Class AA Girls Basketball State Championship Providence Academy 55, Fergus Falls 53
Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2022 - 4:20 PM
Providence Academy finished its journey of unfinished business on Saturday, March 19, 2022. To do so, however, the Lions had to survive some tense moments while on the threshold of adding to the program’s girls basketball history.
The top-seeded Lions, left unsatisfied in a runner-up finish in the Class AA field a year ago in an abbreviated season amid a global pandemic, erased those memories by holding off Fergus Falls for a 55-53 victory in the championship game at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
Senior forward Maria Counts scored 19 points, including 16 in the second half, to secure the second Class AA championship for the Plymouth-based school. Junior forward Grace Counts had 13 of her 17 points in the first half when the Lions (29-4) built a four-point advantage at the break. Eighth-grade Maddyn Greenway chipped in 15 points, and all were needed from those three and the supporting cast as Fergus Falls (26-6) never wavered in its attempt to catch the Lions.
Senior guard Ellie Colbeck played the entire 36 minutes and scored 41 points, including 24 in the second half. She also had four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Colbeck assisted on a three-pointer by freshman Brynn Sternberg that drew the Owls to within 55-53 with 0.2 seconds left. The clock was adjusted to 0.4, but Fergus Falls was unable to get its hands on the ball again.
Moments earlier, Maria Counts and Greenway made free throws to create a 55-50 advantage with 9.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
Colbeck’s output didn’t quite threaten the single-game record for points. That belongs to Carlie Wagner of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, who scored 53 points in a game during the 2014 state tournament.
Fergus Falls, seeking its first state championship in six state tournament appearances, didn’t own a lead during the game, but threatened it by routinely closing to within three or four points in the second half.