Minnehaha Academy and Albany traded the lead four times in the final three minutes, before a late layup put the Redhawks up for good in the Class 2A girls' basketball state semifinals Friday at Williams Arena.
Junior guard Mia Curtis hit that layup with 1:23 left, assisted by senior guard Taytum Rhoades, as Minnehaha Academy took a one-point lead before eventually winning 70-67.
"There was never any panic in our girls, and I think that's a testament to the leaders we have on this team," coach Matt Pryor said.
Minnehaha Academy (24-6) trailed most of the second half and was down 55-48 with 8:21 to go. Rhoades led the comeback and capped it by hitting three free throws in the final 50 seconds. Curtis and senior guard Avery New also hit late free throws to help seal the win.
"It was easy for me to find that gear, because I knew I wanted to get to that next game," Rhoades said. "… It comes easy when I have the teammates I do."
Rhoades finished with 27 points and Curtis added 17 for the Redhawks, who are making their sixth consecutive state appearance and looking for their first title since 2010. Junior guard Kate Pryor scored 12 points on four three-pointers.
Sophomore guard Paige Meyer led the Huskies (19-11) with 29 points, including 18 in the second half. She had two clean three-point tries in the game's final 10 seconds, including one as the buzzer sounded, but neither connected.
"Everybody on our team thought it was going in," coach Aaron Boyum said of the second attempt.
Albany senior guard Amanda Kollodge had 13 points, including a three-pointer with 2:05 to go that gave the Huskies a 64-63 lead. Sophomore guard Abbie Christen added nine points.
Caledonia 65, Roseau 55: The Warriors trailed the top-seeded Rams by 10 with 12:17 left in the second half after making just eight shots over the game's first 23-plus minutes. Fourth-seeded Caledonia went 6-for-10 from the field over the next 3:43 as part of a 13-0 run that helped the Warriors secure the lead for good. Seniors Ashley Schroeder and Heidi Bolduan each scored four points during the stretch, and eighth-grader Alexis Schroeder hit a three-pointer.
"I think we knew that eventually we'd get [the shots] to go in," Ashley Schroeder said.
"When we miss shots, we don't … get down on ourselves a lot. We just realize we have to get it and get to the boards, instead of outside shots all the time."
Caledonia (26-4) made only one basket in the final 11:45 of the first half but trailed by just eight at the break, thanks to nine takeaways and nine made free throws. The Warriors used a zone defense to limit Roseau's high-scoring Borowicz sisters — senior Kacie and sophomore Katie — to 12 points in the second half and finished with 20 steals overall.
"Our defense is what carries us," Ashley Schroeder said. "It has been carrying us through this tournament."
Schroeder, one of four senior starters, scored 12 points, including eight in the second half. Bolduan led the team with 24 points, while seniors Kaitlin Conniff and Katie Tornstrom added 11 and 13, respectively.
Kacie Borowicz, Roseau's all-time leading scorer, led the Rams with 28 points, including a three-pointer that ended the 13-0 Caledonia run.
"Best years of my life," she said of her time in the Roseau program, which included five consecutive state appearances. "Not the way I hoped it would end."