Heritage Christian raced to quick 15-point lead and then weathered every comeback bid by Ada-Borup/Norman County West for a 67-59 victory Thursday afternoon in the Class 1A girls' basketball state quarterfinals at Maturi Pavilion.
"We put a big emphasis on coming out strong," said Eagles senior guard Taylie Scott, who had a game-high 23 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Fourth-seeded Heritage Christian of Maple Grove executed to perfection in the opening 4 minutes, 20 seconds, building a 16-1 lead.
Sophomore guard Taylor Schuck scored nine of her 16 points during the fast start and Scott had five.
"They did no wrong, and hit every shot," Cougars coach David Smart said. "We dug ourselves too big of hole."
The Cougars, seeded fifth in the state tournament and ranked No. 6 in the state polls, closed to within one point, 21-20, with five minutes left in the first half.
They trailed 37-29 at the intermission after Scott swished a three-pointer just inside the halfcourt line at the buzzer.
"We knew they would come back at us with a flurry," Eagles coach Lori Crellin said. "Our girls showed a lot of composure every time they made a run."
The Cougars pulled within 56-54 on sophomore guard Rachel Arends' three-pointer with six minutes left.
Heritage Christian responded with the next 10 points to regain control.
"Our defense was better in the second half," Crellin said. "We never panicked."
Junior guard Kirstin Robbins carried the No. 8-ranked Eagles (27-2) in the second half, scoring 14 of her 18 points.
"I saw my defender wasn't quick on her feet, and took it to the hoop," Robbins said.
The Cougars (26-3) were led by junior forward Kora Kritzberger's 21 points and 14 points.
"The amount of energy it took to come back is what cost us," Smart said.
Goodhue 50, Mountain-Iron Buhl 48: The youthful Wildcats overcame turnovers, missed shots, and plenty of bad decisions in the final five minutes to edge the Rangers.
"It doesn't matter how you advance," Goodhue coach Josh Wieme said. "We have a pretty young team, and they haven't played in a state tournament game before today."
Mountain Iron-Buhl, playing in its ninth consecutive state tournament, started four seniors compared to Goodhue's two. It showed down the stretch.
The second-seeded Wildcats (25-6) led 48-41 after sophomore guard Torrie Rehder's two free throws with 5:10 left. They missed three shots, including a three-pointer with a four-point lead and 35 seconds left. They went 2-for-6 from the free-throw line and turned the ball over four times the rest of the way.
"Our kids got a little tight," Wieme said. "Our team has some youth, and they're still learning."
Senior center Lexie Lodermeier paced a balanced Wildcats offensive attack with 11 points. Five other players had at least five points.
The Rangers (25-6) were led by senior guard Allie Negen's 15 points.
Menahga 65, BOLD 54: Senior guard Cierra Ahlf, Annika Aho and Alyssa Peterson combined for 49 points to lead the third-seeded Braves to their first state tournament win in program history.
"This was a huge, huge win for our program," Menahga coach Cody Pulju said. "We just got our feet wet last year.'' His team went 0-2 in its first state trip a year ago.
Ahlf and Peterson each had 11 points in the first half when Menahga (30-1) opened up a 28-19 lead. The Braves widened their cushion to 23 points, 53-30, midway through the second half before BOLD made a late run.
Ahlf finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Peterson had 18 points, Aho 10.
"We have an elite senior class, and they're providing elite senior leadership," Pulju said. "They've always been talented and gifted, but they've really stepped up being leaders."
Senior guard Makenna Steffel also had 21 points and 12 rebounds for BOLD (22-6).
Minneota 66, Red Lake 46: It took some improvisation, but the top-seeded Vikings, after falling behind by 10 points early in the first half, were finally able to pull away from the Warriors.
"We knew Red Lake played a very disruptive defense," Minneota coach Chad Johnston said. "They pressure you all the time. You can't really duplicate that in practice. For about three-fourths of the game, we ran a new offense, where we had to freelance."
Red Lake opened a 14-4 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half before the Vikings (28-1), behind consecutive three-point field goals by sophomore Abby Hennen, took their first lead with seven minutes left. The Vikings eventually built a 35-21 lead at halftime.
"They had us on our heels early," Johnston said.
The Vikings opened an 18-point lead early in the second half, but Red Lake used an 11-0 run to pull within seven with 8:17 left. The Warriors didn't get any closer.
Lizzy Gillingham scored 19 points, Lydia Sussner 18 and Hennen 16 to pace the Vikings. Sussner also had 17 rebounds and Hennen 13 as the Vikings had a 67-36 rebound advantage.
Gerika Kingbird had 17 points to lead the Warriors (21-8).