"Celebrating our 36th Year"
Pacesetter Play offs!
Over 800 "Hometown Teams"in grades 5-9 in MN-IA-ND-SD Battle for the "Road to Minneapolis!"
Each state crowns state champions and the top two teams represent their state at the Pacesetter Great Four-State Championships at the Target Center in Minneapolis this summer.
See your state play off page under "Tournaments" in the left column.
NOTE to coaches, players and fans - March 28-29 tournaments:
All brackets should be updated and correct.
If you see any errors, please email email@example.com.
Please Click and Read:
Final Note to Teams
NOTE: Be sure you refresh your page...maybe even twice...before downloading.
The weather is expected to be good over the weekend, but, as always, drive safely and enjoy your day.
SATURDAY: 5G • 7G • 9G • 6B • 8B
SUNDAY: 6G • 8G • 5B • 7B • 9B
SATURDAY: 5B • 7B • 9B • 6G • 8G
SUNDAY: 5G • 7G • 9G • 6B • 8B.
East Central (Sandstone-Askov)
SATURDAY: 6G • 8G • 5B • 7B • 9B
SUNDAY: 6B • 8B • 5G • 7G • 9G
SATURDAY: 8G • 9B
SATURDAY: 5G • 7G • 9G • 6B • 8B
SUNDAY: 6G • 8G • 5B • 7B • 9B
These adjusted brackets were posted at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday.
North Dakota Youth Basketball State Tournament - Jamestown
SATURDAY: 7B • 9B
SUNDAY: 9G • 8B See changes - added one team to boys' bracket.
Adjusted 9th grade girls bracket and 8th grade boys bracket 11:00 a.m. Friday. Be sure to REFRESH the bracket before downloading.
CAMPS! Pacesetter Residential Championship Basketball Camps now available!
Shooting Camp • Jump Shooting and Offensive Skills Camp • Championship Basketball All-skills Camp • "Best of Pacesetter" All-Skills Camp • Combo Camp (Shooting AND Champ all-skills camp)
See camps in left column. 28-hour programs in 3 days!
Directors: John Carlson, Joel McDonald, Paul McDonald, Jeff McCarron
IA BOYS' YOUTH STATE TOURNAMENT BRACKETS:
NOTE: Thank you for playing! The results and some photos will be posted soon.
5th boys • 6th boys • 7th boys • 8th boys • 9th boys
Minnesota Boys' State Basketball Tournament
See the recap of all boys' state tournament games here:
Minnesota High School Girls' State Tournament
See all girls' section final recaps here:
See updated state brackets on MSHSL website:
Girls' Championship Saturday!
Williams Arena, University of Minnesota
Class A: Ada-Borup 82 Maranatha Christian Academy 65
CLass AA: Dover-Eyota 71 Sauk Centre 58
Class AAA: Park Center 52 Marshall 45
Class AAAA: Hopkins 68 Eastview 60
Minnesota Youth Basketball State Championships
Youth teams in grades 5-9 • 700+ teams
Register by clicking "MN Region Playoffs" in left column
Congratulations Girls on a GREAT state tournament!
See STATE game recaps and photos below:
Saturday, March 21
Hopkins is back on top with 68-60 conquest of defending champ Eastview
TT Starks of Hopkins was a step ahead of Eastview's Madison Guebert and Hana Metoxen as she scores on a breakaway. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
By Bruce Strand
After Hopkins captured its fourth state championship in five years with a 68-60 conquest of Eastview, their coach Brian Cosgriff, was asked a simple question — why is your team so successful in state tournaments — and he had a simple answer.
"Having great players," he grinned. "When you've got great players, you've got a shot."
It might be more complicated than that, but his current great players came through big-time as the top-ranked Royals won their much-anticipated rubber game over No. 2 ranked Eastview — two teams that were a combined 58-0 against everyone else this year — at Williams Arena on Saturday evening.
Junior guard Nia Hollie delivered 26 points, shooting 11-for-20. Senior guard TT Starks, an Iowa State recruit, dropped in 16, shooting 5-for-7 from the floor and 5-for-6 at the line. Junior guard Ashley Bates added 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting.
"That's what we always say: the big-time players, when the bright lights are on, they are going to step up and make the big shots," said Cosgriff.
Hopkins finished 30-1 with 26 consecutive wins since losing to Eastview 75-70 on Dec. 6, including a 68-55 payback of the Lightning on Dec. 31.
Eastview was the state champion last year, when Hopkins, after three consecutive state titles, was felled by Eden Prairie in the sectionals. The Lightning are at least as formidable this year as last year, with three Division I signees — point guard Madison Guebert (South Dakota State), forward Samantha Trammel (Michigan) and forward Hana Metoxen (Augustana) — along with another returning starter, junior guard Erika Schlosser, and a sophomore standout in 6-foot guard Rachel Ranke.
But Hopkins, a swift and physically powerful group, playing at a manic but controlled pace, was even better.
"Everyone contributes. It's a team sport," said Hollie. "The great thing about our team is we have multiple weapons. You can't stop us."
The state champs' other points came from senior guard Viria Livingston (four), soph guard Dee Dee Winston (four) and junior guard Evelyn Knox (three).
The Royals outshot Eastview 53 percent (23-for-49) to 39 percent (19-for-48) and drubbed them in the paint 38-18. Turnovers, rebounds and free throws were nearly even.
Guebert, the Star-Tribune's metro player of the year, scored 19 points, but Hopkins held her to just 11 field goal attempts. She was 5-for-11 overall and 2-for-4 on three's, along with 7-of-10 at the line. Trammel notched 12 points and 12 rebounds, Schlosser 11 points, and Metoxen and Ranke nine each.
"It's Madi and Sam that run that team," said Hollie. "Madi is a phenomenal player, and we had to stop her on the defensive end. And on offense, just do what we do."
Eastview trailed most of the first half, but Ranke's 3-pointer at the buzzer from the top of the key gave them a 30-28 lead. The Lightning had inbounded at the other end, hustled down the floor and appeared to be bogged down near the basket, but Schlosser reversed the ball to Ranke, who swished the shot.
Even though it was a close game against a superb opponent, Cosgriff was not happy with the first-half effort, and admitted to tongue-lashing his team at halftime.
"Let's just say I was fired up at halftime, probably more than I should have been," Cosgriff related. "And they did respond (well). You know, you prepare for this game all year long, and then you feel like things are maybe going a different way than you want, and it ticks you off."
He chuckled, "I've got to get past that. Even at my age there is a maturity factor."
The Royals calmed their coach down a bit by starting the second half with a 13-2 run, capped by a three-point play from Starks, who had seven of those points while Hollie hit two baskets and Bates one.
They expanded the lead to as much as 50-37 on a banked-in three-pointer by Hollie with 11:13 left. Obviously things were going well for Hopkins.
"This has been our calling card all year — we try to play hard all (first) half, and step it up in the second half," said Cosgriff.
Eastview had one last burst in them. Down 61-51, their two big guns put together a 7-0 run as Guebert hit two free shots, Trammel muscled inside and scored on a putback of her own miss, and Guebert slashed to the hoop for a three-point play on an underhand layup. Suddenly it was 61-58 with 1:12 left.
After Hollie made one of two free shots, Eastview's Ranke tossed up a long 3-pointer that missed. The Lightning had to start fouling, and Hopkins, which had been 6-for-14 to that point, dropped in six straight free shots, two each by Watson, Starks and Hollie, to put it away.
"It was just resiliency in the end," said Hollie. "Who wanted it more — and we wanted it more. We've got to win this game. It's on us. Who wants it more."
Hopkins now has six state championships in nine appearances under 16th-year coach Cosgriff, whose 419-59 record includes a phenomenal 24-3 in state tournaments.
Afterward, Cosgriff rattled off the names of the many stars who have led the different "era's" of Hopkins basketball, and concluded:
"Now these girls have planted their flag, too. It's a great group of kids. Unbelievable kids. I've been so fortunate to coach them."
Less harrowing this year, but Park Center clips Marshall in 3A finals for 2nd straight year 52-45
The Park Center Pirates raise their second straight state championship trophy. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
By Bruce Strand
With a little less drama this time, the Park Center Pirates beat the Marshall Tigers in the state Class 3A championship game for the second straight year, 52-45, on Saturday evening.
"It wasn't three overtimes, but it still was a very tough game," said Hannah Schaub, senior guard, who contributed 11 points and six assists.
A year ago, Park Center got a game-tying, last-second shot from freshman Danielle Schaub to force overtime, then prevailed in three extra sessions 73-71 with all underclassmen on the court, including four freshmen, as their senior star had fouled out.
Those four, now sophomores, teamed with Schaub, who missed state last year with a knee injury, in a quest to repeat as champions. There were bumps along the way, including seven losses to Class 4A teams, but the Pirates got it done again.
"Last year, with our leaders out during the overtimes," said sophomore Mikayla Hayes, "it gave us something like, pride, that we are the leaders on the court now, that helped us this year."
This time, the Pirates (25-7) started pulling away with eight minutes left and avoided the harrowing, if exhilarating, finish of 2014.
Park Center will move up to Class 4A next year on the heels of two straight 3A titles in their first two trips to the state girls' tournament.
"This was huge for us," said Chris VanderHyde, who's been coach for two years, with two state titles. "We are moving up to 4A, and this gives us a boost of confidence that we can play at that level as well. The margin, I think, is slim, between 3A and 4A. But we will be ready for that challenge next year. Right now, we'll just enjoy this. It's a big deal for the community and the school."
Said Hayes: "We knew this year was gonna be hard, and we worked hard all season, and now that we made it, I'm just really happy what we did."
It was a bitter defeat for the Tigers (29-3), who graduated three starters, but returned four of their top seven, and wanted desperately to "redeem ourselves," in senior point guard Sarah Buysse's words. They took a similar path to the finals, knocking off the No. 1 seed in the semifinals for the second straight year, Orono this time. Last year it was Fergus Falls. But again the Tigers could not complete the job.
"We didn't shoot very well, especially in the first half," lamented coach Dan Westby. "But Park Center plays really strong defense, too, especially on the perimeter."
