2A: Jordan, Pipestone, Albany, Norwood Young America advance

  • Article by: RON HAGGSTROM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 15, 2007 - 8:02 PM

Thursday's 2A quarterfinals: Jordan 60, Barnesville 55; Pipestone Area 40, Caledonia 38; Albany 67, Fairmont 59; Norwood Young America 53, Esko 47.

Brittany Chambers is only a sophomore. She doesn’t play like one. The poised floor leader scored 32 points, leading Jordan past Barnesville 60-55 on Thursday in the Class 2A girls’ state basketball tournament quarterfinals at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.

The fourth-ranked Jaguars (27-1) will meet Pipestone Area (23-4) in the semifinals Friday.

“Brittany is unbelievable,” Jordan coach Paul Lambrecht said. “She controls the game.”

And, takes it over.

She was directly responsible for 10 points, scoring eight and handing out an assist, at the start of the second half as Jordan took a 35-29 lead after being tied at halftime. Chambers later scored seven unanswered points — a putback following an offensive rebound on a missed free throw, a three-pointer and steal and layup — with the Jaguars leading by one.

“Sometimes you have to slow it down on offense, and at other times you have to create things,” said Chambers, who entered the tournament averaging 24.1 points per game.

Chambers isn’t just a scorer. She also had eight rebounds, five steals and three assists, leaving Barnesville coach Matt Askegaard impressed.

“She is the real deal,” Askegaard said. “She is tough to stop. A big-time player.”

Chambers’ two free throws with 3.8 seconds left sealed the victory. Teammate Leah Dietel hit all four of her free throws in the final minute and finished with 14 points.

“This is special group,” Lambrecht said. “They are so confident. When they take the floor, they think they should win.”

Pipestone Area 40, Caledonia 38: Steph Kocourek scored on a left-handed layup with 3 seconds remaining, lifting the Arrows over No. 10 Caledonia (27-4). Leading scorer Faith Tinklenberg, who was supposed to take the final shot, found the open Kocourek with a skip pass.

“They were so occupied with her (out on the right wing), they didn’t realize I was over there,” Kocourek said.

Dreadful start: There are opening-game jitters. Then there is what the Arrows went through at the start of their quarterfinal. They were held scoreless for nearly the first seven minutes, and trailed 16-0.

“That was just awful,” Kocourek said. “We played our worst first half of the year.”

The Arrows closed the deficit to 20-17 at halftime, and took their first lead on Tinklenberg’s layup midway through the second half. Tinklenberg finished with a game-high 13 points.

“We didn’t play as a team in the first half,” said Kocourek, who scored nine points. “We gathered ourselves at halftime, and played as a team in the second half. We started working together, and that’s what we have to do if we want to win.” Albany 67, Fairmont 59: Jennie Noreen scored 15 of her 26 points in the first half when the Huskies put up 43 points in building a 10-point lead. They widened the lead to 15 points before Fairmont cut into the final margin.

Fast and furious: There is some discussion about a shot clock. Leave the second-ranked Huskies (28-1) out of the conversation.

Albany, which averages 74.2 points per game, started running from the opening tip. It shot 57 percent from the floor (16-for-28) and 73 percent from the free-throw line (8-for-11) in the deciding opening half.

“We had good looks, and everything was clicking,” Noreen said. “We’re a fast team, and need to be able to fast break.”

Sam Larsen added 16 points for the Huskies, who had four players in double figures.

Norwood Young America 53, Esko 47: The seventh-ranked Raiders (29-2) found out a way to slow down Esko, a flattened out 3-2 defense. They held Esko 23 points below its season average (70.8) in earning their first state tournament victory.

“We wanted to slow down No. 14 (Sami Mattson). She’s a very good player,” Raiders sophomore guard Mackenzie Wolter said. They held Mattson to eight points on 4-for-13 shooting. “Our posts did a good job in there.”

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