Points were at premium in emotional rematch from two years ago.
Amid an undercurrent of emotion dating back two years, high-flying Braham showed it can win ugly, outlasting defending champion Providence Academy 49-39 to advance to Saturday’s Class 2A championship game.
With once-in-a-lifetime guard Rebekah Dahlman — the leading scorer in Minnesota girls’ basketball history — as their leader, Braham averaged nearly 83 points per game. Providence Academy was the polar opposite. Only three teams had scored as many as 50 points on the Lions.
“I told our kids that the first team to 50 points would win and I really believed that,” Braham coach Tim Moore said.
The game held an added element of drama as the result of a meeting in the 2011 quarterfinals, won by Braham. Dahlman’s aggressive style was the subject of disagreement between the teams, and both sides remembered.
“I really wanted to beat them,” Dahlman said. “We beat them by a couple of points two years ago and they won the championship last year. No doubt I was looking forward to this game.”
Braham charged to a 19-8 lead, courtesy of a 12-2 run. But Providence, battle-tested and senior-led, stayed patient and worked their way back thanks to guard Leah Szabla.
“Leah is very competitive,” said Providence coach Ray Finley. “She brings strength and has a ruggedness at the rim.”
Dahlman, to that point content in getting her teammates involved, took charge, using her quickness and explosive first step to score Braham’s final eight points and keep Providence at bay. Braham led 27-25 at halftime.
The second half was played tightly, with both teams relying on emotion and will as much as talent.
The physical style took a toll on Providence, which lost key players to foul trouble and made just five second-half field goals.
Starting center McKenna Happke, Szabla (who finished with 20 points) and Taylor Finley all succumbed to the game’s aggressive nature, giving Braham the opening it needed to close out the victory.
Dahlman herself wasn’t immune. She scored a game-high 25 points but also struggled with her shot, making just 5 of 18 field-goal attempts.
Putting on a show
New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 69, Minneapolis Washburn 60: Of course, it’s wrong to label NRHEG a one-player team, but it was difficult to talk about anyone else after guard Carlie Wagner’s performance. Wagner tied her own state-tournament record with an eye-popping 48-point effort.
She did it the old-fashioned way, hitting just one three-pointer among her 15 field goals. She added 17 free throws and grabbed 13 rebounds for good measure.
“We lost our point guard, Jade Schultz, to an injury early in the game, so we had to put the load on Carlie,” said coach John Schultz.
Wagner, a junior who has verbally committed to Minnesota, wasn’t perfect. With the ball in her hands most of the night, she committed 16 turnovers, giving her a dubious triple-double. But it was her offense that carried the Panthers into the championship game.
“I knew I had to take the lead when Jade went down,” Wagner said. “I didn’t know I had that many points until I saw it on the scoreboard at the end. I was just trying to win this one for Jade.”
|NY Mets - WP: M. Harvey||3||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson||2|
|Cincinnati - LP: S. Marshall||3||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: J. De Fratus||5|
|Houston - LP: E. Gonzalez||4||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: J. Wilson||5|
|Seattle - LP: L. Luetge||3||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: V. Pestano||6|
|Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle||0||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda||5|
|Tampa Bay - WP: J. Hellickson||12||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: J. Hammel||10|
|Arizona - WP: T. Cahill||9||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: K. Slowey||2|
|Los Angeles - LP: P. Rodriguez||5||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: P. Maholm||8|
|Detroit - WP: R. Porcello||2||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: N. Tepesch||1|
|Boston - WP: A. Wilson||3||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: J. Roenicke||2|
|Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta||6||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: J. Garcia||7|
|San Francisco - LP: M. Bumgarner||9||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa||10|
|Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale||3||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson||0|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Shields||1||FINAL|
|Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle||2|
|Washington - WP: R. Soriano||6||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: H. Street||5|