In the defensive tussle, Hayes, a 6-foot-1 forward, led Park Center with 13 points and six rebounds. Hannah Schaub and sophomore forward Feyisayo Ayobamidele sank 11 points each, and sophomore guard Ann Simonet made nine.
The Tigers clobbered the Pirates on the backboards 45-22 but shot poorly from the floor, 15-for-46 (32.6 percent) and just 2-for-12 on three's.
Junior forward Marah Mulso led Marshall with 15 points and seven rebounds. Buysee, the floor general and scoring leader, wasn't the money player she usually is; she couldn't find her shot (2-for-11) while suffering seven turnovers. She did lead the Tigers with 10 rebounds. Also scoring 10 points was junior forward Lexi Saugstad.
Marshall scored the first five points, but Park Center caught up at 7-7 on Hannah Schaub's 3-pointer and led by as much as 20-13 on Danielle Schaub's 3-pointer. They were still up 27-23 at halftime.
The two teams traded the lead in the second half until Park Center pulled away 39-34 on a putback by Hayes and two free shots by Ayobamidele. Buysse made a mid-court steal and had an open layup but missed it, typical of the Tigers' frustration.
The Pirates would stay in front. Marshall got within 41-39 on Lexi Saugstad's 3-pointer, but Simonet countered with a 3-pointer from the corner. The Pirates opened up a 51-43 lead on another bomb by Simonet with 1:46 left. The Pirates double-teamed Buysse and coaxed a turnover, leading to two free shots by Hannah Schaub with :45 left that made it 51-43.
"The girls just battled," said VanderHyde. "I thought we played a terrific first half. We came out a little sluggish in the second half when Dan made some good adjustments. Obviously Marshall wasn't going to go easily. I thought we battled through well. The only thing we didn't do well was rebound. We made up for that in other areas."
About repeating as champion, he said, "It's always a battle, especially when you lose someone like Cayla McMorris, but I'm not surprised."
Hannah Schaub, after watching from the bench with her knee injury in 2014, was thrilled to win a state title with her younger sisters.
"Omigosh it's so fun. I'm going to miss playing with her," she said. "We talked about it in the car and cried a little bit. But winning really topped off the whole year."
Tall and talented Dover-Eyota overcomes Sauk Centre 71-58 for Class 2A crown in first state trip
Dover-Eyota's Madison Nelson skies for one of her team's record 71 rebounds against Sauk Centre. The Sauk Centre player is Rebecca Weir. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
By Bruce Strand
It's good to be athletic, which the Dover-Eyota girls are, and it's good to be fundamentally sound, which the Eagles also are. But it also doesn't hurt to be around six feet tall, with long arms, which the Eagles' big three most definitely are.
The trio of Brandi Blattner, Megan Hintz and Madison Nelson combined for 64 points and 56 rebounds as the No. 2 ranked Eagles wore down No. 1 Sauk Centre 71-58 for the Class 2A championship Saturday at Williams Arena.
"We got seventy-one rebounds. That's what I heard," beamed Blattner during the post-game interviews. "That's how we won."
The Eagles did indeed out-board the talented but much smaller Mainstreeeters by a staggering 71-32 margin, breaking a state tournament single-game record of 69 that stood since 1979, while also breaking the three-game record.
And they blocked nine shots, two of them during a 13-0 run late in the game that erased Sauk Centre's 55-51 lead and delivered the state title for Dover-Eyota, as the first-time state entrants finished 31-2.
"They killed us on the boards. That was a concern of ours, their size," said Scott Bergman, Sauk Centre coach. "We've got girls who are really good at getting to the rim, and they were doing that tonight, but when you've got six-one girls, a couple of them, waiting for you at the basket, that certainly makes it a challenge."
Sauk Centre had a 29-game winning streak snapped and finished 31-2 with their second runner-up finish in five state tournament trips.
Dover-Eyota coach Brian Harris, asked to assess his team's traits, beyond its height, gushed, "We are just a relentless, tenacious, offensive weapon. You've got to get back and stop the ball somehow because we are going to get it inside and score."
Regarding the finals opponent, he said, "We are usually a full court press team, but we had to go half court tonight in the second half to control Sauk Centre. They are an awesome 2A team."
Blattner, 5-foot-11 senior point guard, generated 25 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots. Hintz, 6-foot-1 junior center, was also devastating in the lanes, with 24 points and 17 rebounds while sinking 12 of 16 free shots. Nelson, 6-foot-1 junior guard, scored 15 points and snagged 15 rebounds, while making two blocks and two steals. The other points for the state champs came from Haley Finstuen (three) and Danielle Higgins and Madison Field (two each).
"Omigosh, it's the greatest thing in the whole world," said Blattner, who missed the 2013 playoffs with a knee injury, about the state title. "We made history already by making it here (for the first time), and we made history again by winning the state tournament. I'm so excited! I'm also a little sad it's over with, of course, because it's my senior year."
"I'm pretty sure our whole town was here tonight," said Hintz, meaning, of course, both towns. "I think this will put us on the map. Nobody really knows where Dover and Eyota are."
For the record, they are a little southeast of Rochester.
The Cougars' shooting wasn't anything special, 23-for-62 overall and 0-for-5 on three's, although they did sink 25 of 34 free shots as the Mainstreeters suffered 24 fouls trying to guard a bigger team. They also had a 10-23 turnover disadvantage. But the Eagles' overwhelming presence on the blocks were too much for Sauk too overcome.
Sauk Centre (31-2) was led by freshman guard Maesyn Thiesen with 23 points, four steals and three assists. Mauren Thiesen, her sister, a senior guard who comes off the bench, added 14 points. Kelsey Peschel, freshman guard, was next with seven.
The Mainstreeters shot far below their standards at 19-for-76 (25 percent) and 7-for-30 on three's — which gave them exactly 300 three-point baskets for the season, a staple of their success. They made 13 of 16 free shots.
The Eagles were down 55-51 when Hintz started the 13-0 run with two free shots. Nelson stole the ball and missed a breakaway layup, but Blattner rebounded and scored. Hintz took a pass from Danielle Higgins, made a spin move on the block for a 3-point play, fouled by Klaphake, and they were up 57-55.
Nelson blocked a layup by Moritz, and the Cougars quickly got the ball to the other end where they missed twice but kept rebounding until Blattner scored. Blattner then blocked a layup by Maesyn Thiesen, and, on the other end, while inbounding under their basket, she found Nelson wide open for an easy two. The run was capped by Hintz muscling up for another lay-in for a 64-55 lead.
A nice drive by Sauk's Kelsey Peschel stopped the run but the Mainstreeters wouldn't recover.
"The last game, no matter where it is, it's always tough to look those seniors in the eye," said Bergman, "and thank them for all they have done, especially when they have had such tremendous careers."
He added, "It was fun. Yeah, it was a good year. There's a bunch of teams who'd trade places with us right now."
Hintz said she never took anything for granted. Asked if there was a magic moment during the year when she thought D-E could be state champs, she said, "Only when there was about five seconds left on the clock! There was no time in my mind I thought we've got this in the bag. We took it game by game and played our hearts out every game and this was the result."
Ada-Borup leaves no doubt who's best in 1A, tumbling Maranatha Christian 82-65
The Ada-Borup Cougars celebrate after their 32nd win without a loss for the state championship. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
By Bruce Strand
Haley Poehler has good memories of Ada-Borup's last state championship, in 2009, but the Cougars' 2015 title is far sweeter.
"The last time we won, I was the water girl! And I've been working hard ever since then to get one myself, so this feels great," beamed the senior forward who contributed 18 rebounds and 10 points in the title game.
Ada-Borup, which rolled into the state tournament unbeaten, but without nearly as challenging a schedule as their finals opponent, Maranatha Academy, pummeled the Mustangs 82-65 in the Class 1A title game Saturday at Williams Arena.
Senior forward Miki Lee scored 10 quick points in an early 26-10 run and totaled 23 points for the Cougars, with sophomore guard Elizabeth Birkmeyer right behind with 20 points. Senior forward Lexi Merkens added 17 points while Poehler chipped in 10 and led them to a crucial 51-37 rebound advantage.
The Cougars shot 29-for-57 from the field, with Birkemeyer 9-for-11 and Lee 8-for-13, and 24-for-32 from the line, with Merkens 9-for-10, as they cruised in a state championship game without making a single 3-pointer (0-for-8).
"We knew they (Maranatha) would run on us and they had a strong press and we had to take care of the ball," said Poehler. "We knew we couldn't give them the second shot. Our rebounds were huge."
Ada-Borup has gone to state eight times the last 10 years and won titles in 2008 and 2009. Last year was the first time they've lost in the first round (to Goodhue). Poehler was a starter and Lee and Merkens played as subs.
"Our seniors are all great kids, and they put in lot of time in the offseason," said coach Dave Smart. "Haley started last year, and the other two played just sporadic minutes, so really, those two were wet behind the ears, but our three seniors really played like veterans, and they led the way."
"We knew us seniors had to lead the way and the rest would follow," said Poehler.
Lexi Lee, Maranatha's light-footed, sweet-shooting senior guard, poured in 32 points, hitting 11-of-21 including five 3-pointers, to keep her team's hopes alive after their disastrous start. The Mustangs otherwise couldn't find their shots, finishing 23-for-79 (29 percent). Jaclyn Jarnot scored 10 points and Alaina Jarnot eight.
"It's not a great feeling," said Lee, a Sioux Falls recruit who finished with 2,052 career points, with a high game of 45. "Our start was really slow. I wish we would have started better. We just weren't shooting very well in the beginning. Coach said to drive more and we started doing that more."
The Cougars were ranked first by Minnesota Basketball News with Maranatha second, but the coaches' seedings reversed the two, giving Maranatha credit for beating three other seeded state tournament teams during the regular season. But in the end the team from the northwest quadrant of the state left no doubt.
The Cougars held the Mustangs 20 points below their average although it was "the most they've given up all year," said Smart.
"They were playing their game. We didn't generate enough turnovers to do what we do," said Maranatha coach Chris Buerman. "I congratulate them on running their offense exceptionally well. Their discipline was incredible."
