Title games in the state girls' basketball tournament commenced at Target Center on Friday.
Kaylee Van Eps scored on a back-door layup with 5.2 seconds left to break a tie and lift Chaska to a 45-43 victory in the Class 4A championship.
Chaska (18-0) fought off a sturdy challenge from Rosemount, who tied the game with 12 seconds left on a basket by forward Tayah Leenerts.
The Hawks took a timeout and set up the game-winning play. They got the ball to Mallory Heyer at the high post and she found Van Eps, who was cutting to the basket, with a bounce pass for the game-winning points.
After beating No. 1 Hopkins in the semifinals, Chaska's celebration was muted, knowing they had one more game left to reach their ultimate goal.
The Hawks struggled to figure out Rosemount's defense for most of the night, unable to generate the type of good shots they had in the semifinals.
Chaska retook the lead for good, 39-37, when Kelsey Willems hit her third three-pointer of the game.
Van Eps and Kennedy Sanders each scored 11 points to lead Chaska. Helen Staley, a Miss Basketball candidate, led all scorers with 17 points.
Not to be denied for a third consecutive season, Becker captured the Class 3A state tournament championship.
The Bulldogs (19-3), ranked No. 3 in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll, finished second at the 2019 state tournament. A chance at redemption last March was lost on the eve of the championship game, when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the tournament.
Their victory Friday at Target Center squared all accounts for the Bulldogs' tough and talented class of 2021.
The emotions run equally high for a great Marshall (22-1) team. Ranked No.5 in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll, the Tigers pushed back several times against Becker. But they couldn't overcome the Bulldogs' defense and three-point shooting.
Marshall finished second at the state tournament for the fourth time since winning the 2002 title.
Paige Meyer didn't let a subpar shooting performance keep her down. She put her Albany teammates on her shoulders with a state championship on the line.
Meyer finished just short of a triple-double (26 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists), helping the fourth-ranked Huskies pull away for a 57-43 victory over No. 5-rated Providence Academy in the Class 2A finals Friday at Target Center.
Meyer ignited a late 17-5 run over a four-minute stretch with the Huskies (24-1) holding a slim 35-32 lead with just under six minutes left. She only had two points in a first half, when both teams struggled offensively in different stretches.
Albany forced five turnovers in the first six minutes and raced to a 13-2 advantage. Junior forward Danica Findley had five points in the quick start.
Minneota held on for a 48-45 victory over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Class 1A championship game on Friday at Target Center.
Minneota led by as many as 16 points in the second half before Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa outscored the Vikings 21-6 to pull within one, 46-45, with three seconds remaining.
Abby Hennen made two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining to clinch the victory for the Vikings (25-0).
Hennen and Abby Rost scored 12 points to lead the Vikings, who earned their third state title since 2013. The Vikings won the title in 2019 and reached the semifinals in 2020 before the tournament was called off.
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