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Class A Girls Basketball State Championship Hancock 54, Minneota 43

Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2022 - 2:05 PM

Girls Basketball State Tournament begins four-day run

Hancock ended a quarter-century wait for another title run following a 54-43 victory over Minneota in the Class A championship game of the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Basketball State Tournament on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

The No. 3-seeded Owls turned a bleak start into a heroic finish by coming from behind to win the school’s first championship since 1997 when Hancock was the first Class A champion in the four-class system. The Owls were the Class A runner-up to Fulda in 2007.

Freshman guard Kaitlyn Rohloff sored 11 of her 16 points in the second half when the Owls (30-1) seized on the momentum captured late in the first half en route to their 17th consecutive victory to end a championship season. Hancock’s only loss on the season was to West Central Area on Jan. 25. Senior forward Rylee Hanson chipped in 13 points, including eight in the first half when Hancock outscored Minneota (28-5) by a 40-to-24 margin.

Minneota was attempting to repeat as the Class A champion. The Vikings also won the Class A crown in 2019 and was a championship semifinalist in 2020 when the state tournament was cancelled amid a global pandemic.  

Hancock, which had trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, took its first lead of the game at 23-21 on a three-pointer by Rohloff with 14 minutes, 32 seconds remaining in regulation time. The Owls would not surrender the lead the rest of the way and kept Minneota at bay by making timely baskets and a multitude of free throws in the final minutes.

Senior guard McKenna Yost paced the Vikings with 17 points and senior forward Jeren Rost had 12.

Minneota got off to a quick start and continued to build en route to a 19-14 lead at the half. With six minutes elapsed in the first half, the Vikings had already built an 11-point advantage. Rost had eight points and four rebounds in the first half to pace the Vikings. Yost added six points.

Hancock never led in the first half, but slowly chipped away at the deficit behind Rohloff and Hanson, who had five points each.

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