Ada-Borup roared to a 26-10 lead behind 10 points by Lee and six by Birkmeyer, setting so brisk a pace that the normally freewheeling Mustangs were always a step behind, with most of the Cougar baskets on smart low-post cuts to the hoop or immaculately choreographed fast breaks.
"We've always been a transition team," said Smart, "but we got some early that I think surprised a lot of people. We expected some buckets in transition but we're talking uncontested, nobody near you buckets. That was a little surprising."
Morgan Miller scored eight points and Lexi Nelson five to complete Ada-Borup's scoring.
The Cougars were up 40-30 at halftime with Lee notching 14 points and Birkmeyer 10, and the team shooting 19-for-33 with a 24-13 rebound edge. Lee kept MCA in the game with 17 points and they had a nice run in the last few minutes but couldn't keep it up.
Ada-Borup's only close game before state was a 55-51 win over Hawley, which finished ranked No. 5 in Class 2A, in February. Their closest wins otherwise were by 14, 15 and 16 points. The Cougars beat last year's state champion, Win-E-Mac (23-6) twice in conference, 73-58 and 77-40. They played some other teams that were ranked at the time but not at the end of the year.
They beat unranked Brandon-Evansville 54-31 in the Section 6A finals and unranked Springfield 71-53 at state.
In the semifinals, the Cougars rallied from a 45-35 deficit and beat No. 9 Lyle-Pacelli 54-52 with Lee delivering the game-winning shot.
"We never had our back to the wall that much all year," said Smart. "That was just a testament to the kids, that they didn't fold their tents, and managed to pull it out, I'm still not sure how."
In the finals, the Cougars made sure they didn't need another comeback.
Friday, March 20
Semi-finals - Class A and Class AA
Minneota's Taylor Reiss, who scored her 3,000th point in the quarterfinals, turns up court after grabbing a rebound, trailed by Maranatha Christian's Lexi Lee, who scored her 2,000th point in this game, won by Maranatha 76-69.
Unofficial record: Taylor Reiss, finished this season shooting just over 70% from the field (on over 500 attempts), which is an all-time Minnesota High School girls' record. She shot 80% in the state tournament, 6-for-8 Thursday and 10-for-12 on Friday.
Class A Semi-finals
Ada-Borup nips Lyle-Pacelli 54-52, advances to 1A title game against Maranatha Christian
By Bruce Strand
There were three recent state champions among the four semifinalists in Class 1A and two of them, Maranatha Academy and Ada-Borup, emerged from the fray with a chance to add what will be the third state crown for either of them.
Top-seeded Maranatha, champions in 2011 and 2012, raced to a 76-69 win over Minneota, the 2013 state champion, leading by 24 at one point.
No. 2 seeded Ada-Borup, champions in 2008 and 2009, and playing in their eighth tournament in 10 years, pulled out a harrowing 54-52 win over unseeded Lyle-Austin Pacelli after trailing by 10 in the second half.
"We are very excited to be in the finals and they are a really good team," said Ada-Borup's Miki Lee, who got the game-winning basket against Lyle-Pacelli. "It's going to be a great game."
Ada-Borup, the state's lone unbeaten team at 31-0, and Maranatha (29-3), will duel in the finals Saturday at noon at Williams Arena.
Maranatha has lost only to Class 3A and 4A teams, and beat three of the seeded state tournament teams during the regular season: Minneota 91-75, Lyle-Pacelli 90-89 and Mountain Iron-Buhl 98-85.
"Ada-Borup is a very disciplined team. We have scouted them many times," said Chris Buerman, Maranatha coach. "They are a highly-skilled team."
MARANATHA CHRISTIAN 76, MINNEOTA 69
Maranatha Christian built a 24-point lead and turned back Minneota 76-69 in a game of runs, led by Lexi Lee with 28 points and Alaina Jarnot with 17 points and eight of the team's 14 steals.
Lee and Jarnot were both subs on the 2012 state championship game. The last two years, they've been starters but lost in the first round of state.
"Yeah, finally! It feels pretty good," said Lee about staying alive in the tournament.
Lee, averaging 22 points, notched her 2,000th on a layup that gave MCA a 31-23 lead. She has 2,020 points heading into her final prep game.
"Oh, it was good, but I just wanted to win today, that's all that mattered," said the slender 5-foot-8 guard who shot 11-for-25 overall, 4-for-11 on three's. She got a layup in the second half on a slick behind-the-back pass from Jarnot.
Ashley Lewis added 14 points and Jaclyn Jarnot 13 while snagging eight rebounds.
Maranatha earned a 29-20 turnover edge and outscored the Vikings 26-13 in points off turnovers. Minneota had a 50-41 rebound edge and a slight 40-38 edge in points in the paint.
"Despite everybody looking at the points, we're a defensive team," said coach Chris Buerman. "We create so many turnovers that get us easy looks. We always want to be above 30 (turnovers). We moved ball really good and stayed in our defensive assignments, which helped in dropping back to help."
Maranatha led 40-33 at halftime and expanded that to 24 at 72-48 with seven minutes left. Minneota had one more got the final margin into single digits in the last 40 seconds.
"Their pressure hurt us. I think if we would have handled the pressure better the first half we night have won," said Minneota forward Emily Stienessen.
For Minneota, the two veterans of the 2013 state championship team, Taylor Reiss and Stienessen, scored 21 points each. Reiss snagged 17 rebounds while hitting 10 of 12 shots on the blocks. Stienessen, who struggled with her shot much of her senior year "but it finally came back at the end," sank six of 13 from 3-point range. (She also had 23 points against Browerville.) LeAnn Jerzak, senior guard, added 14 points for the Vikings.
Reiss played in eight state tournaments, four each in volleyball and basketball, making all-tournament in most of them. Stienessen joined her in four state basketball tournaments. They were not able to pick up another title but got second last year and have a chance for third this year.
"It's been a lot of fun playing with different seniors and different groups," said Reiss "We have had a great time with this group. Hopefully we can build off this loss and win tomorrow."
Minneota would have had a third starter from the 2013 team this year but senior Payton Boerboom missed the season with a shoulder injury. "When she found out this year she couldn't play, that really hurt us," said Stienessen.
Reiss, a finalist for both Miss Basketball and Miss Volleyball, is averaging 27 points and 13 rebounds and shooting 70.6 percent (353-for-500). She will break the state record for shooting percentage held by Blue Earth Area's Lauran Weness, .684 in 2001-02, according to extensive lists of state records kept by Matt Pederson of Starbuck.
And she scored her 3,000th point during the win over Browerville.
"That's a big accomplishment. Winning it all would have felt better than the 3,000 points," said Reiss.
ADA BORUP 54, LYLE-PACELLI 52
Ada-Borup, the state's lone unbeaten team, appeared on the verge of its first loss, trailing Lyle-Pacelli 45-35 with seven minutes left, and 52-49 with just over a minute left.
But the Cougars pulled out a 54-52 win when Miki Lee muscled up on the blocks with a defender on her back for the game-winner, and Lyle-Pacelli, deadly from 3-point range all game, missed one at the horn.
"Miki went up strong. She wasn't going to be denied," said coach David Smart. "That's a great way to end the game."
Haley Poehler scored 17 points, eight of them in a 12-0 run that erased Lyle-Pacelli's 43-35 lead. Lee scored 15 points and Lexi Merkens 13 points, including a 3-pointer that tied the score 52-52 with 1:09 left. All three are seniors in their third state tournament; they were runners-up in 10th grade and lost in the first round to Goodhue last year.
"We've gone to eight state tournaments in 10 years, and that was the first time we've lost in the first round," said Smart. "That has been one of our biggest motivators this year. The seniors have reminded everybody, remember how it ended last year."
It was a heart-breaker for Lyle-Pacelli (26-4), making its first state appearance as a co-op. Pacelli by itself went to state three times (1979-80-81) and Lyle never went. But this group is led by underclassmen with a good chance to return.
Freshman guard Courtney Walter nailed 24 points for the Athletics, hitting five of seven 3-pointers, including one at the halftime horn for a 28-35 lead. Junior forward Sarah Holtz notched 16 points including two baskets in a row that gave the Athletics a 52-49 lead. The third-leading scorer is junior guard Courtney Walter, who had sox points on two 3-pointers.
"Great ball team. I told the girls their mascot name is pretty appropriate because they are very athletic," said Smart, about Lyle-Pacelli. "They were tough to stop. That 11 (Holtz) would get a head of steam and we thought we'd cut her off and she would pull up for that floater. And three and 23 (Courtney and Brooke Walter), unbelievable shooters. We thought we were closing out pretty well on them, and they'd just keep backing up, shoot from 22 or 24 instead of 20."
The Athletics led by 45-35 when Smart called a time-out and told his team "if we keep trading baskets, it will soon be too late, so we've got to make some stops."
Ada-Borup got five points in one trip down the floor as Lee struck for a three-point play inside and Poehler stole the inbounds pass and scored, making it 45-40. Lyle-Pacelli coach Justin Morris incurred a tech foul for arguing for a foul and Merkens made two free shots. Then Poehler drilled two straight 3-pointers to complete a 12-0 run and give the Cougars 47-45 lead.
But L-P got the lead back on another 3-pointer by Brooke Walter, 48-47, and Holtz scored twice to make it 52-49. The Athletics had the ball but turned it over trying to get it inside, and Merkens drilled the 3-pointer that tied it. Then Holtz had a chance to regain the lead when she got a nice pass from Brooke Walters on the blocks but put it up too hard and Merkens rebounded with 46 seconds left.
It came down to the final 10 seconds when Lee, on the blocks, got the ball from Merkens in the corner, backed into her defender, spun, and banked it in.
"They were playing really good defense on me and not letting me go baseline," said Lee. "Right at the end, I just used my power and put it up."
In the final seconds, Brooke Walter had the ball but was guard so she whipped it to her sister at the top of the key. Courtney Walter let fly and the ball glanced off the front rim.
Top-ranked Sauk Centre fights off Minnehaha, will face No. 2 Dover-Eyota for 2A championship
by Bruce Strand
Sauk Centre and Dover-Eyota, both looking for their first state championship, marched into the Class 2A finals Friday, living up to their billing as the No. 1 and 2 seeds.
