Girls basketball: Nelson comes to the rescue for D-E

Dover-Eyota has two obvious stars, 6-foot-1 seniors Megan Hintz and Madison Nelson. Take either of them away and the Eagles are in some trouble.

Dover-Eyota's Madison Nelson grabs a rebound and drives down court around Maggie Streightiff of Hayfield in their Section 1AA semifinal Saturday night at Mayo Civic Center Auditorium. More photos from this game are available at

Dover-Eyota has two obvious stars, 6-foot-1 seniors Megan Hintz and Madison Nelson. Take either of them away and the Eagles are in some trouble.

And that's exactly the state that Dover-Eyota was in with five minutes remaining in Saturday's Section One, Class AA girls basketball semifinals game at Mayo Civic Auditorium.

The problem for D-E was that Nelson — who finished with 23 points and eight rebounds — had sat the previous two minutes with four fouls. It was a painful stretch for the Eagles, as semifinal opponent Hayfield took full advantage.

D-E was sailing along just before Nelson drew her fourth personal, leading by 14 points. By the time she re-entered, the lead had shrunk to five.

Nelson didn't just check back in, she came charging to the rescue. The athletic 6-foot-1 forward owned the final five minutes and allowed No. 2 seed D-E to escape with a 60-48 victory.


Next up is a rematch of last year's section championship, with 23-6 Dover-Eyota taking on top seed and No. 1-ranked Plainview-Elgin-Millville at 8 p.m. Friday at Mayo Civic Arena.

"Having to watch from the bench was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," said Nelson, who cringed as her team turned the ball over, gave up offensive rebounds, and did nothing on offense during a 9-0 Hayfield scoring run.

"I was thinking to myself that this might be my last high school game," Nelson said.

But thanks to Nelson scoring nine of her team's final 12 points, she's avoided hanging up her D-E uniform. The 12-5 game-closing scoring run she fueled saved the day.

It also ended No. 3 seed Hayfield's season at 20-8.

"Madison is a big part of our team," said D-E coach Brian Harris, whose Eagles are the defending state champions, but graduated two star pieces from last year's team. "She is one of the top players in the area and she's seen a lot of court time for us."

It wasn't a pretty start for Dover-Eyota. Hayfield had its way inside for much of the first part of the game, grabbing one offensive rebound after another.

It was enough to keep the Vikings in the contest early. They used their second and third scoring chances, plus the marksmanship of Maggie Streightiff to trail just 20-18 with three minutes left in the first half.


Streightiff, part of a talented sophomore class for the Vikings, scored 12 of her team-high 21 points in the first half.

But the Eagles made an important push to go into intermission.

The rugged Hintz scored four of her 18 points (also 13 rebounds) just before halftime. D-E coupled that with a Gracie Gellersen 3-pointer just before the buzzer to lead 31-22 at the break.

Much of game was ragged, especially when it came to shooting. The teams — both renowned for their defense — made it tough on each other to score. Hayfield was just 19-for-59 from the field (3-for-19 on 3-pointers), while D-E was 19-for-55 and 3-for-16 on 3-pointers.

"For us to win against a really good team like that, we were going to have to shoot really well, and we just didn't do it," Hayfield coach Fred Kindschy said.

The Eagles ended up winning the game on the boards and from the free-throw line. They finished with a 38-27 edge in rebounds. From the line, they outscored Hayfield 19-7.

Dover-Eyota 60, Hayfield 48



Maggie Streightiff 21 P, 3 3-PT; Olivia Matti 4 P; Carrie Rutledge 13 P; Rachael Ausrud 8 P; Savanna Cordle 2 P.


Ashlee Olson 2 P; Madison Nelson 23 P; Haley Finstuen 8 P, 1 3-PT; Madison Field 2 P; Gracie Gellersen 7 P, 2 3-PT; Megan Hintz 18 P.

Halftime:DE 31, HAY 22.

Free throws:HAY 7-11, DE 19-27.

Three-point goals:HAY 3, DE 3.

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