MARSHALL - The Dawson-Boyd girls basketball team knew there could be no lapses in play against Minneota.
For over 30 minutes the Blackjacks were able to keep pace with the Vikings, staying within 10 points.
It took Minneota just over 90 seconds to change that on their way to a 59-36 win to advance to the Section 3A-North sub-section championship on Friday night.
Photo by Alex Oey
Minneota’s Molly Hennen, left, and Dawson-Boyd’s Katarina Kuhlmann fight for a loose ball during Friday night’s Section 3A-North semifinal game in Marshall.
"We knew tonight would be difficult. I felt like if things went our way and we shot the ball well we might have a chance," said D-B head coach Randy Haakenson. "We had to have a lot of things work our way."
With 6:41 left in the game, the Blackjack's Sara Melom hit a pair of free throws to make it a 42-32 game. In the next 98 seconds, the Vikings (27-1 overall) scored 11 points to take a 53-32 lead, taking advantage of a full-court press that didn't let D-B (14-10) advance down the court.
"We went with a three-guard look, which made us a quicker team, and that's when we got that run," said Minneota head coach Chad Johnston. "We kind of forced them to make some better choices and they didn't.
Sara Melom 1 2-2 4, Mari Lee 3 0-0 6, Sarah Zaiser 1 3-4 6, Katarina Kuhlmann 3 3-3 9, Nicole Jurgenson 1 0-0 2, Justine Lee 4 0-0 9. Totals 13 8-9 36. Three-Pointers 2 (Zaiser 1, J. Lee 1) Rebounds 24 (Melom 6) Assists 12 (J. Lee 4) Steals 5 (J. Lee 3) Blocks 3 (J. Lee 2) Turnovers 24 Fouls 13.
Molly Hennen 3 0-1 7, Katelyn Kack 4 0-0 8, Kelsey Hennen 2 0-0 6, Emily Stienessen 6 1-1 15, Taylor Reiss 10 2-5 22, Hanna Prellwitz 0 1-2 1. Totals 25 4-9 59. Three-Pointers 5 (K. Hennen 2, Stienessen 2, M. Hennen 1) Rebounds 21 (Reiss 8) Assists 20 (K. Hennen 7) Steals 14 (Kack 6) Blocks 4 (Reiss 3) Turnovers 9 Fouls 10.
Halftime Score: Minneota 24, Dawson-Boyd 19.
"We got the turnovers and we got a quick run. A lot of that was through making adjustments and going with a little quicker ball team. That was obviously the key for us."
In the first half, the Blackjacks never allowed the Vikings to build a double-digit lead, keeping things close. When Minneota would get a small run, Dawson-Boyd was able to quickly shut it down.
"We really kept the ball out of Taylor Reiss's hands," D-B's Justine Lee said. "We played good defense and took care of the ball pretty well."
Reiss, who scored a game-high 22 points, scored eight in the first half.
"We couldn't get into our offense right away. That kind of slowed us down," Reiss said. "Their zone is really good and that helped slow us down."
The Blackjacks held one lead early (at 3-2) after a Katarina Kuhlmann three-pointer, and went into the locker room down five to the Vikings.
"When we went down by five at the half, we told them that if we could keep this game close down to the last couple minutes, we felt we had a chance to win," Haakenson said. "We felt that if it were close, it was a situation they might not be used to."
In the second half, D-B cut the lead to two, when Justine Lee hit a three-pointer, making it a 24-22 game, but that was as close as the Blackjacks got.
"I think one of the things we didn't see was execution on the offensive end. A lot of girls standing around against their zone, not a lot of movement," Johnston said. "We had a lot of poor passes. They were sagging off a bit trying to take away Taylor. We needed to hit some outside shots and we didn't do that."
Minneota slowly built a lead, going up by double-digits for the first time when Emily Stienessen hit a three with 7:12 on the clock to make it 42-30.
After Melom's free throws with 6:41 left in the game, Katelyn Kack hit two shots, one off of a steal, Molly Hennen added another off a pressure turnover and Reiss scored five points, converting an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a 53-32 game.
"(A run) gives your team momentum," Reiss said. "If you have a lead, you are more confident."
"We stayed with them for a while until we let them get on a run," Lee added. "We shut down a little and turned the ball over."
The Vikings will face MACCRAY in the sub-section championship on Monday at the R/A Facility at Southwest Minnesota State University.
The Vikings won both meetings this year, but know that the Wolverines (23-4 overall) will not go down easily.
"With MACCRAY, obviously the inside game is going to be their strong point," Johnston said. "The last time we saw them they threw a bit of a 1-2-2 against us and that got us to slow down right away. It took us a while to get used to that."