The Sauk Centre Mainstreeters ground out a 54-49 win over No. 4 Minnehaha Academy with 22-for-25 free throw shooting to advance to their second state title game in five trips to state. Their 2012 team was runner-up to Providence Academy.
The Dover-Eyota Eagles, in their first-ever state appearance, thumped a young, unseeded Roseau squad 94-61 behind 30 points by Madison Nelson.
The deep, balanced, and smallish Mainstreeters (31-1) will take on the tall, rambling, aggressive Eagles (30-2) Saturday at 2 p.m. at Williams Arena. They were also ranked 1-2 after the regular season by Minnesota Basketball News.
'"They're definitely more of a three-point shooting team than they are an inside team," noted the 6-foot-1 Nelson, "so that will be a challenge. We've got to have a lot of girls guarding those."
"We need to play good defense against Sauk Centre," said Eagles coach Brian Harris. "They are the No. 1 ranked team in the state. But we've got a lot of confidence going."
Roseau (25-7) faces Minnehaha Academy (26-5) for third place at noon at Concordia-St. Paul.
SAUK CENTRE 54, MINNEHAHA ACADEMY 49
Sauk Centre's perennially strong basketball program got a nice boost last summer when the Thiesen family moved in, landing senior Mauren and freshman Maesyn in the Mainstreeters' laps.
The Thiesen sisters sparked Sauk Centre's 54-49 victory over Minnehaha Academy as Mauren scored all 14 of her points in the first half and Maesyn hit eight of her 12 in the second half. It was the Mainstreeters 29th straight win.
Sauk Centre, with five players averaging nine-plus points, also had Madison Moritz with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. The Mainstreeters made 22 of 25 free shots, including two each by Maesyn Thiesen and Moritz in the final minute as they held off the Redhawks.
Sarah Kaminski dropped in 14 points and snagged six rebounds for Minnehaha Academy (26-5). Gracia Gilreath scored 12 points without missing a shot (4-for-4 from the field and the line). Lilly Thomey snagged 11 rebounds while scoring four points.
When the Thiesen girls moved in, coach Scott Bergman said, they "were just two more players to add to the mix" of a very deep team. "We only played eight tonight," he said, "but during the season we're playing 10 to 12. They play great defense, they pass the ball well, so certainly they fit right in."
Mauren was close to 1,000 points at Becker and has surpassed that milestone while wearing Sauk Centre's maroon. Maesyn, who started at Becker as an eighth-grader, is the Mainstreet point guard while her older sister is the first guard off the bench. Both are good 3-point shooters and average just under 10 points.
And both now have a chance to achieve what their mother, Heather Gilles, did in high school. She was one of the leaders of the Storden-Jeffers team that won the 1989 Class A championship and was runner-up in 1988. The girls also have two aunts who played, all coached by their father and the Thiesens' grandfather, Gary Gilles.
"They are very happy that we are given the same opportunity that they had," said Mauren. "This is where we want to be."
When their dad's career took them to Sauk Centre, the girls were "very excited" to join the Mainstreeters, Mauren said. "We have watched Sauk Centre for years and knew that they have a good program and good coaches." Maesyn was an AAU teammate of fellow Streeter freshman starter Kelsie Peschel, so the girls weren't strangers to the Mainstreeters.
Mauren Thiesen shot 4-for-5 on three-pointers in the first half, which ended with Sauk Centre in a 31-29 lead.
Sauk led 48-43 and had the ball when Minnehaha ramped up defensive pressure leading to three straight turnovers. Gilreath drove for a 3-point play off a steal by Thomey. The Redhawks made another steal but missed the layup, and Moritz made two free shots on the other end for a 50-46 lead. Minnehaha got a 3-pointer by Megan Thurow, pulling within 50-49, then put a double-team on Moritz, who fell and was called for traveling. The Redhawks had a chance to take the lead.
But Maesyn Thiesen swiped the ball, got fouled and made two free shots with 53 seconds left. In the time remaining, Kaminski put up three long 3-pointers that missed and Moritz and made two clinching free shots with 11.6 seconds to go.
"Points were hard to come by, but their defense had a lot to do with that," said Bergman. "I think both teams felt that way … They have a couple guards who are very physical. I don't think we've seen that before."
STREETER GUARD IS HAWKEYE FAN
Kelsie Peschel had her eye on the NCAA tournament Friday also. Her sister Kali Peschel, who led the Mainstreeters to the state finals in 2012, plays for the Iowa Hawkeyes, who opened with a 75-67 win over American University. Kali is averaging 4.8 points off the bench, and had two points in 15 minutes against American.
"We were both pumped. The whole family was pumped," said Kelsie, a freshman guard who had five points and five rebounds in the win over Minnehaha Academy. "We called and texted all day. Kali is going to be pretty happy for us."
DOVER-EYOTA 94, ROSEAU 61
Dover-Eyota could not shake off Roseau's Borowicz sisters in the first half, but wore them out in the second half and rolled to a 94-61 victory.
All game, the Eagles' height advantage, and athletic ability, was overwhelming.
Madison Nelson, 6-foot-1 junior guard, poured in 30 points with penetrations and two 3-pointers while snagging 16 rebounds. Brandi Blattner, 5-foot-11 senior point guard, delivered 22 points and 14 rebounds. Megan Hintz, 6-foot-1 junior center, was good for 21 more on 8-for-11 shooting, plus seven rebounds. Danielle Higgins, 5-foot-9 senior forward, added nine points.
"They are what I call my big four and they have done a fabulous job all year," said coach Brian Harris.
Roseau sophomore guard Kiley Borowicz scored 25 points and her eighth-grade sister Kacie added 18 points. Nobody else had more than five for the Rams (25-7). In the first half, Kiley had 18 points and Kacie 12 as the Rams hung as close as 42-35 before falling back 46-35 at the break. They were not as effective in the second half.
"They are both amazing. They both drive great," said Nelson. "They both do not act like they are five-six, and 10th- and eighth-graders."
"I tell you what, they can really score," said Harris. "Our game plan was to wear them out. I think they were worn out at the end of the game. They went right with us in the first half, they put up 30 of their 35."
The Eagles, who were averaging 71 points coming into the state tournament, had their second-highest total of the season. They've had games of 89, 90 and 100 points against much-lesser opponents.
Roseau, with the Borowicz sisters back in tandem for two more years, and their third-best player Amelia Johnson for one more year, will have a good chance to make the long southern trip again.
"It's very exciting to be here," said coach Kelsey Didricksen. "We need to step up and take pride in the third-place game tomorrow. We weren't necessarily supposed to be here, so third place should feel like a great accomplishment. We've got a lot of young girls and hopefully this has been an inspirational trip to want to get back down here."
Roseau's third state trip — the others were 1974 and 2000 — was a big deal in hockey-mad Roseau, Didkricksen said, especially when they upset No. 3 seed Esko in the first round to earn a spot in the televised semifinals.
"They were showing our game in the movie theatre tonight, instead of the movie," she reported with a smile.
Thursday, March 19
Class AAAA - semi-finals
It's on: Hopkins will duel Eastview for state big-school championship
Madison Guebert of Eastview bolts past Lizzy Heil of STMA on the way to a layup. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
By Bruce Strand
The much-anticipated state Class 4A championship duel between Hopkins and Eastview, who've won the last four titles between them, and are ranked one-two, head and shoulders above the rest of the field, will happen Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. at Williams Arena.
"That's what we have been writing on the board every day at practice, before every game — to play in the state championship game, 8 p.m., March 21," said Brian Cosgriff, Hopkins coach, after his Royals shredded Shakopee 64-33 in the semifinals Thursday evening at Williams Arena.
Eastview, the defending state champion, shut down No. 3 ranked St. Michael-Albertville 48-30 in the other semifinal, completing the match-up between two teams who have lost only to each other with the rubber game deciding who'll be the final No. 1.
"I am excited. It will be a great game," said Sarah Trammel, Eastview center, looking forward to her final high school game before going on to the Big Ten with Michigan. "It's going to be about who wants it more, who comes in with the most heart and wants to play the hardest."
Hopkins is 29-1 and Eastview 30-1. Eastview won the first meeting 75-70 on Dec. 6 and Hopkins won round two 68-55 on Dec. 31.
"After the state finals, whatever happens, happens," said Cosgriff. "Either way, it's been a great year."
Hopkins captured state championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013 before falling to Eden Prairie last year. Despite that setback, Hopkins remains the state's premier program of the last 15 years with nine state trips, five championships and an incredible 23-3 record in 10 state tournaments under Cosgriff. But Eastview has been just as good the last two years. It should be a great show.
HOPKINS 64, SHAKOPEE 33
The Hopkins Royals appear to be a far better team in March than in December, if you go by their scores against Shakopee. The Royals beat the Sabres 67-55 on Dec. 2, and overwhelmed them 64-33 in the state semifinals Thursday evening at Williams Arena.
One reason for their dominance is the all-out play they displayed, their laser-quick reactions to every bounce of the ball, their constant in-your-face defense, their manic approach to each trip down both ends of the floor.
"We've been doing that for years," said Cosgriff, in answer to a question about the team's torrid tempo. "That's part of the culture we try to create, to play hard like that, every day in open gym, every day at Breakfast Club in the summer, every day of the season. We feel if you play hard every day, you've got a shot, and if you don't play hard, you don't have a shot, not against the teams that we play."
TT Starks, senior guard signed by Iowa State, notched 16 points, shooting 4-for-5 from the floor and 8-for-9 from the line. Also scoring 16 was junior guard Nia Hollie on 7-for-14 shooting. Senior guard Vinia Livingston was next with nine points.
The Royals' ability to penetrate helped them make 22 of 43 shots (51 percent) along with 18-for-30 at the line. They held Shakopee to 13-for-48 from the floor and out rebounded the Sabres 37-26.
North Carolina recruit Taylor Koenen, a 6-foot-2 junior, led Shakopee (22-9) with 12 points and six rebounds. Nobody else had more than six points.
EASTVIEW 48 ST. MICHAEL-ALBERTVILLE 30
The No. 2 ranked team, Eastview, overwhelmed the No. 3 ranked team, St. Michael-Albertville, with a smothering defense in the second half and cruised into the finals with a 48-30 win.
