The best players for Holy Angels and Fergus Falls in a Class 3A quarterfinal Wednesday at Williams Arena were on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum for the game's clinching play.
Fergus Falls freshman guard Ellie Colbeck dealt with the disappointment of losing the ball with less than eight seconds left. Holy Angels freshman guard Kassandra Caron had the thrill of making the decisive steal.
One last defensive stand secured a 58-57 Holy Angels victory. The fourth-seeded Stars (22-7) withstood a furious push from No. 5 seed Fergus Falls (23-5). The Otters, down eight with about 2:30 to play, cranked up the defensive pressure and scored seven consecutive points.
"That kind of scared us all," Caron said.
Fergus Falls called timeout with eight seconds left. Holy Angels coach Dan Woods used the break well, instructing his team to switch to a man-to-man defense.
"It probably caused a little confusion," Woods said.
Fergus Falls got the ball to Colbeck, who had 20 points. But the sudden defensive change proved harmful.
"I used the ball screen, but they had good help defense," Colbeck said.
DeLaSalle 61, Hibbing 53: The top-seeded Islanders and underrated Bluejackets got what they expected from one another to start.
Hibbing brought purpose and DeLaSalle applied pressure defense. The Bluejackets led by two coming out of halftime and that's when the Islanders (22-5) changed their defense and their fate.
DeLaSalle's zone defense became the difference in the Islanders' victory.
"We weren't panicked," said freshman forward Sydney Runsewe, who led all scorers with 18 points. "We talked about what we needed to change and do better."
Foul trouble for three starters necessitated the defensive change, DeLaSalle coach Tanysha Scott said.
Bluejackets coach David LaCoe sensed a difference in urgency after halftime.
"We had them on their heels in the first half," LaCoe said. "That they went into a zone and our girls just sat back. We didn't attack it."
Still, Hibbing (27-3) hit enough shots to stay close. Three-pointers from Abbey McDonald, who led the Bluejackets with 16 points, and Eve Turner cut the deficit to three each time.
DeLaSalle answered thanks to Runsewe, who scored 12 of her points in the second half, along with Kiani Lockett and Nora Francois, who had a combined 13 points after halftime.
Cooper 72, Austin 40: The defending Class 3A champion Hawks' proven formula of deflating defense impressed and subdued an Austin team struggling with nerves early while playing in its first state tournament since 2008.
"I was very satisfied with my team," Hawks senior guard Aja Wheeler said. "Austin is not a bad team, but we kept them at a pretty low score."
Austin (20-9) scored its third-fewest points in a game this season.
Meanwhile, No. 2 seed Cooper (21-8) feasted on miscues. The Hawks outscored Austin 26-7 in points off turnovers. Wheeler and teammate Andrea Tribble each grabbed four of their team's 15 steals.
Wheeler led all scorers with 22 points, three more than younger sister Kierra.