Blossoms upset Lyle-Pacelli in semifinalsPublished 1:15am Tuesday, March 4, 2014
ROCHESTER — Blooming Prairie senior Sara Noble wasn’t about to watch her basketball career come to an end in the Section 1A West semifinals Monday.
Noble gave the Awesome Blossoms an early lift as No. 3 seeded Blooming Prairie knocked off previously unbeaten and No. 2 seeded Lyle-Pacelli 73-62.
Noble scored nine of her 17 points in the first eight minutes as she helped BP set the tone against an LP team that had beaten the Blossoms 58-19 Dec. 5.
“We came in thinking that they might come out hard and we knew we had to come out harder,” Noble said. “We had crisp passing, we made good shots and we played overall good basketball. I’m proud of my team.”
LP (23-1 overall) had used its defense to force turnovers that lead to easy scores all season, but on Monday the Athletics forced just16 turnovers as BP slowed things down in its press break. Taylor Hagen, a center who had 22 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, did a lot of the ball-handling for BP (19-7 overall) and she was effective in bringing the ball up the court.
“The biggest thing is taking care of the ball and that has been an achilles heel of ours against these types of teams,” BP head coach John Worke said. “I think we’ve gained more confidence with the ball handling and I think we’ve figured things out. I know [LP] takes pride in wearing teams down. I was trying to use my timeouts as wisely as a I could. I think earlier in the season the kids might’ve thrown in the towel when they were down and tired. Tonight tired wasn’t an excuse.”
After a back and forth first half, LP looked to be on its way to a win when Brooke Walter and Ann Rysavy hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put their team up 50-45 with 11 minutes left in the game. But the Blossoms just wouldn’t go away.
Madison Worke, who had 22 points and five rebounds, hit an array of mid-range jump shots and Hagen did work inside as the Blossoms hung around.
“My shot was on tonight and I was feeling good. I didn’t want anything more than to win tonight,” Madison Worke said. “Sara got us off and running. That was so huge.”
LP closed to within 65-62 when Sarah Holtz hit a jump shot with 1:49 left in the game, but BP’s Kalyn Naatz scored on a put-back to make it 67-62 with 1:19 left in the game.
“I thought we played below our standards and they played about as good a basketball game as they could possibly play,” LP head coach Justin Morris said. “That was our fear going in. They got comfortable and they looked like an entirely different basketball team from the first time we played them. They just kept coming back. They were a mentally tougher basketball team tonight. It’s a tough way for our season to end.”
BP came into the game with an added confidence as they hung around with Kenyon-Wanamingo, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AA, in a 64-57 loss last week.
John Worke said that the team found its motivation from Noble, who is BP’s lone senior.
“Sara has been a great leader this year and I think the girls really dig deep for her,” Worke said. “They don’t want her season to end. Sara’s quite a unique kid. She’s a no-nonsense kid and she loves basketball. I couldn’t ask for a better game out of her.”
LP will graduate three seniors in Maggie Lewison, Annie Holtz and Rysavy, who had 22 points before she fouled out of her final game with the Athletics.
“My heart breaks for our seniors and my heart breaks for Ann Rysavy,” Morris said. “She’s our all-time leading scorer and she came out and she played her butt off tonight. She made shots, she was a competitor and she kept us in the game. We just picked a bad time to not play the way we’re capable of playing.”
Sarah Holtz had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the loss for LP.
BP will play top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Goodhue in the Section 1A West title game at Mayo Civic Auditorium Saturday at 2 p.m. BP lost to Goodhue 73-47 Jan. 30.
BP 31 42 — 73
LP 31 31 — 62
BP scoring: Madison Worke, 22; Taylor Hagen, 18; Sara Noble, 17; Kalyn Naatz, 14; Hannah Ahrens, 4; Alanna Grant, 1; free throws: 77 percent (17-for-22); rebounds: 29 (Hagen, 12); turnovers: 16
LP scoring: Ann Rysavy, 22; Sarah Holtz, 16; Brooke Walter, 8; Madison Truckenmiller, 6; Courtney Walter, 4; Annie Holtz, 4; Maggie Lewison, 2; free throws: 64 percent (9-for-14); rebounds: 23 (Holtz, 10); turnovers: 11