"It was tied at halftime so it's a zero zero game," said Madison Guebert, senior guard, "and we just came out with lot of defensive intensity in the second half. That was the message at halftime."
Guebert, a Miss Basketball finalist signed by South Dakota State, had only seven points, but it hardly mattered as the Lightning held STMA, which was averaging 71 points, to just 11 field goals in 41 attempts and only nine points in the entire second half.
Meanwhile, the big girls gave the Lightning plenty of scoring punch with 20 points by 6-foot-2 Samantha Trammel and 16 by 6-foot sophomore Rachel Ranke.
STMA (26-4) was missing its second-leading scorer, swift sophomore Rae Johnson, with illness, which impeded its ability to run the floor and turn steals into points.
The Knights still led by as much as 17-11 in the first half, which ended 21-21. The Knights were 3-for-5 on 3-pointers with Bobbi Brendefur connecting twice and Lizzi Heil once.
But Eastview tightened the clamps defensively in the second half, and the Knights, after a 9-for-18 first half, were only 3-for-23 in the last 18 minutes. They were seldom able to penetrate and when they did they ran into the imposing Trammel and Ranke. Trammel was credited with three blocked shots, but it seemed like more, and she made it almost impossible to get a layup. The Knights needed their 3-point shot badly but even from long range didn't get open looks in the second half as they went 1-for-6.
"You gotta pick it up, you gotta play your game, you can't get pressured into another team's style of play," said Trammel, relating what the halftime message was. About her own contribution, she said, "We played team defense, and everybody has to do their part, and my part is by the rim." She laughed, "I've got a long wingspan."
Brendefur, senior guard playing in her fourth state tournament, led STMA with 13 points. Lizzy Heil was next with seven. Sydney Tracy, standout junior 5-foot-11 guard averaging 11.4 points, was held to two points as she kept getting drives rejected by Trammel.
The Knights will close with a third-place game against Shakopee on Saturday.
Class AAA - semi-finals
Marshall knocks off a No. 1 again, earns 3A finals rematch with Park Center
by Bruce Strand
The Marshall Tigers were in the same position as they were in last year's state semifinals, and succeeded just like last year. That puts them in the same situation in the finals, too, and the Tigers hope they can reverse last year's outcome.
The No. 4 seeded Tigers knocked off top-ranked, top-seeded Orono 55-48 on Thursday at Williams Arena, similar to 2014 when they beat top-ranked, top-seeded Fergus Falls in the semifinals.
"We were in this position last year. We were a three seed and we played Fergus Falls and they had the identical record that Orono had," said Marshall coach Dan Westby. "So, no, I wouldn't say we were underdogs, but our kids knew it was gonna be a tough game."
The Tigers advanced to the finals against Park Center for the second straight year. The Pirates foiled Kasson-Mantorville 47-37 in the other semifinal Thursday.
The Tigers (29-2) and Pirates (24-7) will duel Saturday, 6 p.m., at the same site, Williams Arena.
Last year, Marshall had several chances to nail down a victory but lost in triple overtime to the Pirates.
"It's a huge deal for us," said Sarah Buysse, senior point guard. "We have been looking forward to this all year, trying to get back in the state championship game and redeem ourselves from last year. It took a lot of work and dedication, but we are ready."
Park Center coach Chris VanderHyde said he doesn't look at his team being the defending champion for this matchup.
"This year's title is up for grabs. Last year's is over," said VanderHyde. "I know Marshall is driven, because of what happened last year. But we are driven, too. We want to win just as bad as anybody."
MARSHALL 55, ORONO 48
The Tigers dominated the first half 35-20 and fought off Orono down the stretch for a 55-48 victory after the lead dwindled to as small as three points.
"It would have been really easy to panic," said Marah Mulso, "but we just kept telling each other to stay calm, and we had to rely on each other to keep the lead. We came out really strong in the first half, and they came out with a lot of momentum in the second half."
The Tigers stayed four points ahead as they got two clutch free shots each from Mulso and Buysse in the final minute and did a stellar job protecting the ball in the last two minutes.
"Orono really stepped up the defensive pressure in the second half," said Westby. "They scratched and clawed. We couldn't even get an inbounds pass for a while. They're a great team. But our kids held on."
Marshall, which holds opponents to a paltry 38 points per game, and 40 per game in section and state so far, held Orono 23 points below their average.
They also made 19 of 21 free shots.
"That's one thing we didn't do down the stretch last year in the state finals," said Westby. "We missed some. We missed a key one-and-one at the end. So it was good to see our kids come back and reverse that."
Buysse notched 13 points, eight rebounds and one huge steal with 18 seconds left. Mulso supplied 11 points, Callie Graff 10, Morgan Saugstad nine and Lexi Saugstad eight in a supremely balanced effort. Gabby Hess had the other four.
Orono's Megham Mandel, nimble 6-foot-4 center who towered above the modest-sized Tigers, scored 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting, although the Tigers held her to five rebounds, and out rebounded the Spartans 36-23. An alert passer, Mandel also made four assists. Danielle Jorgenson scored nine points and Rachel Heussner eight, with seven rebounds.
"That was a very difficult matchup for us," said Westby about Mandel. "We were giving up four to six inches. Morgan Saugstad had the assignment, and we had to give her a lot of help."
The Tigers' big first half was led by Callie Graff scoring all 10 of her points without missing a shot (2-for-2 with a 3-pointer, and 5-for-5 free shots). Mulso added nine points. Lexi Saugstad capped it off with a nice spin move for a soft jumper from the baseline at the horn that made it 35-20. Orono shot just 8-for-24.
In the second half, Orono quickly pulled within 37-34, forcing several turnovers while their shooters heated up. Jorgenson, their point guard, did a great job, Westby noted, of preventing Buysse from getting the ball, the whole half, keying their rally.
Marshall, unfazed, scored six straight points, capped by Hess driving for a contested layup after making a steal on the other end, making it 43-34.
Orono kept coming and trimmed the lead to four, twice. Marshall, with a 50-46 lead and two minutes left, deftly worked the ball around for over a minute, and Orono had to foul them four times before Marshall finally went to the line with 50 seconds left, with Mulso making both for a 52-46 lead.
Orono then missed a three-pointer and Morgan Saugstad rebounded. She was quickly fouled but missed the free shot. Orono's Jorgenson dashed coast to coast to make it 52-48 with 29 seconds left. Then Orono put a good double team on Mulso and she lost the ball out of bounds with 26 seconds left.
However, Buysse intercepted a pass with 18 seconds left, got fouled and made both shots for a 54-48 lead.
"We always practice where you should be on defense, being in the right place at the right time," said Buysse. "All I remember is seeing her fumble the ball, and then I just grabbed it. And I knew they would foul me so I held the ball tight."
So Marshall held on for a chance to add a title to the back-to-backs the Tigers won in 2001 and 2002.
PARK CENTER 47, KASSON-MANTORVILLE 37
Hannah Schaub, who missed last year's state tournament with a knee injury, was Park Center's rudder as they defeated Kasson-Mantorville 47-37, pulling away from a close game in the last seven minutes.
"It was so sweet last year, but being able to play this year, that's the best thing ever," beamed the senior point guard. "I'm so happy. And it's against Marshall again! Deja vu!"
Schaub contributed 12 points and six rebounds, while making only two turnovers.
"Hannah wanted to put her stamp on the state tournament because she wasn't in it last year," said VanderHyde. "So today she did that. She was nervous the other night (against Richfield) but today she played like her normal self."
The score was tied at 32 before the Pirates embarked on a 12-2 run for a 44-34 lead with 3:08 left. Hannah Schaub started it with two free shots and Feyisayo Ayobamidelle stole the ball, and Danielle Schaub hit a jumper for a 36-32 lead. Mikayla Hayes had six of the 12 points including jumper in the lane and then a banked-in 3-pointer that made it 42-34.
"We came out of a time out and we trapped them a little bit and went on a nice run," said VanderHyde about the decisive run, "and we could breathe a little easier. But every time we extended a lead, they always came back. They are a great team and they will be here next year, too, probably."
Ann Simonet, sophomore guard, tallied 11 points. Ayobamidele made six steals while scoring five points. Pirate 6-foot-1 sophomore post Mikayla Hayes had nine points and seven rebounds while getting into foul trouble guarding K-M's outstanding soph Kristin Scott.
Scott, 6-foot-2 center, delivered 19 points, shooting 8-for-15, while soaring for 18 rebounds. Maddie Worden was next with eight points and seven rebounds.
K-M dominated the boards 46-25. But the rest of the team shot 8-for-29, and the Ko-Mets suffered 24 turnovers while taking it back only 10 times.
CLASS A - quarterfinals
Taylor Reiss scores 3,000th point as Minneota joins Maranatha, Ada-Borup and Lyle-Pacelli in Class 1A semi's
When Minneota won the Class 1A championship two years ago, two of their three all-tournament picks were sophomores: Taylor Reiss and Emily Steinessen.
With those two leading the way, and with Reiss emerging as one of the best all-around athletes in the state, the Vikings were likely contenders for one or two more titles. Minneota reached the finals again last year but lost to Win-E-Mac.
On Thursday, the Vikings, Section 3A champs for the fifth straight year, kept their hopes alive for another crown by winning a thriller over Browerville 69-68.
Reiss, a Miss Basketball finalist, scored her 3,000th career point, and Stienessen led with 23 points, at Mariucci Arena.
Minneota (28-4), seeded fifth, will take on top-seeded Maranatha Christian Academy (28-3) in the semifinals Friday at noon at Williams Arena, followed by the Ada-Borup (30-0), the No. 2 seed and the state's lone unbeaten, against Lyle-Pacelli (26-3) at 2 p.m.
Maranatha turned back Stephen-Argyle 65-50, Ada-Borup thumped Springfield 71-53 and Lyle-Pacelli knocked out No. 3 seed Mountan Iron-Buhl 66-47.
MARANATHA CHRISTIAN 65, STEPHEN-ARGYLE 50
Top-seeded Maranatha Christian Academy started with a 19-2 run and rolled to a 65-50 victory over Stephen-Argyle, the team that ousted the defending champion, Win-E-Mac, in sectionals.
