Sometimes even the most dominant players can't lift their teams. Of those standouts, the best players tend to respond immediately. If the strength of that responding salvo is any kind of litmus test, Carlie Wagner must be one heck of a player.
As noted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and a handful of other Twin Cities outlets, Wagner set a new Minnesota state tournament record during the Class 2A consolation game, pumping in 48 points for New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (Minn.) High in a 71-61 victory against Pequot Lakes (Minn.) High in the Class 2A state third-place game.
Only one other NRHEG player finished the game scoring in double digits, with Anna Schlaak scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
The near 50-point output also set a new mark for combined scoring across a three-game state tournament slate, pushing Wagner's total to 112 points, six points more than former Minneapolis (Minn.) South High star Tayler Hill.
Both of Wagner's records are remarkable in themselves, but they become even more impressive when one considers Wagner's age: The new state record holder is just a sophomore. Given her success so far, it's almost terrifying to think of what Wagner and NRHEG might achieve in her two seasons to come.
After all, with an average of 37.3 points per game in the playoffs Wagner already scored more points per game by herself than some entire teams do in games, all when the games counted most.
While Wagner will now always have a state tournament game to look back on with amazement, that may not have been the case were it not for her coach. According to the Waseca County News, it was Wagner coach John Schultz who kept imploring the budding star to shoot late in the victory against Pequot Lakes, even though NRHEG had already built up a virtually insurmountable lead.
"I didn't know I was that close," Wagner said. "At the very end [Schultz] said to keep shooting. I was thinking, 'Why does he want me to keep shooting?'" […]
"We wanted to end the season with a win," Wagner said. "To go out with a bang."
That mission was clearly accomplished, both for Wagner personally and NRHEG as a squad.