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11qqaaCongratulations to Providence Academy girls basketball team who punched their ticket to the MSHSL State Tournament last night at Halenbeck Hall on the campus of St. Cloud State University with a 49-38 victory over Watertown-Mayer (22-8).

Offensively, the Lions (25-5) were led by the freshman dynamic duo of Kyra Miller who scored 16 points and Grace Counts who added 14 victory over the Royals. But it was the defense led by seniors Madie Anderson and Hailey Hohenecker sealed the win. Anderson and Hohenecker, along with junior defensive specialist Olivia Klammer held the Royals star junior guard and Gopher recruit Maggie Czinano to 17 points, 10 points below her season average and that was that.

The Royals jumped out to an early lead on the hot shooting of Czinano along with seniors Shelby Mueller and Libby Heilman but the patient Lions chipped away and took a 25-22 lead at halftime.

The second half was a battle as the two squads exchanged volleys and, in the end, the Lions went on a 13-3 tear to put the game away and earn a trip to State!

Of the team's success Head Coach Conner Goetz explains, "Our team captains started off this year reading the book "Toughness" by Jay Bilas. It's a book that makes you rethink what the word tough means. It's not about being extra physical or flexing your muscle, but about doing the little things that make your team better. Things like communicating on defense, having a next play mentality, boxing out on every single shot, and helping a teammate up when they hit the floor. These are the sorts of things that our captains and leaders bought into during this basketball season. Those are the little things that help teams win games when it comes down to the wire."

Goetz continues, "Our goal this year was to focus on one game at a time, one possession at a time. If we could win every possession we played, we felt good about our chances this year. I am so incredibly proud to coach a team of girls who play for each other every time they step out onto the court. We still are not done with our mission and we plan to make the most out of every second we get on the court."

The MSHSL Class 2AA tournament starts on Wednesday, March 11 and the Lions will play Sauk Centre at 6:00 p.m. in  Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

Tickets will be available at the venue box office one-hour prior to each session.
Quarterfinals ticket prices are $16.00 for adults and $10.00 for students.

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