The Mustangs' smothering defense forced Stephen-Argyle into 12 turnovers during that opening run and 28 in the game.
Senior guard Lexi Lee scored 18 points and made six steals, leading the victory that ended a string of two straight one-and-done's in her last two state tournaments. She helped MCA win state as a ninth-grader in 2012.
Jaclyn Jarnot scored nine points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Alaina Jarnot tallied 12 points and Ashley Lewis and Jesse Meyen 10 apiece. Lewis made four steals.
Maranatha didn't shoot particularly well — 25-for-78 (32 percent), including 5-for-24 on three's — and got out rebounded 54-50. But Stephen-Arglye shot even worse at 19-for-63 (30 percent) and had the 28-15 turnover disadvantage.
Stephen-Argyle made its first state trip and finished 23-6.
Leanna Haugen had a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Storm. Autumn Thompson scored 18 points.
ADA-BORUP 71, SPRINGFIELD 53
Mike Lee netted 21 points and Morgan Miller 15 as Ada-Borup shot 57 percent and cruised past Springfield 71-53 for their 30th straight win.
The Cougars sank 25 of 36 shots inside the arc and 3-of-13 from long range. They knocked down 12 of 14 at the line, too, and dominated the rebounds 34-16.
Lee, senior forward, shot 7-for-9 from the floor and 7-for-7 at the line. Miller, junior forward, tallest on the team at 5-foot-11, was 6-for-9 and 3-for-3. Haley Poehler, senior forward, aded 13 points, hitting 6-of-10, and grabbed nine rebounds.
Vishe Rabb, sophomore guard, poured in 24 points for Springfield, hitting 12 of 20 shots while grabbing six rebounds and making five steals. Joeli Arnoldi added 12 points and Jenny Thoreson 10 for the Tigers, who finished 24-5.
MINNEOTA 69, BROWERVILLE 68
Early in the second half, Taylor Reiss became the 13th Minnesota girl to score 3,000 points, but there was much more drama ahead.
Reiss, who despite her basketball prowess will play college volleyball at South Dakota State, had a relatively quiet game otherwise. The 5-foot-10 forward notched 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking five shots.
Minneota shot 11-for-17 on three-point shots and rallied from 11 points down with 13:53 left to pull it out. Steinessen, 5-foot-7 forward, led Minneota with 23 points. Leann Jerzak added 14.
In the tense final minute, Michelle Jerzak pulled Minneota into a 65-65 tie with a jump shot. Crystal Pearson made one of two free shots to give Browerville a 66-65 lead. Meghan Travis got the lead back for Minneota with a jump shot, and Leann Jerzak made two free shots with 15 seconds left for a 68-65 lead.
Paige Callahan hit two free shots for Browerville, then rebounded when Leann Jerzak missed a free shot. Browerville had a chance to win on a Pearson jump shot, but it just missed as time ran out.
Quinn Kirchner, sophomore guard, poured in 25 points for Browerville, shooting 9-for-17 from the field, with Pearson adding 18 and Kale Knutson 15.
The Tigers, who won their section final 52-50 over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, came up short in their second straight nail-biter and finished 28-2.
Minneota out-rebounded Browerville 37 to 21, but the Tigers kept it close with pressure defense leading to a 22-8 turnover edge.
LYLE-AUSTIN PACELLI 66, MOUNTAIN IRON-BUHL 47
Lyle-Pacelli, in its first state tournament game as a co-op (Pacelli had one state trip), made an impressive debut, scuttling No. 3 seed Mountain Iron-Buhl 66-47 with some hot shooting and strong offensive rebounding. The Rangers were playing in their fifth straight tournament with several veterans.
The Athletics scored the last 13 points of the first half, capped by Brooke Walter's 3-pointer, for a 36-22 lead, largely due to a 24-9 rebound edge with 14 offensive rebounds.
Madison Truckenmiller notched 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Sarah Holtz 15 points and 11 rebounds, for double-doubles in their first state game. Bethany Strouf added 15 points and Walter 13.
Wednesday, March 18
Defending 3A champion Park Center advances along with Kasson-Mantorville
By Bruce Strand
Being the defending state champion is fun but not easy. That's what the Park Center Pirates know after entering the state tournament with seven losses despite having everyone back but their best player.
"We've known all year we are going to get everybody's best effort, and we have to play every single game as hard as we can," said Hannah Schaub. "We've lost some games we didn't want to lose, but I think playing all the 4A teams we do has really helped us."
The Pirates (23-7) got past a surging Richfield team 72-57 in the Class 3A quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon at Marriucci Arena.
Seeded second behind Orono despite being defending champs, Park Center will face unseeded Kasson-Mantorville (29-2) in the semifinals on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Williams Arena. The first semifinal will pit Orono (29-1) against No. 4 Marshall (28-2) at noon.
Kasson-Mantorville had to overcome the loss of point guard and big scorer Cori Kennedy with a knee injury just 1:30 into the game. The Ko-Mets still beat No. 3 New Prague 62-55.
Park Center won a triple-overtime championship game over Marshall in 2014, and everyone who played in the overtimes is back. They graduated their star player, Cayla McMorris, who's now with the Wisconsin Badgers. McMorris fouled out in the championship game last year.
Park Center's seven losses all came against 4A teams, among them to three of the top five ranked 4A teams (Hopkins, Minnetonka and Elk River) and state qualifier Centennial.
"We have a team of individuals who work hard to become the best basketball players they are capable of becoming," said coach Chris VanderHyde. "We play a challenging regular season schedule that prepares us for post season play."
PARK CENTER 72, RICHFIELD 57
Park Center stormed to a 39-26 halftime lead and went on to defeat Richfield 72-57 with their typical balance as seven players scored between seven and 15 points.
"The first half we did a good job keeping pressure on them," said VanderHyde, "and got some easy baskets and put them on their heels."
Park Center didn't shoot particularly well in that first half (11-for-39) but opened a big lead anyway led by center Mikayla Hayes, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first 18 minutes, shooting just 3-for-12 under the hoop but 5-for-6 at the line.
Hayes, 6-foot-1 sophomore, finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. McKenna DuBois added 10 points, Danielle Schaub and Ann Simonet nine points each, Hannah Schaub eight, Camille McCoy seven and Feyisayo Ayobamidele six.
The Pirates shot much better (14-for-28) in the second half and finished 25-for-67 (37 percent) along with a sizzling 8-for-19 on three's, led by Hannah Schaub and DuBois with two each.
Kyla Adams, who had 75 points in three section games, scored 18 points for Richfield and pulled down 18 rebounds. She struggled with her shooting at 7-for-21.
Richfield also got 13 points from Delilah Taylor and 10 each from Kailey Adams and Katrina Mogren. Kyla and Kailey Adams, 5-foot-10 seniors, are twins averaging 17 and 11 points, respectively.
"The Adams sisters are as good as they come. They are big and strong and can really go to the hoop," said VanderHyde.
Richfield had an injury-riddled regular season and was seeded fifth in its section — coach Kesha Ross Bradford said "the seedings were wrong" and they should have been higher — but powered its way to state beating three higher seeds. The Spartans finished 15-15.
"We deserved to be here," said Bradford, adding that four girls are going on to college basketball.
The Spartans shot 18-for-56 (32 percent) against the Pirates and suffered a 21-10 turnover disadvantage. They held their own on rebounds 46-45.
"We could not get in our rhythm today," said Ross. "We didn't get as many shots as we want. And when we made runs at them, they hit some big shots."
KASSON-MANTORVILLE 62, NEW PRAGUE 55
Cori Kennedy, Kasson-Mantorville's acknowledged leader, injured her left knee less than two minutes into the game, but the Ko-Mets pulled together and defeated New Prague 62-55. Their sophomore star, Kristin Scott, led with 23 points.
Kennedy, a 5-foot-4 guard, averages 15.4 points, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals, and is the Ko-Mets 3-point threat with 64 of them for the season.
"We had to deal with adversity a minute thirty into the game, losing our all-state point guard, a coach on the floor and our second-leading scorer," said coach Ryan Haraldson. "There is no way to prepare for that. But Kari Pingel came in and did a great job. She's a senior who's been backing up Cori all year."
Pingel supplied six points, four rebounds and four assists, playing an uncustomary 30 minutes. She bore the brunt of New Prague's pressure and had eight turnovers.
"We had to pick each other up and keep doing what we do well," said Scott, a 6-foot-2 center averaging 16.7 points.
Maddie Worden and Taylor Miller added 10 points each and Payton Suess eight points and 12 rebounds for the Ko-Mets.
Maize Deihl, sophomore guard, led New Prague with 20 points on 8-for-17 shooting. Taylor Hustad added 13 points and three assists and Jess Allar chipped in 11 points and five assists.
New Prague kept it close with defensive pressure leading to a 20 to four turnover edge with 14 steals, led by Deihl with five and Maddie Giesen with four.
Meanwhile, the Trojans got killed on the backboards 42-24 with nobody taller than 5-foot-9 on the court dealing with the 6-foot-2 Scott.
"We knew there'd be mismatches out there," said Scott, who got lob passes from all different directions, and hit 8-for-11 from the field and 7-for-7 from the line. "We worked on that all week."
New Prague's other big edge was free shots, making 18 of 21. That included two by Scott after a technical foul on the New Prague bench for disputing a call, giving K-M a 53-46 lead with 3:22 left.
The Trojans went to the line five more times and made seven of 10, and when Maddie Worden missed two with a 58-55 lead, she wound up getting two rebounds and scoring on the second of those for a 60-55 lead with 39 seconds left.
The Ko-Mets, most of them, were excited to be going on.
"I'm so happy to be in the semifinals," said Scott. "We were all crying in the locker room, we are so happy."
Less happy was Kennedy, who had another kind of cry, in her coach's arms, in the hallway after the interviews were over, leaning on her crutches.
Sauk Centre, Dover-Eyota, Minnehaha Academy, and Roseau Advance to the Semi-finals in Class AA
By Bruce Strand
The Sauk Centre Mainstreeters, who rolled into the state tournament ranked No. 1 and seeded first in Class 2A, lived up to the respect they've been shown Wednesday, turning back Norwood Young America 67-45 in the quarterfinals.
