Vikings survive a scare against Blossoms

Published 10:29 pm Monday, February 26, 2018

ROCHESTER — The No. 2 seeded Hayfield girls basketball team nearly saw its season come crashing down, but its seniors wouldn’t give in as the Vikings held off a heavy upset bid from No. 7 Blooming Prairie to survive with a 67-63 double overtime win in a Section 1A quarterfinal in Mayo Civic Center Monday.

BP (16-9 overall) held a lead late in regulation and the first overtime, but Hayfield had two big answers. Maggie Streightiff hit a season-saving free throw to tie the game at 61 with 4.5 seconds left of the first overtime. Olivia Matti, who had 21 points , seven rebounds and five steals, hit the biggest shot of the night when she drilled a game-tying three-pointer on a drive by Kate Kruger to beat the buzzer at the end of regulation to tie the game at 54. BP had led 50-45 with four minutes left in regulation.

Blooming Prairie’s Megan Oswald shoots over Hayfield’s Maggie Streightiff in a Section 1A quarterfinal Mayo Civic Center in Rochester Monday. Rocky Hulne/

Matti’s shot had a lot riding on it, but she wasn’t going to let the pressure break her.

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“I was nervous, but I told myself to relax and imagine that I was shooting with my grandpa in a gym,” Matti said. “[BP] put a lot of pressure on us when we made a run, they came right back. I was really impressed with how they played.”

Hayfield (23-4 overall) was finally able to put the game away in the second overtime when BP eighth grader Bobbie Bruns, who had 16 points, traveled on a game-tying lay-up and Matti had two free throws with 17.9 seconds left in the game. Hayfield beat BP 75-45 just two weeks ago, but it was a much different story this time around. BP led by as many as nine points in the first half and the Vikings had to claw their way back into it after a tough shooting start.

Blooming Prairie’s Bobbie Bruns singals for a timeout as Hayfield’s Carrie Rutledge closes in in a Section 1A quarterfinal Mayo Civic Center in Rochester Monday. Rocky Hulne/

“It’s a game no one really wants to play to be honest,” said Hayfield senior Carrie Rutledge, who had 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and eight steals. “It comes down to who makes the final mistake, but we all stuck together. Nothing really went our way in the first half and we knew we had to drive more and try something else. Liv’s an awesome three-point shooter and we all have faith in her. As soon as she got the ball I knew it was going in and when it went in it was probably the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt, knowing we’re not done yet.”

BP also had big nights from its seniors as McKenna Hein had 13 points, eight rebounds and four steals and Sam Wurst had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Both players fouled out in the second overtime.

Hayfield’s Kate Kruger is tied up by Blooming Prairie’s Megan Oswald as Ayren Ingvalson defends in a Section 1A quarterfinal Mayo Civic Center in Rochester Monday. Rocky Hulne/

“The key was just them believing they can play at that level,” BP head coach John Bruins said. “The first time we played them was probably our worst game of the season. The leadership this year was outstanding and when we got to the locker room tonight, nobody thought it was going to be the last game of our season. It came down to the end and anybody could’ve won.”

The Vikings couldn’t help but feel like they had dodged a bullet on Monday night and co-head coach Kasey Krekling was just happy to have the season still going.

“They played a good game and we shot horrendously,” Krekling said. “They played great defense and forced us into some uncharacteristic turnovers. Hat’s off to them, they deserved to win almost as much as we did. It just came down to a couple of plays at the end.”

Hayfield will play No. 3 seeded Goodhue in the Section 1A semifinals in Mayo Civic Center Saturday at 2 p.m. The Vikings won both regular season meetings against the Wildcats, who have won the last two Minnesota Class A state titles.

Hayfield’s Olivia Matti attempts the game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation against Blooming Prairie in a Section 1A quarterfinal Mayo Civic Center in Rochester Monday. Rocky Hulne/

BP 25  29  7  2    63

Hayfield 23  31  7  6    67

Hayfield scoring: Olviia Matti, 21; Carrie Rutledge, 14; Maggie Streightiff, 15; Elecia Brown, 8; Kate Kruger, 6; Abby Stasko, 2; Emma Holst, 1; free throws: 63 percent (19-for-30); rebounds: 38 (Kruger, 16); turnovers: 20

BP scoring: Bobbie Bruns, 16; Megan Oswald, 15; McKenna Hein, 13; Sam Wurst, 13; Julia Worke, 6; Ayren Ingavlson, 2; free throws: 59 percent (10-for-17); rebounds: 51 (Oswald, 11; Wurst, 11); turnovers: 35