The defending Division IV state champion Minster High School girls basketball team is peaking at the perfect time — early February.
The D-IV second-ranked Wildcats used a 12-0 run in the third quarter to pull away from D-II No. 1 Carroll 50-35 in nonconference action on Saturday afternoon.
“Honestly, this is exactly what we needed and I’m not saying the win,” said Minster coach Mike Wiss. “To have our girls play against that caliber of team at this time of year, right before we head into tournament (is great). That’s my gut feeling.”
Carroll (20-2) saw its five-game winning streak snapped in its final regular season game. The game was originally scheduled to be played at the Flyin’ to the Hoop showcase in mid-January, but it was postponed due to inclement weather.
Elisabeth Bush had 10 points for the Patriots, who were held to a season-low 35 points.
“Minster’s a good team,” said Carroll coach Cecilia Grosselin. “Kudos to them. They played great. We’ve got things to work on. Hopefully, we’ll use this loss to work on those things as we head into the tournament.”
Minster’s Janae Hoying scored a game-high 13 points, while Ivy Wolf had 12 and Courtney Prenger added 11 for the Wildcats (20-1).
Minster led 24-18 at the half, despite having several starters in foul trouble. It was the bench that kept them in the game, Wiss said.
“I’m pleased with how our bench plays and gives us energy,” Wiss said.
The Patriots scored four straight to pull within a bucket at 24-22 early in the third quarter. The Wildcats countered with back-to-back 3-point plays by Hoying and Courtney Ernst, two free throws by Hoying and a basket by Ivy Wolf to make it 34-22 with 2:30 remaining in the period.
The Patriots wouldn’t get any closer than nine points the rest of the way. Minster used a 3-2 zone to keep Carroll away from the basket. The Patriots went cold in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points. They were forced to foul as Minster was content to run the clock out in the final three minutes.
“Sometimes shots just don’t fall — that’s the game of basketball,” Grosselin said.
Minster travels to St. Henry (16-5) in its final regular season game on Thursday. With a victory, the Wildcats will clinch the outright Midwest Athletic Conference title.
Carroll earned the No. 1 seed in the D-II sectional at Springfield next week. The Patriots will play 13th-seeded Meadowdale at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Springfield High School. Last season, the Patriots advanced to a D-II district final game, falling to Franklin 53-51 in triple overtime.
“We’ll go back and watch film and figure out what we need to work on and prepare as best as we can,” Grosselin said.