State girls basketball: Winhawks have towering performance in quarters

MINNEAPOLIS — Winona has had a size advantage over opponents for much of the season.

MINNEAPOLIS — Winona has had a size advantage over opponents for much of the season.

Other than Rochester John Marshall, Winona junior forward Abby Winter said the Winhawks haven't seen many teams that can match their height. The same held true on Wednesday, and that was the difference as No. 2 seed Winona beat Grand Rapids 76-56 in the Class AAA quarterfinal game at the girls basketball state tournament at Mariucci Arena.

Winona, which features four players at least 6 feet in height, out-rebounded Grand Rapids 59-40 and dominated the play in the paint.

"We definitely focused on getting the ball down low," said 5-foot-11 senior forward Halle Hoeppner. "We knew coming into it that (Grand Rapids) was fast, they were quick, but they were smaller. We were able to take our height and use that to our advantage."

Still, Grand Rapids (22-8) trailed just 38-36 at the break.


That's when Winona coach Tim Gleason delivered what Winter called a loud, but encouraging speech to kick things into gear.

"Just encouraging us and supporting us," Winter said. "And a little mad."

Whatever it was, it worked. Winona went on a 12-1 run early in the second half to seize control.

Winona watched No. 1 seed Hutchinson get knocked out of the quarterfinals on Tuesday night at Target Center, and didn't want to be the next seed out the door.

"We just knew coming into today before the game we've got to be focused," Hoeppner said. "It doesn't matter what the seeds are."

Grand Rapids struggled on the offensive end, shooting 31 percent from the field. Thunderhawks sophomore guard Heaven Hamling averaged 22 points per game during the regular season, but was held to 13 points on 4-for-19 shooting.

"I think it was their defense," Hamling said. "My shots were falling in the beginning of the first half, and then I went cold a little bit. Then I tried driving, and that wasn't falling."

Hoeppner had 22 points to lead the way for Winona (24-6), who has designs on making a run to the state title. This is Winona's second state tournament appearance and first since 2003. The Winhawks will play the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 3 Como Park and Becker in a semifinal on Thursday afternoon at Williams Arena.


• Becker (20-9) advanced to the Class AAA semifinals with a 62-57 win over No. 3 St. Paul Como Park (24-6) at Mariucci Arena.

The Cougars made things interesting down the stretch as they had two shots with a chance to tie to the game in the last 30 seconds, but the Bulldogs held them off to grab the dramatic victory.

Becker held Como Park to 31.3 percent shooting while holding a 52-31 advantage on the glass despite turning the ball over 28 times as their defense and rebounding proved to be a major factor in the game.

Four players finished in double figures for Becker, led by senior Amanda Lindsay's 18 points. Senior Alex Johnson added a massive double-double with 14 points and 18 rebounds, while senior Alexa Hanowski chipped in 11 points and eight boards. Off the bench, eighth-grader Mackenzie Kramer provided a major spark for the Bulldogs as she finished a rebound short of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.

Class AA highlights

• Sauk Centre, looking to improve on its runner-up finish last season, could not have asked for a much better start to the 2016 girls basketball state tournament.

Senior guard Madison Greenwaldt scored 21 points in the first half to lead the No. 2-seeded Mainstreeters to a 70-51 victory over unseeded Norwood-Young America at Mariucci Arena.

Sauk Centre (30-1) will face Minnehaha Academy or New London-Spicer at 8 p.m. Friday in a semifinal game at Williams Arena.


Greenwaldt singlehandedly gave the Raiders (26-4) little hope of victory early on. Her 3-point shooting quickly put the Mainstreeters ahead, as she hit five 3-pointers in the first half.

• No. 4 Roseau (28-3) advances to the semifinals with a 78-65 win over No. 5 Pequot Lakes (27-4) on Wednesday afternoon at Mariucci Arena.

Roseau was efficient as they shot 49 percent from the field.

The Rams' leading scorer on the season, junior Kiley Borowicz, did not disappoint as she scored a game-high 33 points on 12-for-21 shooting to go along with 13 boards, six assists and six steals in a massive line. Her sister, sophomore Kacie Borowitz, also contributed 11 points, seven assists and a pair of steals while junior Ivy Braaten chipped in 14 points.

The Patriots were led by senior Haley Wiebolt's 22 points, nine assists, seven steals and three rebounds. while sophomore Karli Skog added 16 points off the bench.

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