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Girls Basketball Class AAA Championship, Becker 70, Marshall 58

Posted: Friday, April 9, 2021 - 7:23 PM

Becker opened the modified 2021 girls basketball season with 14 consecutive victories. Then the Bulldogs concluded the regular season with three consecutive losses. It wasn’t the kind of momentum a team ordinarily looks for heading into the postseason. But for the Bulldogs, they were cognizant in who those losses were to. In a four-day span, the losing skid started with Holy Angels, an entrant in the Class AAA state tournament, and then was followed by setbacks to Class AAAA powers Minnetonka and Hopkins, respectively.

The Bulldogs, then, responded with the right kind of string.

Becker won two games in the Section 5AAA tournament and then proceeded with three more in the state tournament, including the crescendo of a 70-58 victory over Marshall in the Class AAA championship game on Friday, April 9 at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. Senior Julia Bengtson scored 13 of her 20 points in the second half when the Bulldogs (19-3) maintained double-digit leads throughout. Junior guard Adeline Kent, sophomore guard Maren Westin and sophomore guard Ayla Brown paced a strong supporting cast with 12 points each.

It is the second girls basketball championship in school history, the other coming in 2007. Becker was the Class AAA runner-up in 2019 and was an entrant along with DeLaSalle in the 2020 state tournament championship game when the event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Marshall bit into a 13-point deficit with a 7-0 run that drew it to within 49-43 with 8:20 remaining in regulation, but the Bulldogs answered by pushing the advantage back to 11 behind a three-point play from senior forward Megan Gamble that made it 56-45 with 6:51 to play. Later, Becker stared at a another 13-point deficit, but got it under double digits when senior forward Abby Wendorff made two free throws to make it 62-54 with 2:37 left. Fifteen seconds later, though, Becker restored the double-digit advantage on a power layup by sophomore point guard Alyssia Brown.

Marshall (22-1) was seeking the third championship in program history to go with back-to-back crowns won in 2001 and 02. The Tigers were runner-up three other times. Wendorff led the Tigers with 18 points while senior forwards Jordyn Hilgemann and Emily Meier had 15 eac.

Kent made two free throws with 0.9 seconds remaining in the first that gave the Bulldogs a 37-24 lead at the break. Westin led the way in an upbeat first half for Becker with 12 points. Her supporting cast in the opening 18 minutes included Kent, senior guard Courtney Nuest and Bengtson all with seven points each.

Becker scored 12 points off of Marshall 12 turnover and had a 9-2 edge in second-chance points during. The Bulldogs were also 6 of 14 from three-point range.

Hilgemann paced the Tigers with 10 points in the first half while Wendorff and Meier contributed six each.

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