Vikings can’t keep up with BOLD in state semifinals

Published 4:33 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

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MINNEAPOLIS -The Hayfield girls basketball team had its pursuit of its first ever state title come to a halt when it lost to No. 3 seeded BOLD 58-46 in a Class A semifinal of the Minnesota State Girls Basketball Tournament in Williams Arena Friday.

The Vikings had a brief 2-1 lead after Chelsea Christopherson scored, but BOLD scored the next 11 points and Hayfield never saw the lead again.

“It was a tough start for us. They were just more physical than us and with our lack of size and too many turnovers, it was tough,” Hayfield head coach Kasey Krekling said. “You give up too many chances to score against a good team and you’re not going to beat them.”

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Hayfield got within 50-46 when Chelsea Christopherson hit a three with 2:30 left and the Vikings had the ball down 51-46 with 2:10 left, but they then committed a turnover.

Hayfield senior Jojo Tempel hit a three-pointer to bring the Vikings within 37-34 early in the second half, but the Warriors scored the next eight points to take a 45-34 lead with 9:40 left.

BOLD was able to keep Hayfield’s top two scorers in check as Kristen Watson had three points and Natalie Beaver, who scored 31 points on Thursday, had just two points.

Watson and Beaver were both being face-guarded throughout the game.

“We’d seen a defense like this in practice before, but not in a game,” Krekling said. “We let one girl cover two too many times and our screens weren’t set hard enough. It was a lack of physicality.”

Beaver had been up the night before with an IV after she was vomiting due to an illness. Beaver still played the entire game on Friday.

“I didn’t feel the best today, but I had to go out there and compete. I had a little bit of energy today, but I got tired faster,” Beaver said. “I had to be out there for the team and this isn’t an opportunity you get very often.”

Chelsea Christopherson had a season’s best 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the Vikings and Tempel added 12.

“I just knew I had to shoot, because our top scorers were being face guarded,” Christopherson said. “I had to step up.”

Mackenzie Visser dominated the paint for BOLD as she scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked eight shots.

“It was very frustrating and their defense was good,” Watson said. “I would get by one girl and another girl would be there. That drop off was there and I missed it a few times.”

Tempel hit a pair of free throws to close the gap to 25-22 and Chelsea Christopherson converted a steal for a lay-up to bring Hayfield within 25-24 right before the half. Christopherson added another three to bring Hayfield within 31-28, but BOLD held a 33-28 lead at the break.

The Warriors (26-5 overall) opened the game by putting the clamps on Hayfield as they held the Vikings to one-of-10 shooting, while forcing six turnovers en route to taking a 12-2 lead in the game’s first six minutes.

Hayfield (29-4 overall) had won 13 games in a row headed into Friday’s contest.

Hayfield will play against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the third place game at the Gangelhoff Center at Concordia-St. Paul at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“We want to finish better than we did last year and we want to take third place,” Krekling said. 

Hayfield scoring: Chelsea Christopherson, 18; Jojo Tempel, 12; Emily Hansen, 7; Kristen Watson, 3; Natalie Beaver, 2

BOLD scoring: Lainey Braulick, 19; Mackenzie Visser, 18; Mari Ryberg, 15; Anna Moorse 3; Rylee Boen, 3