A TIME TO SHINE — With NRHEG fans on their feet, Carlie Wagner (3) attempts a shot in the final minutes of Saturday’s third-place game. Below, Wagner breaks the record on a free throw. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)
By JIM LUTGENS
The man at the microphone was unmistakable: Dick Janckowski, voice of the Minnesota Gophers.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you witnessed history here today,” he boomed. “You witnessed history.”
After joking about Carlie Wagner signing autographs later in the day, Janckowski had his photo taken with Wagner and, before he left the building, indeed did have Wagner sign the scorebook.
It was that kind of day for Wagner and the NRHEG girls’ basketball team.
The Panthers’ sophomore star broke two state records — 48 points in a single game and a three-game total of 112 — as NRHEG finished its season on a winning note, 73-59 over Pequot Lakes in the third-place game of the state tournament Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul.
Fans and players from both teams were on their feet in the final minutes as Wagner neared the single-game record.
Wagner was unaware.
“Everyone kept telling me to shoot, and I didn’t know why,” she said. “I didn’t know I was that close.”
With a minute remaining, a Wagner free throw tied the single-game mark of 47 points by Taylor Hill of Minneapolis South and Brittany Chambers of Jordan.
On a fast break with 25 seconds left, Wagner passed the ball.
Her final chance came with 7.9 seconds left, and as she cashed in at the free-throw line the NRHEG fans went wild.
“This is a terrific milestone,” said Janckowski. “I don’t know who’s more excited, the people at the scorer’s table or the fans.”
Wagner humbly soaked it up as NRHEG fans chanted “Carlie! Carlie! Carlie!”
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re saying my name,’” said Wagner. “I’ll never forget that.”
Panther fans will never forget a season that saw them go 32-1 and shatter several school records.
The only blemish on their record was a 56-39 semifinal loss to Sauk Centre, which went on to fall 46-40 to No. 1 ranked Providence Academy in the championship game.
The Panthers were ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press Class AA state poll.