Girls state champions are Goodhue, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Holy Angels and Minnetonka
By Bruce Strand
The southeastern tip of Minnesota had a bonanza at the state girls basketball tournament with top-ranked Plainview-Elgin-Millville and Goodhue coming through with championships in 2A and 1A while Winona reached the finals in 3A.
Meanwhile, two metro teams garnered long-awaited championships as Minnetonka captured its first one in 4A, chipping into Hopkins’ dynasty, and Holy Angels Academy set a record for longest wait between titles, 41 years, beating Winona in 3A.
Individual notables included Roseau junior Kiley Borowicz, who scored 111 points in leading the young Rams to third place in 2A; Lizzie Odegard, whose 23 rebounds helped Minnetonka slay Hopkins; and Jazryn Thompson, a Maranatha Christian sub who made just two baskets in the tournament but one of them was a buzzer-beater that won the best game of the week against Mountain Iron-Buhl 75-74.
Gooshue, after close call in section, cruises at state in 1A
Top-ranked Goodhue’s season almost ended five games earlier when they had to rally from 17 down in the last seven minutes to beat Lyle-Pacelli 43-42 in their sub-section finals. But after that the Wildcats thumped everyone and captured their first championship.
That run was capped by an 89-64 conquest of Maranatha Christian in the 1A finals, powered by junior Maddie Miller with 28 points and sophomore Sydney Lodermeier with 24.
They had crushed Rushford-Peterson 85-42 in their section finals, then Sacred Heart (28-1) by 77-46 and Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (29-2) by 74-35 at state.
“We’ve played our best basketball of the season all week,” said coach Josh Wieme. “It takes a lot people being on the same page. Their focus has been fantastic, in executing everything we have talked about.”
A week earlier, an unranked Goodhue boys team also reached the state championship game, after pulling a series of upsets, and lost to top-ranked Minneapolis North. The girls were able to take that big final step.
Goodhue made 27 of 43 free shot sin the finals while Maranatha made 18 of 29, as 49 fouls were called and two Mustangs fouled out. Goodue pressed its size and depth advantage on the Mustangs by relentlessly going to the hoop and out rebounded them 57-42.
Goodhue finished 30-4, its losses coming against Class 4A state qualifier Lakeville North, Class 3A’s No. 3 ranked Kasson-Mantorville (twice), and Hayfield (a split). They beat Lyle-Pacelli 75-62 in the regular season along with state semifinalist Mountain Iron-Buhl.
Maranatha has gone to state seven straight years with two titles and now two runner-up finishes. Alaina Jarnot, capping her 2,000-point, 1,000-assist, five-year career with one state title in eighth grade and two silvers, reflected: “I feel so blessed to be here. I had an amazing coach and we had great teams. It was so much fun to play with my sister. I’m really going to miss that next year.”
Jarnot had 18 points and five assists in her final game. Elisa Moore also scored 18 before fouling out and Sami Payne 10. Jaclyn Jarnot, Alaina’s sophomore sib, had six points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. The Jarnots had combined for 64 points in a 91-79 win over Southwest Christian in the quarterfinals.
The Goodhue attack against Maranatha also included McKenze Ryan with 13 points and Taylor Larson with 12.
Miller, whose older sister Mikayla is Goodhue’s all-time spring leader and whose mom, Joy, had the previous record, led the Wildcats with 69 points at state. Lodermeier had 54 and Larson (who was Miss Goodhue last summer) had 31. They made the all-tournament team.
In Maranatha’s 75-74 semi win over Mountain Iron-Buhl, soph reserve guard Jazryn Thompson fouled MIB freshman Allie Negen shooting a three with eight seconds left and Negen made all three free throws for a 74-72 lead, but Thompson atoned — she rebounded after a teammate missed two free shots with 3.2 seconds and banked home the game-winner just before the horn. “I was praying to God that I could do something, after that,” she said.
Plainview-Elgin-Millville succeeds neighbor and arch rival as champ
The closest of Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s 31 wins were 53-48 over Dover-Eyota in the section finals and 87-78 over Roseau in the state semifinals. Otherwise the Bulldogs always won big, capped by their 72-42 conquest of unranked upstart New London-Spicer in the 2A finals.
Their lone loss was 56-55 in overtime to a Class 4A team, Rochester Mayo, with a 23-4 record. After that, P-E-M won its last 24 games, including wins by 13 and 17 points over Dover-Eyota, their arch rival 10 miles down the road — whom they succeeded as state champion.
“They have a Division I point guard who can shoot, pass, lead fast breaks and hurt you when she plays high post, too,” assessed NLS coach Mike Dreier, veteran of 16 state tournaments. “They have really strong inside players who use their bodies real well. They are very well coached. Teams like that usually win state championships.”
Emmaline Polson, 6-2 junior center, led with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Senior point guard Sarah Holt delivered 13 points and seven rebounds, and soph 6-1 center Hayley Dessner added 10 points. All made all-tournament along with senior guard Chloe Holtz.
The championship makes up for two section finals losses, to state runner-up Kasson-Mantorville two years ago and to state champion Dover-Eyota last year by one point in overtime.
At state, the Bulldogs beat Holy Family Catholic 59-38 and Roseau 87-78 before completing the job against NLS.
“This means the world to me,” said Hart, a St. Bonaventue recruit, “especially to beat them (Dover-Eyota) in the section.”
