4 of state’s best in 2 showdowns
Four of the best teams in Class AA girls basketball reside in southeastern Minnesota, and they ran into each other on Friday.
Top-ranked Winona Cotter lived up to its billing, going on the road and toppling No. 4 Hayfield, 57-47.
Jenny Gilbertson scored 22 points for the Ramblers, who improved to 23-3 overall and won the Gold Division of the Hiawatha Valley League with a 16-0 record in conference play.
Hayfield, led by Kiley Severson and Leslie Wilson with 13 points each, dropped to 21-2 overall.
The Vikings were within five points with one minute remaining, but Cotter was too strong at the free-throw line. Cotter was
14-of-21 at the line in the game while Hayfield was 8-for-21.
"That was the difference in the game," Hayfield coach Fred Kindschy said.
In a game loaded with fouls and free-throw shooting, Kingsland, ranked No. 6 in Class AA, rather easily emerged the winner, topping No. 7-ranked Caledonia
Kingsland moved to 16-0 in the Three Rivers finale, while Caledonia was handed its second league loss (14-2). The win gave the Knights the Three Rivers Conference South Division title outright.
Kingsland took advantage of Caledonia’s sloppiness. The Warriors turned the ball over 21 times, many of them unforced, according to Caledonia coach Scott Sorenson.
"(Kingsland) fundamentally played better than we did," Sorenson said. "Defensively they really did a good job."
A total of six players fouled out in the game, three on each team. Kingsland went a long way toward winning the contest at the free-throw line, where it connected on 31 of 41 tries. Caledonia was 17-of-39 from the line.
The Knights were led by Paisley Larson’s 21 points. Caledonia got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Danielle Frank.