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Girls Basketball Class A Championship, Minneota 48, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 45

Posted: Friday, April 9, 2021 - 2:40 PM

Minneota completed its season without a blemish following a 48-45 victory over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Class A championship game of the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Basketball State Tournament on Friday, April 9 at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.

Senior guard Abby Rost scored 12 points and junior forward Natalie Rolbieck matched that with 12 of her own to give the Vikings (25-0) another Class A crown to go with ones captured in 2019 and 2013. In 2014, Minneota was the Class A runner-up.

But this time around, the Vikings couldn’t exhale, and then celebrate, until the final horn.

Minneota, which had led by as many as 16 points, held off a series of final surges from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, who had closed to within five points twice in the final minutes. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa was attempting to win its first-ever girls basketball state championship. The Jaguars then pulled to within 43-41 on a three-pointer by senior guard Josie Knutson with just more than a minute remaining, but Minneota quickly answered with a reverse layup by junior center Jeren Rost.

A single free throw from Minneota’s Abby Hennen, a senior guard, boosted the Vikings’ lead to 46-43 with 26 seconds remaining in regulation. After a power layup by Knutson, Hennen was quickly fouled , though, and she made two free throws at the other end to set the score.

Knutson and senior forward Alissa Knight paced the Jaguars (23-2) with 11 points each.

Minneota built a 28-18 lead at the break behind 10 points from Rolbiecki and eight from Abby Rost. The Vikings led by as many as 13 points during the first half and had a nine-point spree at one point. Minneota made 4 of 9 three-point attempts in the opening 18 minutes paced by Rost, who was 2 for 2. Rolbiecki was 2 for 4 from beyond the arc

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