Today's high school girls basketball playoff games
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
Today’s girls basketball playoff games
GRAND RAPIDS (13-14) VS. CHISAGO LAKES AREA (23-5)
What: Section 7AAA championship
Where: Duluth Denfeld
Outlook: The second-seeded Thunderhawks continued their late-season surge with 31- and 15-point playoff wins over Cloquet and North Branch, respectively. Junior guard Kenzie Kane (14.5 points per game, 46 3-pointers, 79 percent free-throw shooter), who missed a month with a foot injury, had 27 points and six rebounds in a 59-44 semifinal win, Grand Rapids’ fifth in a row. Senior center Jessa Sondergaard (10 ppg, 8.1 rebounds per game) provides height inside. Grand Rapids is shooting only 32 percent from the field, just 28 percent from 3-point range and 60 percent from the foul line. The school is seeking its fifth overall state tournament berth and fourth in the last five years. … The top-seeded Wildcats rolled past Hibbing 66-42 in the semifinals as Annie Stenson scored 21 points on a school-record seven 3-pointers. Senior Whitney Tinjum (24.1 ppg, 10.9 rpg), the school’s all-time scoring (2,521 points) and rebounding (1,183) leader, is headed to Washington State. Bryann Fernstrom adds 14.3 points and 7.1 rebounds a game, while Hannah Trandahl is the assists leader with 118. This team has tied the school record for victories in a season and is seeking its first trip to the state tournament.
Quote:“We have been better as of late because we are healthy, playing defense and simply playing better basketball. Kenzie missed a month of the season with a foot injury, Katie Anderson missed multiple games with a concussion and Michaela Cleveland has been out since Jan. 11 with a knee injury. That gave our other players valuable experience that has been seen on the floor in the past month.” — Grand Rapids coach Dave LaCoe.
ESKO (26-3) VS. BRAHAM (28-1)
What: Section 7AA championship
Where: Romano Gym, Minnesota Duluth
Outlook: The ninth-ranked Eskomos recovered from a 14-point first-half deficit to beat Mora 55-38 in Tuesday’s semifinals. The defense held the Mustangs to 18 points in the final 25 minutes of the game. Junior Savanna Trapp (21.5 ppg, 10 rpg, 5 blocked shots per game) used her 6-foot-8 size to score 14 of her 16 points in the second half. Esko lost 63-52 to Braham in last year’s section final and only lost by two, 56-54, to the Bombers earlier this season. The school has been to nine state tournaments. … The third-ranked Bombers rolled to a 22-point halftime lead and defeated International Falls 80-54 in the other semifinal. Junior Rebekah Dahlman scored 31 points, four shy of her average, to give her 1,028 for the season and 3,829 for her career. She’s 23 points shy of Tayler Hill’s single-season state record and just 59 short of her career total. Kelsey Sorenson-Giffrow averages 15 points a game. Braham has won the past three 7AA titles and is seeking a fifth overall state appearance. The Bombers were Class AA runners-up in 2010 and won it all a year ago.
Quotes: (It’s) going to be tough. I know all those girls can shoot 3s and there’s the Dahlman factor. We’re going to have to be very good to be competitive with them. I think having Savanna under the basket takes away opportunities for some of their girls to get to the basket. But they have shooters everywhere so we’re going to have to try to defend them, protect the basket with Savanna and try to slow Dahlman down. But that’s everybody’s strategy.” — Esko coach Scott Antonutti.
“We have put teams like Minnetonka, Mounds View, Holy Family Catholic, Irondale, Duluth East, Maranatha and Albany on our nonconference schedule to prepare us for games like this. We played a stretch of very poor basketball at the end of December and the beginning of January, but we are playing at a very high level at the right time. We are a very confident team.” — Braham coach Tim Malone.
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