PEM was making its first state trip as a pairing although Elgin-Millville had five state appearances and one title (2005).
New London-Spicer (25-7) beat No. 3 seed Minnehaha Academy and No. 2 Sauk Centre to reach a completely unexpected title game berth.
“I am completely upbeat,” said Dreier. “We didn’t play as well as we wanted today, but what a dream it was to get here … It’s really a treat, a real trip, what these girls have done. They got me here one more time, maybe my last time.”
Megan Thorson, senior center, had 13 points, and Alyssa Fredrick was next with nine, for the Wildcats.
Borowicz sibs, Roseau likely to return
Kiley Borowicz of Roseau (29-4) scored 33 points in a 78-64 win over Pequot Lakes, 35 in the 87-78 loss to P-E-M, and 43 in the third-place 94-82 win over Sauk Centre for 111 points. Kiley has over 2,000 points while freshman sister Kacie has over 1,000 and seventh-grader Katie is already a varsity player. With two other starters also coming back, Roseau has a good chance to bring the state title both next year.
Holy Angels caps rapid rise with 3A championship
When Laura Bagwell-Katalinich first suited up, along with fellow senior Sarah Spanier, as a freshman three years ago, Holy Angels Academy was winning “about five games a year,” she said. But those two and coach Dan Woods were determined to change that.
“And four years later, here we are,” said Bagwell-Katalinih after scoring 25 points and snagging 16 rebounds in a 50-35 victory over Winona for the Class 3A championship. The Stars had lost in the first round of playoffs her first three years but went all the way this year, finishing 25-5.
“People will know who we are now,” said Woods.
Holy Angels was the winner of the 1975 tournament, which was only the second girls tournament played in Minnesota and the first played in March; the initial girls season was played in the fall. So that’s a 41-year wait for Holy Angels’ second title. They were also 2005 runners-up.
Their jumbo freshman center Destinee Oberg, a third-year varsity player with five D-I offers already, including the Gophers, provided nine points, eight rebounds and three assists, one of them leading a fast break. Soph forward Megan Meyer added eight points. Holy Angels killed the Winhawks on rebounds 42-19.
Winona (25-7) was hoping to capture the school’s first basketball title for boys or girls. The only other WHS team to reach a state final was the boys in 1914 who lost to Stillwater.
Halley Hoeppner, who finished with a school record 1,434 points, including 15 in the championship game, said she was “just so proud to be part of this team … so beyond grateful for the experiences we had,” while unable to hold back tears as she spoke. Winona set school records for wins and points while playing on TV for the first time.
Winona played without point guard Jayne Emerson, who had a knee injury in the semifinals. Hoeppner said they missed her leadership and her ability to fire long passes down the court on the break.
A title game between No. 5 ranked Winona and No. 6 Holy Angels would not have been predicted as playoffs began but the top four ranked teams fell either in section finals or state quarterfinals. At state, the Stars beat No. 6 Marshall 69-47 and No. 8 Thief River Falls 55-42 to reach finals.
Minnetonka dethrones Hopkins in rubber game 61-52
Minnetonka, never before a state champion, with just one previous appearance in 1999, took on neighboring Hopkins, which had won six of seven state title games in the last dozen years, for the 4A championship, on pretty much even terms, as they split in Lake Conference play.
The No. 4 ranked Skippers conquered the No. 1 Royals 61-52, mainly on the strength of a staggering rebound advantage, 61 to 33,
“The section final was the hump we couldn’t get over,” said senior guard Hannah Hedstrom. “Once we got over that, it was a huge confidence boost for all of us.”
UW-Milwaukee recruit Lizzie Odegard snagged 23 of while scoring 17 points. Courtney Fredrickson contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Chrissy Carr 10 points and 12 rebounds, as the Skippers won without shooting particularly well.
“It had to happen in the paint,” said coach Leah Dasovich.
Ashley Bates, Hopkins’ dynamic 5-foot-8 guard, kept her team in the game with 28 points and seven rebounds, but fouled out with 5:41 left. Nia Hollie was next with 18 points, also fouling out. The Royals didn’t shoot well, 19-for-63 from the floor and 14-for-27 at the line. Nobody else had more than two points.
“We got out rebounded and we didn’t hit free shots. That’s it, in a nutshell,” said Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff, whose state tournament record is now 26-4.
Hopkins had 30 fouls with its two stars exiting early along with sub Domini Hart-McNeeley. Minnetonka had 21 fouls with Hedstrom fouling out. Neither capitalized very well at the line; Minnetonka was 23-for-38.
Minnetonka led by as much as 11 in the first half and was still up 34-26 at the break with Hedstrom hitting a buzzer-beater. Hopkins got within 54-52 on a three-point play by Hollie and had a chance to tie when their eighth-grade prodigy Paige Bueckers went to the line with 2:11 left, but she missed and the Royals never scored again.
Odegard, rebounding with the fury of a cement mixer, pulled down 15 defensive and eight offensive.
“Rebounding is all mental. You have to hustle, you have to be aggressive,” she said. “Every possession, I want the ball. We knew we had to limit their second shots.”
Minnetonka finished 25-4, also losing to Rochester Mayo, Eastview and St. Michael-Albertville during a 3-3 start before winning 22 of 23.
“Minnetonka basketball has always been hovering (under) the next level,” said Dasovich, coach for five years. “We have had some phenomenal players come through here. They laid the ground work and this group took it to the next level.”