GIRLS BASKETBALL: Rabbits upset No. 1 Vikings

WABASSO – One game after suffering their first two losses of the season, Wabasso took defending state champion and Class A No. 1-ranked Minneota from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 51-49 victory over the Vikings on Monday night.

The Class A No. 10-ranked Rabbits trailed 49-48 heading into the final minute of the game before they were able to knock down a three with 17 seconds left to take the 51-49 lead.

Minneota had a chance to answer, but the Rabbits came away with the steal before getting fouled to get to the line for a one-and-one. Wabasso missed the front end of the one-and-one free throw attempt, but by then the Vikings just had a halfcourt heave left that fell short.

“It really says a lot about our team,” Wabasso coach Neil Dolan said. “I think the girls really had a lot to play for tonight. You have to give Minneota a lot of credit. They have an amazing team. We came out with a lot of defensive intensity.”

Chelsey Guetter led the way for the Rabbits with 14 points while Larissa Rohlik and Erin Liebl added 13 and seven points respectively. Karlee Eichten did most of her work on the boards, pulling down 11 while Guetter finished with nine rebounds.

Kacie Rothmeither finished with five assists while Morgan Frank came away with four steals on the nights.

Wabasso was able to hold the Vikings under 50 points by switching up from their normal defensive philosophy.

“We came out in man-to-man and that’s something we don’t normally do,” Dolan said. “Minneota has pounded us from the outside enough that we had to defend that and the kids did a good job of that.”

Making the victory even more impressive was the fact that the Rabbits had to go a majority of the second half without Guetter, who was injured at the start of the second half afte a collision with the Vikings’ Taylor Reiss and she fouled out with two two minutes to go in the game.

It was Frank who took on the assignment of guarding Minneota’s inside threat and she was able to do it with success.

“I told the girls before the game that we were going to play man-to-man and Morgan’s eyes just lit up,” Dolan said. “She did a great job on Taylor all night.”

This victory marked the second time the Rabbits have knocked off a top-ranked state team. It also brought an end to the Vikings 40-game win streak dating back to last season.”

The first time came in 2004 when they knocked off Kittson County Central in the semifinals of the Class A state tournament.

“We just played really well as a team,” Chelsey Guetter said. “I don’t think they were expecting us to play man-to-man since we play zone so much. When we came out in man-to-man they were pretty shocked.”

After the game, Minneota coach Chad Johnston was left looking for answers.

He knew his team hadn’t been the best on the floor that night.

“We got outplayed and I’m not really sure why,” Johnston said. “We’ve seen man-to-man the past few games, so I’m not real certain why our girls didn’t execute better against the man-to-man.”

Wabasso will get a week off before they finish out their season against Minnesota Valley Lutheran while Minneota will host BOLD at 7:30 p.m. today.