The Hayfield Vikings were down double digits a couple of times in the first half before rallying to a 60-49 victory over the Lanesboro Burros Saturday in Section 1A Semifinals action in Rochester.

In the other semifinals game #3 seed Grand Meadow defeated #2 seed Kingsland 46-37 to advance to the Championship game Thursday, March 10, 2022 in Rochester.

Early in the game Lanesboro did a masterful job of getting the ball on the block to 6'0 junior Kaci Ruen, a powerful player down low.

The Vikings also had some bad passes resulting in turnovers giving the Burros a couple of double digit leads before Hayfield sophmore 5'10 Natalie Beaver gave them the offense they needed.

Beaver hit back to back three point baskets and scored 14 first half points while classmate 5'4 Kristen Watson added 10 points.

The score at halftime was 30-30.  With 6:49 to go in the half the Burros had a 26-13 lead.

Lanesboro started the second half strong holding the Vikings scoreless for nearly the first 4 minutes.  The Viking defense allowed just two field goals during that stretch.

Hayfield built a human fence around Ruen with two players covering her at all times and had their guards (primarily Watson) drop down to steal the ball when she tried to dribble to the basket. Watson also out quicked the Burros for a number of rebounds.

After scoring 11 first half points Ruen was held to two free throws the entire second half. She added 13 rebounds.

The Vikings defense held the Burros to five second half field goals.  Lanesboro allowed just 7 field goals to Hayfield but three of them were three point baskets and the Vikings scored 5 more points at the free throw line.

During a stretch in the second half Watson took over the game with repeated steals and baskets.

She got her 4th foul with 8:21 minutes to go after her team got a 48-41 lead.    The Vikings sat Watson at 7:03 mark up 49-43 and controlled the ball offensively for over a minute.

Watson came in with 5:54 to go and did not sit the rest of the way.  She finished the game with 25 points, scoring in a myriad of ways including two three point baskets and 9 points from the free throw line. Watson also captured 8 rebounds.

Beaver was 4 for 4 from the free throw line down the stretch giving her 18 points in the contest.  She also had 8 rebounds.  5'11 senior Aine Stasko scored 10 points with 8 carems.

The Vikings had 5 three point baskets, Burros 1.  Hayfield was 17 of 25 at the free throw line.  Lanesboro 12 of 23.

Give the Hayfield coaches a lot of credit for making adjustments at the half to take away the interior game of Lanesboro and of course the players for executing that plan.

I also had Hayfield with just 3 turnovers the second half after committing 9 in the first frame.

Lanesboro finished the game with 23 turnovers that Hayfield converted into 16 points.

The Burros had 38 total rebounds and Vikings 31 but Hayfield pulled down 12 offensive boards while Lanesboro had 9.

Lanesboro Junior 6'0 Jessie Schreiber had 12 points, 9 rebounds.

The Burros ended their season with a 19-9 recoord.  Hayfield (29-0) plays Grand Meadow (23-6) Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. in Mayo Civic Arena.

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Kingsland, like Hayfield was undefeated during their conference season including a sweep of Grand Meadow.

But it is hard to defeat a good team three times.

The Super Larks had a 25-22 lead at the half and held Kingsland to 15 second half points in the 46-37 win.

The Knights threw down 9 three point baskets while Grand Meadow had 6 in the game.

The free throw line was definitely the difference with Grand Meadow scoring 11 points and Kingsland 2 from the charity stripe.

You typically don't shoot a lot of free throws when you attempt a lot of three point baskets.

This was anybody's game with a 27-27 tie with 9:28 to go.

The Super Larks were led in scoring by sophmore 5'6 Sydney Cotten with 15 points off the bench.  She was 7 of 8 from the free throw line and hit a couple threes in the game.

Junior 5'10 Kendyl Queensland added 8 points with a pair of triples.

You could certainly tell these teams knew each other very well.

Kingsland was led by senior 5'7 Shelby Beck with 15 points including four three point baskets.

Senior 5'4 Audrey Webster added 12 points  and 3 three pointers.

Kingsland finished their season 19-9.

The Section 1AA Championship will feature Lake City going up against Rochester Lourdes.

The Eagles were up by nearly 30 points over Winona Cotter in their game and had three starters in the game until there were 54 seconds left.

Goodhue leading scorer Elisabeth Gadient was in foul trouble in a game that again featured teams that played twice before.  Goodhue won each of those meetings.

The Hiawatha Valley League Champion Wildcats end their season with a 25-4 record.

The Tigers and Eagles split during the regular season with each team winning on their opponent home floor.

The first meeting was a 60-43 Lake City win in Rochester.  The second Lourdes won 65-44 in Lake City.

They play for a MSHSL Girls State High School Basketball Tournament trip on the line at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, March 10, 2022 in the Mayo Civic Arena in Rochester.

Kingsland Left, Grand Meadow Right. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Kingsland Left, Grand Meadow Right. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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