Holy Angels forward Laura Bagwell-Katalinich slid the microphone over in front of her face Saturday and told the story much like she plays — smoothly and concisely, quiet but with an understated power.
Bagwell-Katalinich started her high school career at a struggling program. She entered her senior year having never advanced past the first round of sections. All season, her team heard about how it wasn't good enough to compete at an elite level.
After a 51-43 victory against Winona in the Class 3A state championship, the journey is complete.
"We walked into this program that was winning five games a year, and it would be really easy to just keep it that way," Bagwell-Katalinich said. "But we went in and we wanted to change that around. Four short years later, here we are. "
As Saturday's game went along, something kept happening, quietly and almost unnoticeable unless one happened to peer up at the scoreboard above the Williams Arena floor.
Bagwell-Katalinich kept scoring in her typical finesse fashion.
She finished with 25 points, and though her scoring was effective, her 16 rebounds were most devastating. Holy Angels (25-5) finished with a 42-29 rebounding advantage and used a matchup zone to slow Winona's tempo and force perimeter shots.
"Teams that are successful are the ones that are more themselves," Winona coach Tim Gleason said. "At times it felt like we just weren't ourselves tonight. Give all the credit to Holy Angels for making us not be ourselves."
The Stars did not dominate, but they won in a controlled manner.
In the second half, Megan Meyer ran the floor and scored in transition, Destinee Oberg weaved a beautiful sling pass past a defender and into the lane for an assist. Sarah Spanier passed around the perimeter, eating time and wearing down the Winona defense as a state championship became imminent.
Meyer finished with eight and Oberg added nine points and eight rebounds. Halle Hoeppner led Winona (25-7) with 15.
When the buzzer finally sounded, Holy Angels celebrated its first state title since 1975.
"We hear all year about you guys can't do this, your players are too small, can't run, can't jump," Holy Angels coach Dan Woods said. "Well, come play us and you'll find out."
Bagwell-Katalinich had 40-point games and a slew of individual honors, but she said those things were never her goals this season.
Instead, she pointed to the state championship trophy sitting on the end of the table, the one with the net so gloriously draped around it.