Climbing the mountain; LP advances to semis past Mountain Lake-Iron Buhl in state quarters
Published 6:35 pm Thursday, March 19, 2015
MINNEAPOLIS — The Lyle-Pacelli girls basketball team handled the ball and crashed the boards and it led to a resounding upset victory over No. 3 seeded Mountain Iron-Buhl (28-3 overall) in the Class A Minnesota Girls State Basketball Tournament quarterfinals in Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota Thursday.
LP (26-3 overall) never trailed, leading the entire contest as it rolled past the Rangers 66-47. LP plays No. 2 seeded Ada-Borup in the semifinals at 2 p.m., today.
MBI got as close as 23-22 when it held the Athletics scoreless for a five-minute spurt in the first half, but the Athletics closed the first half on a 13-0 run and opened the second half on a 10-3 run to take a 46-25 lead.
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LP dominated the game on the boards as senior Madison Truckenmiller chipped in 16 points and 9 rebounds and Sarah Holtz had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“They don’t have a ton of size and it’s not like we’re giants either,” LP head coach Justin Morris said. “But we talked about getting to the ‘O’ boards a little bit. I thought Madison Truckenmiller and Sarah Holtz did a nice job of getting us second opportunities.”
Truckenmiller, a senior, was happy to get to her first state tournament and she wasn’t about to make it a short trip. She shot 7-for-9 from the field and was a force on the boards throughout the game.
“I think we predicted it would be a tighter game. Coming out and playing like that was just amazing,” Truckenmiller said. “I wasn’t ready to be done yet and if I’m going to go, it’s going to be in the next two days.”
LP also received a big lift from sophomore Bethany Strouf, who scored 15 points. Strouf gave LP a huge lift to start the second half as she went on a personal 8-0 run by hitting a pair of jump shots, a pair of free throws, and she scored on a put-back.
“My main focus was on getting rebounds,” Strouf said. “I was open and I just kind of took those shots.”
LP’s biggest concerns going into the game was controlling the ball and limiting the Rangers’ scoring duo of Mya Buffetta and Chelsea Mason. The Athletics came through in both those tasks.
“Our coaches really prepared us for this game,” Holtz said. “They studied game tape for hours and they took their time and debated and debated what we should do against their press. They’re a very good team and without our coaches I don’t know if we would’ve won.”
Holtz said that the scoring contributions from Strouf and Truckenmiller made things easier for the whole squad.
“That helped us worlds. For them to play out of their minds makes our team so much better,” Holtz said. “In the state tournament you have to be on the top of your game and tonight we were.”
LP freshman Brooke Walter finished with 13 points, six assists and four steals, but her biggest contribution was the composure she kept against MBI’s full court trapping defense.
Brooke showed moxie from the start as she hit an early 3-pointer and a jump shot to put her team up 11-3.
“A freshman point guard against a team that’s as intimidating as any in terms of the press and she looked like a junior or a senior,” Morris said of Brooke said. “She’s a freshman by age, but she’s a senior by the amount of games she’s played.”
LP 36 30 — 66
MIB 22 25 — 47
LP scoring: Madison Truckenmiller, 16; Sarah Holtz, 15; Bethany Strouf, 15; Brooke Walter, 13; Courntey Walter, 5; Lucy Nelson, 2; field goals: 58 percent (25-for-43); 40 percent (2-for-5); free throws: 77 percent (14-for-18); rebounds: 30 (Holtz, 12); turnovers: 14
Girls state Class 1A rundown
Quarterfinal: Thursday, March 19, At Mariucci Arena, Univ. of Minn.
Lyle/Austin Pacelli 66 vs. Mountain Iron-Buhl 47
Maranatha Christian 65, Stephen-Argyle 50
Minneota 69 vs. Bowerville 68
Ada-Borup 71, Springfield 53
Semifinal: Friday, March 20, At Williams Arena, Univ. of Minn
Maranatha Christian vs. Minneota , noon
Ada-Borup vs. Lyle/Austin Pacelli, 2 p.m.
Third Place: Saturday, March 21, At Concordia Univ.
Semifinal losers, 10 a.m.
Championship: Saturday, March 21,,At Williams Arena, Univ. of Minn
Semifinal winners, noon