MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Down by four points and less than six minutes to go, Dover-Eyota knew they needed to dig down deeper to complete an unlikely run to the girls’ basketball state championship.
What they did was tear off 13 straight points, holding Sauk Centre to one basket the rest of the way for a 71-58 win in the Class 2A final at Williams Arena Saturday.
It was the first state title for the Eagles in their first-ever trip to the state tournament.
“Oh, my gosh, this is the greatest feeling in the whole world,” said Brandi Blattner, who led Dover-Eyota (31-2) with 25 points while grabbing 14 rebounds. “We made history already making it here, of course, we made history again winning the state tournament.”
The Eagles had a 71-32 edge on the boards, while Sauk Centre was held to 25 percent shooting from the field as its 29-game winning streak came to an end.
“One thing we were really concerned about was their rebounding,” said Mainstreeters coach Scott Bergman “That played a big part in the game, we just didn’t get the job done.”
Neither team led by more than 6 points when Dover-Eyota went on its run, wiping out a 55-51 deficit. The Eagles took the lead for good on a basket by Hinz, who had 24 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
“It was all hard work and dedication,” said Hintz. “We wanted it.”
Sauk Center (31-2) had trouble shooting the ball from the outset, missing 14 of its first 15 shots. They managed to stay within striking distance after finally getting their offense going, taking a 34-33 halftime lead.
The Mainstreeters’ largest lead was the four-point margin that was wiped out by the Eagles’ late scoring explosion.
Freshman Maesyn Thiesen led Sauk Centre with 23 points, while her sister, senior Mauren Thiesen, added 14. No other Sauk Centre player reached double figures in scoring.
The Mainstreeters failed for a second time in recent history to win a 2A final. They fell to Providence Academy 46-40 in the 2012 title game.
The only losses this season for Dover-Eyota were to Kasson-Mantorville 61-49 in the second game of the season. The Eagles also fell in the regular season finale 56-51 to Plainville-Elgin-Milleville, a loss Dover-Eyota avenged in the section 1 final by 71-62 score.
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