Unseeded Lions Top Second Seed in State Quarterfinals
The MSHSL Class 2AA tournament opened on Wednesday, March 11 and the Lions played Sauk Centre at 6:00 p.m. in Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
Not since 2013 have the Providence Academy Lions been counted among the teams at the MSHSL Class 2AA girls basketball tournament. The Lions were among the non-ranked teams and had the unfriendly draw of number two ranked Sauk Center as their first round opponent in the 2020 MSHSL State girls basketball tournament. In a back and forth first half the Lions found themselves down by six at the half. Not to be denied, Providence Academy roared back to out score number two ranked Sauk Center 33-22 in the second half to upset the Mainstreeters 47-45.
Of the game Coach Goetz describes, “We felt a lot of love from our school and community today. It was so amazing to see the girls walk out with the support of the band, support staff, teachers, and fellow students. We can't thank everyone enough for all the support.”
Offensively, the Lions were led by freshman Kyra Miller with 14 points, fellow freshman Grace Counts added 12 points and senior Hailey Hohenecker chipped in 11 points in the victory. Defensively, the Counts sisters accounted for 18 rebounds and seniors Madie Anderson, Hohenecker and Lauren Kettler combined for another 17 rebounds in the effort.
Sophomore Maria Counts led the way with five critical steals and Kettler paved the way with three blocked shots but none was bigger than the Maria Counts block with 10 seconds left and the senior Madie Anderson recovery to seal the final Lions victory.
Goetz summerizes, “Tonight's game was all about resilience. We shot poorly in the first half, only knocking down 4 shots, but our defense and free throw shooting were able to keep us in the game. When the second half came around we knew we had to keep them off the offensive rebounds and our girls stepped up big time to the challenge. We were able to slowly chip away at their halftime lead and then build a double digit lead of our own. It was our ability to stick together in the end that allowed us to come away with the victory. We'll need to keep that going if we want to continue to win more games in this tournament.”