Senior leadership is vital come state tournament time, and Madi Heiderscheidt is one of the best at providing it.
The Sleepy Eye guard made a layup with 22 seconds left and came up with a steal 18 seconds later, leading the Indians to a 53-51 upset of No. 6-ranked Ada-Borup/Norman County West in the Class 1A quarterfinals Thursday at Williams Arena.
The smooth lefthander finished with a game-high 25 points and eight steals.
"Madi made great plays for us all night," Sleepy Eye coach Ryan Hulke said. "She always hits big shots for us when we need them."
Junior guard Mariah Mc-Keever sank the Cougars' only three-pointer with 32 seconds left, giving them a short-lived 51-50 lead. Sophomore forward Kora Kritzberger paced the Cougars (26-3) with 21 points.
"She hit a big three," Heiderscheidt said. "I was really nervous after that."
It didn't show as she took the inbounds pass and raced down the court, finishing with a righthanded layup between two defenders. She added a free throw with 3 seconds left.
"I knew they weren't getting back in transition very well, so I took off," Heiderscheidt said. "I'm just glad it went in."
Heiderscheidt had 18 points in the first half, and banked in a three-pointer after crossing midcourt at the buzzer, as the Braves (27-4) took a 27-25 lead into the locker room. She also had four assists, three coming in the second half.
"I knew in the end we would pull it out," Heiderscheidt said. "I just try to do whatever I can for the team."
Minneota 74, Menahga 69: The Vikings withstood a furious rally by previously unbeaten Menahga Minneota was seeded ahead of the Braves in the four-five matchup.
Sophomore guard Morgan Hennen's three-pointer gave the Vikings an 18-point lead, 53-35, with 12:49 left. She finished with 18 points.
"They weren't unbeaten for no reason," Minneota coach Chad Johnston said. "We knew they would come back. They really turned up the heat on us."
The Vikings (26-4) struggled for the next 11 minutes with Menahga's diamond press. Junior guard Alyssa Peterson hit a three-pointer with 1:53 left, pulling the Braves (30-1) within 67-65. Peterson finished with a game-high 24 points.
"We had a stretch where we hit the panic button," said Minneota junior center Lydia Sussner, who had 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. "We got out of rhythm, and had to get it back."
Sussner restored order with a layup with 1:39 to play, and followed it up with a blocked shot, defensive rebound and an assist on junior forward Lizzy Gillingham's basket to extend the lead to six points. Gillingham also finished in double figures with 19 points.
"They reminded me a lot of ourselves," Menahga coach Cody Pulju said. "The only difference was they had a big girl they could throw the ball to. They did that down the stretch."
Lyle/Pacelli 59, Heritage Christian 43: Athletics coach Justin Morris says his team has found a way to win games whether playing its best or not.
That characteristic was on display for top-seeded Lyle/Pacelli, which overcame a slow start to pull away for its 23rd consecutive victory.
The Athletics (30-1) led by five with 2:12 left in the first half before using a 7-1 run to open an 11-point lead at halftime.
Lyle/Pacelli opened the second half with a 14-6 run to open a 19-point lead — their biggest lead of the game — with nine minutes left. Maple Grove-based Heritage Christian didn't get closer than 14 the rest of the way.
"We did some things that were uncharacteristic for us,'' Morris said. "We turned the ball over more than usual. Give Heritage Christian credit. You don't get to the state tournament without being a good team. We just settled in and were more patient on offense."
Kristi Fett, a 6-5 senior, led the Athletics with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Olivia Christianson added 14 points and five steals.
Taylie Scott scored 24 points to lead Heritage Christian (19-11).
Mountain Iron-Buhl 59, Stephen-Argyle 47: The Rangers left the floor at halftime disappointed, not all resembling the No. 2-ranked team in the state. It carried over into the second half, until seven minutes remained.
Then Mountain Iron-Buhl ran off 11 consecutive points, breaking a 40-all deadlock.
"We weren't happy with what we were doing," Rangers coach Jeff Buffetta said. "We understand how the game works. We had to calm down and make plays."
Junior guard Madisen Overbye, who had 14 points, started the Mountain Iron-Buhl (29-2) spurt with a three-pointer and finished it with a driving layup. Junior guard Allie Negen added four points and senior forward Mary Burke had a driving layup.
Burke finished with a game-high 26 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
"In the first half, we were settling for too many threes," Buffetta said. "We had to get the ball inside. Once we did that, we had more success."
Senior guard Autumn Thompson paced three Stephen-Argyle (27-4) players in double figures with 15 points. Juniors Abi McGlynn had 13 points and Savannah Riopelle added 12 points.