Norwood Young America senior guard Jayden Fritz was the type of player Minnehaha Academy feared — an unstoppable X-factor off the bench.
Fritz repeatedly hit big shots throughout a 67-58 Class 2A quarterfinal victory at Target Center. She scored 12 points, often in clutch situations and often after the ball rattled around the entire rim before dropping.
"That was the best game I've seen her play," Raiders senior Bren Fox said. "She was hitting all her shots and being aggressive on offense and defense."
In other words, just what No. 4 seed Minnehaha (21-8) couldn't afford. The game plan to slow starters Fox and Kali Grimm worked well enough, limiting the duo to a combined 19 points. But Fritz emerged to change the game's tone.
"Credit to them to have girls off the bench step up," Redhawks coach Josh Thurow said.
No. 5 seed Norwood Young America (28-3) assembled a defining 10-0 run through the final five minutes. Abby Mackenthun, Samantha Miller and Grimm combined for nine points, and a Fritz free throw capped the run.
Mackenthun led all scorers with 25 points. Sophomore guard Mia Curtis countered with 23 points for Minnehaha, fueled by four made three-pointers in the second half.
"I thought we had it," said Curtis, whose team lost an 11-point lead it held in the first half. "We were just slow and sloppy on defense at the end."
David La Vaque
Maranatha Christian Academy 85, Mesabi East 49: Playing in the Class 2A tournament for the first time didn't seem to rattle Maranatha Christian Academy. The second-seeded Mustangs relied on the experience they gained during eight previous appearances in the Class 1A tournament and blew past Mesabi East 85-49 on Wednesday at Williams Arena.
"We heard a lot about how with us moving up, our run was over," Maranatha Christian coach Chris Buerman said. "That was a big motivator for us to move on with our streak."
Mesabi East (24-7) made its only run of the game late in the first half, a 10-0 spurt that got the Giants within a basket at 30-28. The Mustangs responded with an 8-0 charge over the final minute of the first half and the Giants never got back within single digits.
The Mustangs (27-4) kept a quick pace in the second half and closed out their 11th consecutive victory with a 33-7 run.
"We're always looking to push the ball. Even our center can dribble down the court if she needs to," said senior guard Kylie Post, one of five Mustangs in double figures with 10 points.
Eighth-grader Desiree Ware led the Mustangs with 14 points. Senior Jaclyn Jarnot had 12 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.
Roseau 62, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 56: The defending champion Rams withstood an upset bid by the Panthers, who led by as many as 14 points five minutes into the second half at Williams Arena.
The Rams (25-5) then put together a 16-2 run to tie the score. They took the lead for good on freshman guard Katie Borowicz's putback basket with four minutes to go.
Borowicz finished with 17 points, the final two on a pair of game-clinching free throws with 9.8 seconds left. Her older sister Kacie, a junior, finished with 15.
Seniors Kaylee Kirk and Evelyn Dolan each scored 16 points for the Panthers (29-3).