"It puts more pressure on us," said Kelsey Peschel, freshman guard who led the Mainstreeters with 17 points, "but we have to win one game at a time like anybody else."
The Mainstreeters are 30-1 with 28 straight wins, and avenged their lone loss, to New London-Spicer, in the section finals. They are playing in their fifth state tournament and looking for their first championship.
Sauk Centre faces No. 4 seed Minnehaha Academy (26-4) in the semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at Williams Arena, followed by No. 2 Dover-Eyota (29-2) vs. unseeded Roseau (25-6) at 8 p.m.
The Mainstreeters have two seniors, two juniors and two freshmen in the top six. Five of those average 9.0 to 9.8 points and the other 7.2.
Josh Thurow, Minnehaha Academy coach, said he was "scribbling and scribbling" while watching the Mainstreeters play. "They can do a lot of things," he said. "I'll probably use about eight different defenses."
Minnehaha Academy advanced with a 49-38 win over Annandale, while Dover-Eyota outlasted Fairmont 62-53 and Roseau tripped No. 3 seed Esko 50-37.
Literary side-note: If you don't know why Sauk Centre is called the "Mainstreeters," check out the classic small-town novel "Main Street" by their homeboy Sinclair Lewis at your local library.
SAUK CENTRE 67, NORWOOD-YOUNG AMERICA 45
The Sauk Centre Mainstreeters make sure they can score every which way and all around the dial. This versatility was on display in a 67-45 victory over Norwood Young-America in the state opener.
Kelsey Peschel led with 17 points, with Jill Klaphake adding 11, Madison Greenwaldt 10, Madison Moritz nine and Mauren Thiesen eight — each of them contributing to the team's torrid 10-for-23 slate from the 3-point line.
"We can score in a variety of ways and three-pointers is one of them, yes," said coach Scott Bergman. "We have a lot of girls who can make them."
No kidding. The Mainstreeters have made 290 trifecta's in 31 games, sinking just over 33 percent.
The Mainstreeters can work the ball around, run down the clock and work for the open layup with aplomb, too. That's what they did the last nine minutes after Peschel nailed their 10th three-pointer for a 52-37 lead. It was pretty much all layups after that.
Outside the arc, Greenwaldt made 3-for-4, Thiesen 2-for-7, Klaphake 2-for-3, Peschel 2-for-5, and Moritz 1-for-1.
The 5-foot-8 Moritz was also a rebounding demon with 16, leading Sauk to a 40-25 advantage.
Defensively, the Mainstreeters were able to limit Kaylie Brazil, NYA's 19-points-per-game point guard, to seven points on 3-for-13 shooting.
"Their point guard, number one. She's very fast," said Peschel was asked who in particular the Mainstreeters were concerned about. "We switched off on her and doubled her sometimes."
Brazil, a 5-foot-4 senior, finished her career with a school record 1,825 points. She's got multiple all-conference awards in basketball, volleyball and softball.
Kali Grimm, freshman guard, led the Raiders with 12 points and six rebounds. Morgan Karnes was next with nine points.
NYA, making only its second state appearance, finished 26-4.
MINNEHAHA ACADEMY 49, ANNANDALE 38
In March basketball, it's not just about winning, it's about comradeship, too.
'I am so excited to have two more games to be with my team," said Minnehaha Academy's Lilly Thorney, after helping the Redhawks beat Annandale 49-38 in the Class 2A quarterfinals. I'm a senior so that means a lot."
The Redhawks, with three senior starters, averted the dreaded season-ending (and career-ending) first-round loss by holding Annandale to 12-for-40 shooting, and 18 points under their season average.
"We expected them to be a 3-point team, but they were more inside today which means it was my job to step up," said Thorney, a 6-foot-1 center, who delivered 10 points and eight rebounds while playing low in that effective 2-3 zone.
Freshman guard Terra Rhoades led Minnehaha with 13 points in a deliberately-paced defensive tussle, shooting 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-5 at the line. Sarah Kaminski, junior guard who leads them with 14 points per game, added nine points.
Rebounds and turnovers were pretty even, but Minnehaha shot a little better than Annandale at 17-for-36 (47 percent).
For Annandale, which finished 23-8, Kamryn D'Heilly led with 15 points, hitting 5-of-9 from both the floor and the line, and snagging seven rebounds. Hannah Spaulding notched nine points, six assists and nine rebounds, and Brittany Reimer scored nine points.
The Redhawks are allowing 42 points per game for the season and just 33.5 in sectionals and state.
"It's fair to say that defense got us here, which is unusual for us because we usually like the up-tempo game," said Thorow, who has taken eight teams to state tournaments in 11 games.
DOVER-EYOTA 62, FAIRMONT 53
Dover-Eyota, its lineup full of tall, long-limbed athletes who really look like basketball players, made a good first impression in its first-ever state tournament game, scuttling Fairmont 62-53.
Brandi Blatter, a rambling 5-foot-11 guard, led with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Madison Nelson, nimble 6-foot-1 junior guard, scored 16 points and snagged nine rebounds. Megan Hintz, strong 6-foot-1 junior center, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked four shots while scoring 10 points.
Dover-Eyota led by as much as 20 at 51-31, but Fairmont gave them a good battle. The Cardinals sneaked as close as 57-51 after a 3-pointer by Emily Kim and a layup by Sierra Schultz 16 seconds later. But the Eagles got two free shots from Danielle Higgins at their end and regained control.
'I think we had the biggest crowd of the day, and they saw two teams who like to go up and down the floor," said D-E coach Brian Harris. "We were up by twenty and they got back to, what, seven? We got some foul trouble, and Fairmont started going to the hoop and made some big shots, but our girls stayed composed and got them at the end."
Dover-Eyota will get to play two more games in its long-awaited first trip to state.
"It's exciting to be here. We know what we can do," said Blattner, who missed playoffs last year with a torn ACL and her team lost in the second round of sectionals. Asked if it was nerve-wracking playing in a big arena like Marriucci for the first time, she said, "Well, yes, but Mayo Civic Arena is pretty big, too!"
Fairmont, which finished 22-7, looked solid in the defeat, led by senior guard Schultz with 22 points on 9-for-20 shooting and seven rebounds; junior center Courtney Mosloski with 17 points and nine rebounds; and senior forward Alex Christianson with six points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Shooting, rebounding and turnover stats were all pretty close, but Dover-Eyota led all the way and always seemed in control.
ROSEAU 50, ESKO 37
The Borowicz sisters combined for 43 points as the Roseau Rams won the matchup of the two northern teams in the 1A tournament 50-37, pulling away at the end in a game that was tied at 31.
Kiley Borowicz, a powerfully-built sophomore guard, scored 23 points, stole the ball six times and grabbed seven rebounds. Kacie Borowicz, spindly eighth-grade guard, added 20 points, six rebounds and three steals. Amelia Johnson, junior forward, added seven points and nine rebounds.
"In the first half, I was just off," said Kiley Borowicz, who actually had 16 points at halftime but shot 4-for-13. "We were up by one and we knew we could win this game. In the second half I got more confidence."
The big problem for Roseau was Esko's 6-foot-6 senior center Molly Trapp. The sisters like to drive, but, as Kacie said, "I definitely had to pull up more in this game." But Kiley went right at Trapp and drew a couple fouls that way in the second half. "That was our plan," said Kacie, "try to get them in foul trouble so we can play our game again."
Trapp, who had only four points, but 14 rebounds and five blocks, appeared fatigued in the second half, and when she fell on successive trips down the floor, she got up slowly each time. The second of those occasions was when she fouled Kiley Borowicz with 5:12 left, her fourth.
Trapp was taken from the game at that point and didn't return. Coach Scott Antonuttico consulted with her briefly, then patted her shoulder as if to say you're done for the night.
"We were down by six at that time and we just needed more shooters in the lineup," said Antonutti.
Tuesday, March 17
Hopkins cruises in state opener; Shakopee, Eastview, STMA also advance in Class 4A
By Bruce Strand
The Hopkins Royals have already won the Lake Conference, the St. Olaf Holiday Hoops Classic, the Hopkins Early Bird Thanksgiving tournament, and Section 6AAAA.
The only remaining detail is pursuing is the school's sixth state championship under coach Brian Cosgriff.
Hopkins (28-1) now has a 22-3 state tournament record in nine appearances under Cosgriff after pummeling Rochester Mayo 62-35 in the state tournament opener on Tuesday at Target Center.
Spartans coach Rich Decker told the Star-Tribune that Hopkins “plays at a different caliber than 99 percent of the teams in the state.”
The top-seeded Royals (28-1) face No. 5 Shakopee (22-8) in the semifinals Thursday at 6 p.m. followed by No. 2 seeded, defending state champion Eastview (29-1) against No. 3 St. Michael-Albertville (26-3) at 8 p.m.
The much-anticipated finals matchup would be Hopkins, state champs in 2011-12-13, against Eastview, the defending champion, each with just one loss — to each other.
But nobody's getting ahead of themselves.
"I'm sure Brian at Hopkins would say the same thing, that every game you play, you need to focus on that team," said Eastview coach Melissa Guebert. "We will have a tough next game, whoever that turns out to be."
Shakopee tipped No. 4 White Bear Lake 62-56, Eastvew drubbed Andover 62-28 and St. Michael-Albertville got past Centennial 66-53.
Nobody was more elated to survive the first round than STMA, which had lost in the first round of state three straight years as an unseeded entrant. A past state champion in both Class 2A and 3A, the Knights picked up their first 4A state win.
"That monkey was getting pretty heavy on my back and on our backs," said coach Kent Hamre. "That first 4A win is huge for our program."
HOPKINS 62, ROCHESTER MAYO 35
Top-ranked and top-seeded Hopkins coaxed 39 turnovers from Mayo and held the Spartans to 13 field goals in a 62-35 rout.
It was a typically balanced effort for Hopkins (28-1) in their 24th straight win. Nia Hollie and Viria Livingston scored 13 pints each, and Evelyn Knox and Ashley Bates 11 points each. Hollie made five assists and blocked three shots, Bates made five of the team's 12 steals.
