Defensive-minded Fillmore Central girls hang on, just barely

Fillmore Central's Kelly Ristau (30) takes a shot during a Section 1A semifinal girls basketball game against Grand Meadow Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist /

The Fillmore Central girls basketball team isn’t going to win many shooting competitions.

But those Falcons are going to win pretty much everything else on a basketball court. They get that done with sheer force of will.

Saturday at Mayo Civic Auditorium, that was enough -- barely, it turned out --  for Fillmore Central to hang on and beat No. 6 seed Grand Meadow 43-41 in the Section 1A semifinals.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the 21-8 Falcons will take their aggressive and heavy effort style to the finals, where they'll meet No. 1 seed Blooming Prairie. Grand Meadow finished its season 18-10 overall.

"I'm just really proud of our defensive effort," said likely the most key component to the Falcons' stout ways, senior guard Emma Breitsprecher. "We are really aggressive. When there's a loose ball, we all get on the floor. We are all bruised up and wear those bruises like champs."


The Falcons forced 16 Grand Meadow first-half turnovers and built a decisive 25-10. They upped that to 17 points with about 8 minutes left, before Grand Meadow finally solved Fillmore Central's trapping zone defense and went on a monstrous scoring run.

Grand Meadow had its deficit trimmed all the way down to one point with 25 seconds left, as it rode some hot 3-point shooting and Fillmore Central turnovers late. But a steal with 4 seconds left by Lauren Mensink finally nailed down the win for the Falcons.

It was a fitting end, as all of those Fillmore Central thefts -- or Grand Meadow offensive mishaps (depending on one's vantage point) -- were the difference in the game.

"We just had too many turnovers," said Grand Meadow coach Ryan Queensland, whose roster includes just two seniors, one of them star daughter Riley Queensland. "Our inexperience really showed up today. We were too tentative in the first half. But we adjusted our offense (after that)."

It was the second meeting between the teams, Grand Meadow having won the first one on Jan. 30, 44-42.

That's why Fillmore Central coach Levi Olstad didn't feel secure even after having dominated that first half with a defense that was pure trouble for Grand Meadow.

He'd hoped that his players would keep up the same intensity on that end of the floor after intermission. But he saw it slip, while also watching Grand Meadow make nice adjustments.

"Grand Meadow has a couple of really nice playmakers, and I thought we relaxed just a bit when we got that lead," Olstad said. "But I'm proud of the way we finished off he game."


That is, with a steal, of course.

Fillmore Central was led offensively by Kassidy Broadwater and Kandace Sikkink, each with 12 points.

Riley Queensland paced Grand Meadow with 12 points.

Both teams struggled from the free throw line. Fillmore Central connected on just 8 of its 20 attempts from there, while Grand Meadow went 4-for-10.

Fillmore Central 43, Grand Meadow 41
Isabelle Olson 11 P, 3 3-PT; Riley Queensland 14 P, 7 R; Madison Hindt 3 P; Rylee Groom 6 P, 2 3-PT; River Landers 5 P, 8 R; Lexy Foster 2 P. 
Kammry Broadwater 2 P; Kassidy Broadwater 12 P, 2 3-PT; Lauren Mensink 3 P, 1 3-PT; Emma Breitshprecher 7 P, 1 3-PT; Maddie Krage 5 P, 1 3-PT; Kelly Ristau 2 P; Kandace Sikkink 12 P. 
Halftime: FC 25, GM 10.
Free throws: GM 4-10, FC 8-20.
Three-point goals: GM 5, FC 5.


Fillmore Central vs. Grand Meadow Girls Basketball

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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