Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Jan. 8 print edition of The Report.
McKenna Johnson plays with poise, involves teammates
By Jason Arndt
Freshman McKenna Johnson doesn’t look at her stat line following every game.
She just plays, finds ways to involve her teammates, and nothing appears to bother her as the point guard on the Wilmot Union High School girls basketball team.
McKenna Johnson’s on-court composure paid off on Dec. 28 when she broke the school scoring record with 39 points to help Wilmot defeat non-conference opponent Watertown, 61-48, which handed the Panthers their fifth consecutive victory.
The 5-foot-8 point guard later scored 18 points in a 70-43 Jan. 2 route of The Prairie School.
Wilmot, as of last week, carried a 6-1 overall record and remained idle in Southern Lakes Conference play at 3-1.
“She was just a kid who couldn’t miss, was picking apart the zone that was filled with 6-foot plus kids,” said Wilmot coach Jerod Boyd. “It was fun to watch.”
Her school record supplanted the previous high of 35 points set by Beth Yunker, Denise Peterson and Jacqueline Herman.
But the 39 points wasn’t all she did, with McKenna Johnson tying Julia Hickey’s single-game record for 3-pointers at eight, which Hickey set in 2018.
For McKenna Johnson, the school record came as a surprise, since she typically doesn’t focus on her numbers.
“At the end of the game, I didn’t even know I broke the school record until one of the managers told me,” said McKenna Johnson.
McKenna Johnson, the fourth of seven children to parents, Scott and Amy, has sister and junior Madelyn Johnson on the team.
Madelyn Johnson, who described her sister as quiet, yet competitive, felt elated for her younger sister.
“It is awesome, I am so pumped for her,” said Madelyn.
Boyd came to know McKenna through middle school basketball camps and decided to start her at point guard as a freshman.
Through seven games, including a Jan. 2 win against The Prairie School, McKenna Johnson leads the team in scoring at 20.7 points per game while averaging 1.5 assists per game.
“She is so stoic, she doesn’t get rattled, has confidence and not cockiness,” Boyd said. “She does a great job keeping her teammates involved.”
McKenna’s mother, on Jan. 2, said her daughter carries experience playing with older teammates.
Sometimes, McKenna would play alongside Madelyn on the club circuit, which set her up for success in high school.
“She has experience playing with older players on her team,” said Amy.
McKenna played several years for Wisconsin Impact before joining Midwest Elite, an Illinois-based club team, according to Scott.
Meanwhile, as for the Jan. 28 contest against Watertown, the Panthers had a 31-26 advantage entering halftime and outscored the Goslings 30-22 in the second half to come away with the 61-48 win.
McKenna Johnson, along with her 39 points and eight 3-pointers, went 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
Avalon Uecke (18 points) and Teya Maas (14) led Watertown (5-3).
Days later, the Panthers followed up with a 70-43 victory against visiting Prairie School, thanks to a well-balanced offensive effort.
Wilmot led 32-20 at halftime and extended its advantage with a 38-23 second half.
McKenna Johnson, who collected six rebounds, had a team-leading four steals along with 18 points for the Panthers.
Senior Kyleigh Pittman, meanwhile, added 16 points while snagging four rebounds.
Sophia Parisi, another senior, scored 14 points and collected four rebounds.
The Prairie School, of Racine, received a team-leading 13 –points from Abby Decker and dropped to 2-8 overall.