TT Sparks, Iowa State recruit and one of five Miss Basketball finalists, notched six points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Anna Winter scored 12 points and nobody else had more than six for Mayo (23-6), which upset No. 6 ranked Rochester John Marshall in the section finals and had won 19 of its last 20.
SHAKOPEE 62, WHITE BEAR LAKE 56
Taylor Koenen poured in 26 points, leading the Sabres to a 62-56 win over White Bear Lake in their first state tournament game since 1997.
Koenen, a 6-foot-2 junior guard already committed to North Carolina, shot 10-for-18 from the field and 5-for-10 at the line while grabbing five rebounds.
Caleigh Rodning notched 11 points and seven rebounds, and Mateya Hutton 10 points, six rebounds, and three blocks, for the Sabres (22-8). Haley Zerr added nine points.
The Sabres led by as much as 50-35 before the Bears made a late surge and got as close as 60-55 on a 3-pointer by Kate Brabenec with 16 seconds left.
Junior guard Alison Hinck led White Bear Lake (22-8) with 19 points, shooting 6-for-13 from the field and 6-for-8 at the line, and made four assists. Brianna Karg added 13 points, and Brabenec nine points and seven rebounds.
Shakopee outshot the Bears 49 percent (23-for-47) to 38 percent (19-for-50) from the floor and had a 34-29 rebound edge.
EASTVIEW 62, ANDOVER 28
Eastview sharpshooter Rachel Ranke sank 23 points while the Lightning defense limited Andover to 9-for-43 shooting in a first-round 62-28 rout.
Ranke, 6-foot sophomore guard averaging 13.5 points, nailed nine of 11 shots, including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers. She also snagged seven rebounds.
Senior point guard Madison Guebert chipped in 13 points for Eastview (29-1). Erika Schlosser added eight and Samantha Trammel seven. Trammel had 11 rebounds, leading Eastview to a 38-22 advantage.
Jolene Daninger tallied 12 points for Andover (19-11).
ST. MICHAEL-ALBERTVILLE 66, CENTENNIAL 53
A stream of breakaway layups in the second half broke it open for St. Michael-Albertville as they wore down Centennial 66-53.
Junior forward Sidney Tracy scored 18 points, shooting 1-for-9 in the first half but 5-for-9 in the second. Junior guard Kitri Zezza was a big spark with 15 points and four steals. Senior forward Jordyn Walker delivered 10 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Bobbi Brendefur, a four-year starter winning her first state tourney game in four tries, added nine points.
Zezza had six points in the first half including a sprint to the basket after picking up a loose ball at mid court as the Knights rallied from an 18-12 deficit to a 27-22 lead. In the first minute of the second half, she bombed in a long 3-pointer, then stole the ball and darted to the other end to feed Tracy with a bounce pass for a layup, opening a 32-22 lead.
The Knights got a three-pointer by senior sub Jaymie Hansen for a 42-37 lead, starting a 17-5 run that included two fast break layups by Brendefur, both on passes from Johnson, another by Zezza after a steal, another by Hansen, and another by Tracy on a rebound when Zezza missed. After that blitz it was 56-42.
Centennial, which repeated as section championship despite graduating their top six players, finished 21-9.
The Cougars got 15 points from Jaycie Gerding, senior guard who'll play at Northern State. She shot 6-for-10. Sarah Grow, 6-foot-2 sophomore, added 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, giving her 87 blocks for the season.
Orono and Marshall, 3A powers, each advance
By Bruce Strand
Never before a state contender, and three years removed from a 3-24 season, and playing in only their second state tournament and first since 2001, the Orono Spartans suddenly find themselves the proverbial team to beat.
"That doesn't bother us," said Spartan coach Ellen Wiese about the notoriety of being ranked No. 1 in the regular season and seeded first in the 3A tournament. "We think we are good enough to win it all. Of course, so do a lot of other teams down here."
The Spartans lived up to their billing with a 70-42 conquest of Thief River Falls on Tuesday evening in the quarterfinals at Target Center.
Marshall, last year's runner-up, also advanced with a 65-30 victory over Princeton.
Orono (29-1) and No. 4 seeded Marshall (28-2) will duel in the semifinals at noon Thursday at Williams Arena.
The other semifinalists were to be determined Wednesday morning with No. 2 seeded and defending champion Park Center (22-7) facing Richfield (15-14) and No. 3 New Prague (24-4) taking on Kasson-Mantorville (28-2).
Wiese cites "team chemistry" as the team strength, nothing that the five seniors have played together since third grade. Three of them -- Kiera Nelson, Caitlyn Boyle and Rachel Huessner —were pressed into emergency varsity duty in ninth grade due to injuries to upperclassmen, and endured a 3-24 season.
They have come a long ways, including losing a close game in the section finals last year, and are now as good as anyone in the field. But that doesn't mean they're cool and calm.
"Oh, my gosh, no," said Nelson, the team's leading scorer. "The nerves have been there ever since we won the section finals. Before the game (tonight), we were all shaking. You can't be down here and not feel that … But once the game started, we forgot where we were and just concentrated on each other and winning the game."
Marshall, meanwhile, is elated to still have a chance to exorcise some demons from last year, when they reached the finals and had Park Center on the ropes several times but lost in triple overtime.
"We think about that every day, every practice," winced Sarah Buysse, senior floor leader. "We don't even like to talk about it any more. But we still have a chance to redeem ourselves."
Marshall has a bunch of state volleyball titles, including the last three in a row, with many of the same players and the same coach, Dan Westby, but, like Orono, their current players are looking for their first hoops title. And only one of them will be around for the finals. Marshall did win back-to-back state 3A championships in 2001 and 2002.
"Orono, that's a really tough match," said Westby. "My gosh, they've got 10 players who are all just as good, and then throw in that big kid (Meghan Mandel). Lucky for us, we've got a couple days to try figure it out."
ORONO 70, THIEF RIVER FALLS 42
Kiera Nelson, 5-foot-6 senior guard, led with 18 points, shooting 7-for-12, as the Orono Spartans cruised 70-42 over first-time entrant Thief River Falls.
Meghan Mandel, 6-foot-4 junior post, scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked two shots and made four steals. Rachel Rudd added 11 points and Danielle Jorgenson nine.
Defensively, the Spartans were all over the Prowlers, holding them to 12-for-39 shooting, and earning a 22-10 turnover edge.
Thief River Falls, finishing 26-4, rebounded almost even with the Spartans (33-36) but couldn't get off enough shots to keep up. Meleah Biermaier scored 11 points, Madison Brekke 10 and Kylea Praska eight. Brekke had 10 rebounds and Biermaier eight.
MARSHALL 65, PRINCETON 30
There's only room for one pack of Tigers in this tournament and it's clearly the Marshall Tigers.
Marshall scored the first nine points of the game, with Morgan Saugstad sinking two 3-point shots, and beat the Princeton Tigers 65-30.
Senior point guard Sarah Buysse led with 16 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Saugstad hit 14 points, Marah Mulso 10 and Callie Graff eight.
Marshall tripled Princeton 42-14 in the first half, shooting 6-for-11 on three's. They finished 23-for-49 overall (47 percent) from the field and 7-for-14 at the line while ruling the backboards 42-25.
Marshall allows only 38 points per game and Princeton managed only 30 on 12-for-49 shooting, including 0-for-12 on three's. Anna Oakes scored 11 points and Taylor Laabs 10.
Princeton was making its first state girls basketball appearance and in fact was the first Princeton basketball team at state since the boys in 1932. This fall, Princeton girls soccer and girls tennis each reached state for the first time.
"These girls made some history and let people know who they are," said coach Andy Fenske. "Four or five of them went (to state) in soccer and three in tennis."
Photos in waiting:
If the photos can be reduced, they will be added later or published in the MN BB News issue next week.
Orono point guard Danielle Jorgenson looks for an open teammate while guarded by Thief River Falls' Makayla Peterson (21). (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Brandi Blattner of Dover-Eyota goes up for a layup after getting past Sierra Schrader (32) of Fairmont. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Kelsey Peschel, freshman guard who scored 17 points for Sauk Centre in a 67-45 win over Norwood-Young America, looks for an open teammate. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Marshall point guard Sarah Buysse races for a fast-break layup after stealing the ball against Princeton. She was trailed by Taylor Laabs. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Orono's 6-foot-4 Meghan Mandel calls for the ball while guarded by Marshall's Morgan Saugstad (34) an Lexi Saugstad (33). (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Marshall guard Sarah Buysse rambles up the court while guarded by Orono's Danielle Jorgenson. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
STMA's Kitri Zezza breaks to the hoop for a layup after picking up a loose ball against Centennial during a 66-53 win. Pursuing her was Nikki Clark. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Kirstin Scott (right), who scored 23 points for Kasson-Mantorville, jostles with New Prague's Taylor Hustad while calling for the ball. Kasson-Mantorville won 62-55. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Pacesetter Great Four-State Playoffs!
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Target Center In Minneapolis. Over 850 teams entered this playoff system in 2014.
South Dakota • North Dakota • Iowa • Minnesota
Four players wear their state colors to the Lynx game after playing all day in the Great Four-State Tournament at the Target Center in Minneapolis: Red (South Dakota), Green (North Dakota), Gold (Iowa), and Blue (Minnesota).
Teams are registering now for the Pacesetter Youth Basketball Playoffs in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. See state pages for further information and registration. Over 850 teams played last year.
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Pacesetter Residential Basketball Camps are now being scheduled in all four states featuring Shooting Camps, Championship Basketball Camps, Best of Pacesetter All-Skill Camps, and Combo Camps (shooting and championship).
Coming Soon: Great Four-State Championship dates at Target Center, Top 100 Expo invitations, Varsity MIT invitations, Sweet 16 invitations, and Youth Basketball Summer Tournaments.
MN BB News: The 2014-2015 Season
Minnesota Basketball News is being published in 2014-2015 as 16 weekly pdf issues providing highlights around Minnesota. The pdf issues are being sent via email each Thurs/Fri during the basketball season to all subscribers. State tournament coverage will be provided for many of the games on this website. Stay tuned.
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