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Girls Basketball, Class A semifinals: Mountain Iron-Buhl 61, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 57

Posted: Friday, March 17, 2023 - 2:23 PM


Mountain Iron-Buhl’s label as the Class A favorite in the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Basketball State Tournament was in jeopardy of falling by the wayside on Friday, March 17 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. The top-seeded Rangers twice stared at 11-point deficits in their semifinal matchup with No. 5 and upset-minded Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa as time became a factor.

But the Rangers didn’t wilt.

Instead, they answered with a sustained rally over the final 10 minutes of regulation time that turned a deficit into a 61-57 victory a berth in the Class A championship game on Saturday. Senior guard Sage Ganyo scored a game-high 23 points, including 6 of 8 from the free throw line in the final minutes to send the Rangers (29-3) into a championship game for the first time since a runner-up finish in 2017. Mountain Iron-Buhl was also the Class A runner-up in 2012.

Trailing 48-37 with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation time, the Rangers mounted a 14-0 scoring run, which included a three-point play by junior guard Jordan Zubich that gave Mountain Iron-Buhl the lead at 49-48 with 5:49 remaining. About a minute later, junior forward Gabby Lira made a layup to push the advantage to 51-48. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (25-5) closed to within 51-50 on a layup by senior guard Abby Berge, but the Rangers responded with a seven-point spree that included free throws from Ganyo.

Zubich finished with 17 points and four assists.

Berge had 18 points and three assists for the Jaguars, who were attempting to make a return trip to the Class A championship game since finishing as the runner-up in 2021.

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