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Class AA Girls Basketball Semifinal Fergus Fall 69, Minnehaha Academy 57

Posted: Friday, March 18, 2022 - 9:46 PM

Girls Basketball State Tournament begins four-day run

Fergus Falls made school history on Friday, March 18, 2022, when it earned a berth in a girls basketball championship game for the first time.

The No. 2-seeded Otters did so by starting fast and staying poised by turning away a comeback bid in an eventual 69-57 victory over No. 3 Minnehaha Academy in the Class AA semifinals at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. Senior point guard Ellie Colbeck was the engineer of the Fergus Falls attack that built a 20-point lead in the first half and didn’t allow the Redhawks to inch any closer than nine points in the closing minutes. The victory sends the Otters (26-5) to the Class AA championship game opposite top-seeded Providence Academy on Saturday at 2 p.m. It is the first state championship trip for Fergus Falls in six state tournament appearances.

Colbeck scored 19 of her 25 points in the second half when Fergus Falls was able to withstand mini-rallies by the Redhawks (25-6), who scrambled to take big bites into a double-digit deficit. Colbeck was 6 of 17 from the field, including 3 of 5 from three-point range. She also was effective at the free throw line, making 10 of 15 attempts. Colbeck also wasn’t afraid to get involved in the paint. She had 11 rebounds, including nine on the defensive end.

Her teammates played a strong supporting role, too. Senior shooting guard Tori Ratz had 14 points and senior forward Ainsley Hansen added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Minnehaha Academy freshman guard Addison Mack scored 22 of her 25 points in the second half.

The Redhawks, staring at a 20-point halftime deficit, gave an indication that they were comeback-minded by scoring the first two baskets of the second half as they valiantly attempted to chip away at the lead.

Fergus Falls asserted itself from the start in building a stunning 35-13 lead at the half. The Otters possessed high energy on both sides of the floor with shooting that was at a 46 percent clip and a defense that coaxed Minnehaha Academy to shoot just 22.2 percent. Fergus Falls spread the scoring around in the first half to six different players. Five of them had six points each: Colbeck, Hansen, Ratz, senior center Hannah Polejewski and junior forward Cyntreya Lockett.

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