About eight minutes remained, the deficit was six points, and their star guard and best shooter was on the bench, having fouled out.
Things could not have looked more bleak for Minnehaha Academy.
Bleak, perhaps, but not hopeless.
The Redhawks fought back behind senior guard Taytum Rhoades, who scored 16 of her game-high 29 points in the second half despite playing with four fouls, lifting Minnehaha Academy to a 72-63 victory over Caledonia in the Class 2A championship game.
Minnehaha Academy (25-6) rallied without junior guard Mia Curtis, who fouled out at the 8:03 of the second half Saturday at Williams Arena, the most notable casualty of a game that had 44 combined fouls.
"If you had told me beforehand that Mia Curtis was going to foul out and we were still going to win, I would have said, 'Not a chance,' " said Minnehaha Academy's first-year coach Matt Pryor. "But these girls stepped up in big-time moments in a big-time game and that's what you need."
Caledonia (26-5), which went into the game with a 22-game winning streak, used a zone defense to slow the Redhawks and attacked Minnehaha's ball-pressure defense, getting the Redhawks in foul trouble.
When Curtis went out, Warriors coach Scott Sorenson was feeling pretty confident.
"We were attacking and getting them in foul trouble, and we thought we had them where we wanted them," he said.
What he didn't expect was how the rest of the Redhawks filled the Curtis void. Junior guard Tanna Gallo bounced back from a miserable first half with energy and spunk, hitting two three-pointers, grabbing three rebounds and dishing two assists. Backup guard Kate Pryor scored all 10 of her points after halftime.
"They got hot. Tip your hat to them," Sorenson said.
But the game, particularly the second half, belonged to Rhoades. Her ability to drive and score when needed and get Minnehaha Academy into its offense was key to the Redhawks' victory.
"Credit to Taytum being able to go out and play with four fouls the way she played," Pryor said.
Said Rhoades: "We had a chip on our shoulder from being here the past how many years [five], we had unfinished business. It's amazing. Not many [players] get to end their high school season with a win."