Wagner's record leads NRHEG to Class AA title
MINNEAPOLIS — Carlie Wagner broke her own single-game state tournament record with 50 points, and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva needed every one of them in a thrilling 60-59 win over Braham for the Minnesota Class AA state championship.
Wagner scored the Panthers' final 19 points and her free throw with 6.1 seconds left was the difference. Her steal on the ensuing possession put an end to Braham's furious comeback try and touched off a wild celebration beneath New Richland's' basket at Target Center.
Wagner, who was 21-of-43 from the field with two 3-pointers and six free throws, is a junior and has given an oral commitment to play at Minnesota. Her play was nearly overshadowed by Braham's Rebeka Dahlman, who turned a potential blowout into a nail-biter with 30 of her 32 points in the second half. She missed most of the first half with foul trouble.
"It was just crazy, it was insane," said Wagner of the game's closing minutes, which saw New Richland (32-1) build a seven-point lead, only to have the Bombers tie the score at 59-59 on a layup by Kayla Nickels with 37.4 seconds left.
Wagner was fouled and calmly sank her first free throw before missing the second. She more than made up for it by wrestling the ball away from Kayla Nickels at mid-court, preventing Braham from completing an unbeaten season. By that time, Dahlman had fouled out.
"I did what I had to do," she said of the Panthers' 30th straight win since losing a one-point game to 3A Chaska early in the season. In addition to her 50-point single-game mark, Wagner set five other state tournament records, including 129 points for three games.
Dahlman, who's headed to Vanderbilt, became the state's first girls' basketball player to score 5,000 career points during the state quarterfinals. Her wild second half nearly gave the Bombers (32-1) their second state title in three years.
"This close," said Dahlman, holding her index finger and thumb less than an inch apart. "This is very hard for me."
Nickels scored 12 points for Braham. Wagner broke her own record of 48 points for a state tournament game, a feat she completed for a second time in New Richland's semifinal win over Minneapolis Washburn.
Dahlman was attempting to add to her family's legacy, which includes three state boys' basketball championships for brothers Isiah and Noah.
Hopkins three-peats in Class AAAA
MINNEAPOLIS — Nia Coffey scored 25 points and had 16 rebounds to lead Hopkins to a 68-45 win Saturday over Bloomington Kennedy for the Class AAAA state title.
Taylor Anderson added 11 points for the top-seeded Royals (31-1), who won a third straight title. Erin O'Toole had nine rebounds.
Jade Martin led Bloomington Kennedy with 19 points.
Up by two at the break, Hopkins scored the first 15 points of the second half — and 19 of the first 21 — to secure the victory. Coffey, who will attend Northwestern University on a basketball scholarship next year, had eight points in the stretch and Mikaala Shackelford had five.
Bloomington Kennedy (28-4), the second seed, did not get its first second-half points until almost seven minutes in.
Reiss leads Minneota to Class A title
MINNEAPOLIS — Minneota sophomore Taylor Reiss didn't want a three-peat of a trip to the state tournament without winning the title.
"We just wanted to forget all about that and play our best," said Reiss, who scored 30 points as the Vikings used a late rally to emerge from a rugged matchup against Ada-Borup for a 61-51 win Saturday in Class A girls' basketball at Target Center and the program's first-ever state championship.
The fourth-ranked Vikings (30-2), who stretched their winning streak to 17 games, played in the last two state tournaments but were knocked out in the quarterfinals both times. This time, Minneota opened the state tournament with an upset of top-ranked Mountain Iron-Buhl and then edged No. 3 Bethlehem Academy in the semis.
Ada-Borup (28-4) had a balanced scoring attack and was led by Megan Kolness with 12 points, while Heidi Eggen added 11.