MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — 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 2A 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.
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