MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — 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 1A 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.
Reiss all but put the game away during a key exchange late in the game. She grabbed a rebound off a missed foul shot and scored on the put-back, then hit a pair of free throws to give Minneota a 54-47 lead with 1:22 left. Up until then, neither team had led by more than six points in a game that featured seven ties and 10 lead changes.
“I don’t know what to say, it’s the best feeling ever,” said Reiss, who scored 22 in the Vikings’ semifinal win. “I always dreamed about it as a little kid but never imagined it happening.”
Minneota took the lead for good with 8:59 remaining on a three-pointer by Payton Boerboom , who scored 13 points. That came after the No. 8 Cougars used a 7-0 run to take a 38-36 lead on Miki Lee’s basket.
“It’s not too bad of a disappointment,” said the Cougars’ Shaina Stevenson, who was held to four points. “We didn’t play our best, but second place in the state is pretty awesome.”
Ada-Borup (28-4) had a balanced scoring attack and was led by Megan Kolness with 12 points, while Heidi Eggen added 11. Monica Vega, who scored 18 in the Cougars’ semifinal win over Win-E-Mac, was held to nine points.
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