Girls BB finalists: Hopkins vs. Minnetonka, Holy Angels vs. Winona
By Bruce Strand
Hopkins will be seeking its seventh state championship and Minnetonka trying to win its first when the Lake Conference powers clash in the Class 4A finals on Saturday at 8 p.m., after blowing past their semifinal opponents Thursday evening.
The Royals (29-2) and Skippers (24-4) are much more closely-matched than usual this year, having split two games in the regular season. Hopkins is far more accustomed to the limelight with 10 state trips to Minnetonka’s two.
Hopkins won a rematch of last year’s championship game 85-67 over Eastview with Nia Hollie pumping in 28 points and Ashley Bates 23. The Royals shot 58 percent (28-for-48) overall and 8-for-15 on three’s while making only six turnovers. Megan Walstad scored 21 for the Lightning. Hopkins, which won last year’s title game 68-60, dethroning Eastview, the 2014 champion, now has a chance to win its fifth crown since 2011.
Minnetonka rolled past White Bear Lake 75-50 with a hot hand from long range, 9-for-17 — especially Grace Allen, who was 4-for-4 on the way to 15 points, and Chrssy Carr, 4-for-8 in totaling 14 points. The Skippers also had Lizzie Odegard with 14 points while Carr led with nine rebounds and Hannah Hedstrom made five assists and scored eight points. Taite Anderson led the Bears (23-9) with 12 points. Nobody else had more than five as Bears struggled (2-for-18 on three’s) after upsetting No. 3 ranked St. Michael-Albertville in the first round
CLASS 3A: Holy Angels, Winona in finals
Holy Angels Academy will have a chance to add a state title to the one it captured in 1975 and Winona will be trying for its first state title in just its second state appearance after winning semifinals on Thursday at Williams Arena. The No. 5 seeded Stars (26-5) and No. 3 Winhawks (25-6) will duel Saturday at 6 p.m.
No Winona basketball team — boys or girls — has won a state title. The last to play for one was the 1914 boys team, which lost in the title game 30-4 to Stillwater.
“We’re going to work our butts off to bring a title back to Winona,” senior Hallee Hoeppner told the Winona Daily Newa. “It doesn’t happen a lot in our town, but we have a lot of support.”
Holy Angels topped Thief River Falls 58-42 in the semifinals, shooting 7-for-12 on three-pointers. Megan Meyer netted 21 points (3-for-3 outside the arc) and Megan Thompson 14 (3-for-4 from long range) for the Stars, who have now reached state finals in three of their four trips. They were runners-up to Minneapolis North in 2005. The Stars fell behind 10-0 at the outset but surged to a 31-23 halftime lead, hitting five three-pointers. Laura Bagwell-Katalinich snagged 16 rebounds while scoring nine points. For the Prowlers (26-4), Kylea Praska netted 14 points and Jenna Tadych and Tiahna Nicholson 10 each.
Winona squeezed past Becker 37-33. The Winhawks the lead 34-33 in a slow-paced game when Danneka Voegili hit a jump shot with 3:02 left and the only scoring in the last three minutes was two free shots by Justine Schultz with :55 left. Eden Nibbelink was high scorer with 11 points along with seven rebounds. For Becker (20-10), highs were eight points each by Alexa Hanowski and Alex Johnson, who hooked 12 rebounds. Winona made just eight fouls and Becker shot only one free throw.
Winona was ranked No. 5 and Holy Angels No. 6 after the regular season. Losing since then were No. 1 Orono (to Hutchinson in the section finals), No. 2 Kasson-Mantorville (to Winona in section finals), No. 3 St. Paul Como Park (to Becker at state) and No. 4 Hutchinson (to Thief River Falls at state).