinger, Emily Miner) all had three first half fouls. All eight Knights to play ended with at least three. Miner and Farlinger fouled out. Kingsland led early, 17-8, and at half-time, 33-31. Consistently getting points at the line put the Falcons ahead in the second half. They led 45-37 only for an 8-0 Knight run. But FC would score 14 of their final 18 points at the line. An Alexys Harwood three-point-play got the Knights to down 56-53 (2:05), but Emma Breitsprecher replied with a three-point-play as well (59-53). The Falcons made it a battle of foul out and free throw attrition, prevailing 63-56. Broadwater (20 pts, 6-9 FTs, 6 rebs, 7 stls) led the way. Sikkink (15 pts, 9-12 FTs, 9 rebs) also hit double digits. Ristau, Breitsprecher, Ashlyn Simon, and Maddie Krage combined for 19 points (17-23 FTs) with just one made field goal. Miner (14 pts, 9 rebs) and Sam Wernimont (12 pts) hit double figures for the Knights. Harwood added 9. Ellie Buchholtz (season-low 7 pts, 5 rebs) was limited by both fouls and Breitsprecher’s defense. The Falcons hit 33 of 48 free throws (30 Knight fouls) to Kingsland’s 13 of 22 (18 Falcon fouls). Kingsland was also 3 of 20 from deep. With perennial power Goodhue now AA, and L/P down, for the first time in a long time, girls Section 1A is up in the air. BP (6-1, ranked #6), Southland (6-2), FC (4-1, 7-3), Houston (4-0, 6-3), and Kingsland (5-0, 6-5) are the top five QRF teams to end 2019. The section race and county rankings are likely to constantly flux.
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