Girls Basketball State Tournament: Day 1 Recap
Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 10:39 AM
High seeds mostly prevailed during Day 1 of the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Basketball State Tournament at Williams Arena and the Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus on Wednesday, March 15. Included were two defending state champions that took a step toward what they hope will be another successful title run.
The semifinalists in Class AAA and Class AAAA have little time to savor their quarterfinal victories. Day 2 of the tournament will feature the semifinals in Class AAA and Class AAAA, respectively. The Class AA semifinals are scheduled for Friday. The Class A field begins its quarterfinal round Thursday at the Pavilion.
In Class AA, Providence Academy looked worthy of its top billing in advancing to the semifinals where it will face No. 5-seeded Minnehaha Academy in the first semifinal on Friday night at 6 p.m. It will be the third meeting between Providence Academy and Minnehaha Academy this season. In two previous games during the IMAC Conference season, Providence Academy had a 71-60 victory on Jan. 12 and another in a track meet-style victory, 126-94 on Feb. 17. In the lower-bracket semifinal, No. 2 Goodhue will face No. 3 Perham.
In Class AAA, top-seeded Becker advanced to play No. 4 Stewartville at noon in the semifinals. Becker was the Class AAA runner-up in 2022, and Stewartville is making its first-ever state tournament appearance. The second semifinal features No. 2 Benilde-St. Margaret’s and No. 3 Alexandria Area. Benilde-St. Margaret’s stormed from behind to defeat DeLaSalle in the quarterfinals while Alexandria raced past Hill-Murray in the final Class AAA quarterfinal.
In Class AAAA, three of the four remaining schools know one another well. Top-seeded Hopkins, No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville and No. 3 Eden Prairie all reside in the Lake Conference.
Top-seeded Hopkins, the defending Class AAAA champion advanced to the big-school semifinals where it will face No. 4 Stillwater. Stillwater, which needed last-second heroics to advance with a victory over Lakeville North, did not play a Lake Conference school this season. In the lower-bracket semifinal, St. Michael-Albertville will play Eden Prairie for the third time this season. St. Michael-Albertville recorded a 97-92 win on Jan. 20 and a 67-61 victory on Feb. 13.
Here is a look what happened in Wednesday’s quarterfinals:
- No. 1 Providence Academy 78, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial 40: Freshman guard Maddyn Greenway scored 23 of her 41 points in the second half when the top-seeded Lions (28-2) raced past the Knights (29-2). Greenway was 15 of 29 from the field, including 6 of 13 from three-point range in 33 minutes of play. Senior guard Olivia Harazin had 17 points for Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial.
- No. 2 Goodhue 67, Crosby-Ironton 59: Senior forward Tori Miller made clutch free throws down the stretch and a timely defense came up with key stops to help the Wildcats (28-3) fend off an upset bid by the Rangers (23-8). Miller finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. The Wildcats held Crosby-Ironton to eight points in the final six minutes. Freshman guard Tori Oehrlein led the Rangers with 27 points.
- No. 3 Albany 51, Perham 38: Junior forwards Alyssa Sand and Kylan Gerads scored 14 points each to send the Huskies (29-1) to an opening-round victory over the Yellowjackets (26-4). Junior Willow Thiel paced Perham with 18 points.
- No. 5 Minnehaha Academy 50, No. 4 New London-Spicer 28: Minnehaha Academy staged the only victory of the day over a higher seed by slapping New London-Spicer with a suffocating defense that limited the Wildcats to eight points in the second half. Sophomore guard Addison Mack sent the Redhawks (23-7) to the semifinals with 21 points and junior forward Angel Hill added 15.
- No. 1 Becker 52, Marshall 43: Top-seeded Becker sustained a nine-point advantage at the break en route to winning its 13th consecutive game. Senior guard Maren Westin powered the Bulldogs (26-3) with 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Ayla Brown chipped in 10 points and four assists. Marshall (21-10) matched the Bulldogs in the second half. Senior guard Brianna Simpson had 22 points for the Tigers.
- No. 4 Stewartville 71, No. 5 Grand Rapids 57: Stewartville, making its state tournament debut, continued making history with a victory over Grand Rapids. Freshman center Ella Theoband had 18 points to lead a balanced Tigers attack. Freshman guard Audrey Shindelar chipped in 13 for the Tigers (27-2). Junior post Jessika Lofstrom had 18 for the Thunderhawks (26-3).
- No. 2 Benilde-St. Margaret’s 64, DeLaSalle 53: The No. 2-seeded Red Knights (24-6), down by 12 at the half, outscored upset-minded DeLaSalle by a 43-21 margin in the final 18 minutes of play to advance into the semifinals. Junior forward Olivia Olson scored 25 points and sophomore guard Kendall McGee add 19 for the Red Knights. Sophomore guard Aneisha Scott paced the Islanders (23-7) with 17 points.
- No. 3 Alexandria Area 57, Hill-Murray 39: Alexandria Area broke from a six-point halftime lead and used continued scoring throughout in posting a victory over Hill-Murray. Sophomore forward Hadley Thul had 18 points and eight rebounds while sophomore guard Chloe Scholl added 16 for the Cardinals (25-4). Hill-Murray (17-12), making its 15th state tournament appearance, got 11 points from sophomore guard Elise Groppoli.
- No. 1 Hopkins 81, Roseville Area 40: Junior guard Liv Gill scored 24 points while senior guard Taylor Woodson had 23 points and 11 rebounds to power the top-seeded Royals (27-2) past the Raiders (19-11). The Royals, the defending big-school champion, built a 30-point advantage at the half and built the lead from there. Senior post NuNu Agara was a presence in the post with 16 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Kendall Barnes paced the Raiders with 12 points and five assists.
- No. 4 Stillwater 67, No. 5 Lakeville North 65: Junior guard Amy Thompson made an open-court layup with 10 seconds remaining in regulation time to send Stillwater to a narrow victory over Lakeville North. The Panthers had tied the score at 65-all moments earlier when junior forward Trinity Wilson had made a free throw. Wilson led the Panthers (22-8) with 18 points. Thompson had 29 for the Ponies (26-5).
- No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville 80, Eagan 60: St. Michael-Albertville’s guard combo of senior Tessa Johnson and junior JaKahla Craft combined for 45 points and 10 assists to fuel the Knights’ victory over Eagan, a state tournament rookie. Johnson, a University of South Carolina commit, had 21 points and eight assists while Craft had 24 points, six rebounds and two assists in sending the Knights (27-3) to the semifinals for the second consecutive season. Senior guard Madison McCollum had 17 points for the Wildcats (19-11), who trailed by 10 at the half.
- No. 3 Eden Prairie 78, Centennial 57: The No. 3-seeded Eagles (21-9) built a 19-point advantage at the half and maintained their balance on each side of the court en route to a convincing victory over the Cougars. Senior guard Annika Anderson and sophomore forward Ella Hardwick led four Eden Prairie players in double figures with 12 points each. Junior guard Marisa paced the Cougars (19-11) with 21 points.