Minneota’s recent success in girls’ basketball has ties to its success on the volleyball court. All five of the Vikings’ starters were members of the school’s volleyball team, which placed third at state last fall.
“Volleyball has definitely always been king in Minneota with the girls’ sports,” basketball coach Chad Johnston said. “It was a battle the first few years of trying to convince people they could do both [volleyball and basketball].”
The Vikings won three close games to claim last year’s Class 1A basketball title. That’s where their volleyball experience paid off.
“They’re not intimidated by the big stage, being in the big arenas, because they’ve done it for volleyball,” assistant coach Dale Kockelman said. “And they’ve been under that pressure.”
Junior Taylor Reiss and senior Megan Larson have committed to play volleyball in college.
Toughing it out
Ada-Borup got a solid performance from senior guard Monica Vega in her final high school game. The Cougars weren’t even sure they would have their leader for their Class 1A quarterfinal matchup with Goodhue.
“[Vega] did a great job, considering the fact that she broke her nose two days ago [in practice],” Ada-Borup coach David Smart said. “She’s got a compound fracture in her nose, but she’s a tough kid. We found a mask for her, she threw that thing on and said she was fine.”
Vega had 13 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals in a 65-58 loss to Goodhue at Mariucci Arena.
Freshman does battle with Coley
Mikayla Hayes, Park Center’s 6-foot-1 freshman center, was unfazed by facing Minneapolis Washburn’s 6-3 game-changing center, Chase Coley. Hayes, the daughter of former University of Minnesota forward Dana Joubert-Hayes, scored 13 points and had 14 rebounds in her matchup with Coley.
Watching Coley play in the quarterfinals, Hayes said, prepared her for Thursday.
“I knew she was a good player and that I had to work hard against her, but I wasn’t nervous,” Hayes said.
She credited her mother’s influence for her ability to stay calm in stressful situations. “She really helps me the most off the court, preparing me mentally,” she said.
About those fouls: Just sayin’
Fergus Falls coach Brad Strand wasn’t about to criticize the officials for his team’s 52-51 loss to Marshall. But he was bewildered that two of his best interior players, senior 6-footers Anna Monke and Kristin Traiser, were both on the bench for the last 5:30 of the game after fouling out.
Monke, the Otters’ second-leading scorer and leading rebounder, picked up her fifth foul with 11 minutes left. That after spending much of the quarterfinals on the bench in foul trouble. In two games, Monke, who averaged 14 points per game, played just 32 minutes and had eight total points.
“I don’t know how that happens,” Strand said. “You tell me.”