Lions down Fergus Falls 55-53
Providence Academy led wire to wire but survived a late threat by Fergus to win the Class AA Girls State Basketball Championship 55-53.
The Lions avenged a loss in the title game a year ago, earning the program its first state title since 2012. They entered the state tournament as the top seed in Class AA. The game was held March 19 from the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena.
Providence led by as much as 11 points in the first half. The Owls continued to climb back and close the gap, bringing it to two points with just two minutes left in the game. This was the smallest point differential of the game since 14 minutes left in the first half.
Junior Grace Counts got the Lions out to a strong start, scoring 13 points to go into halftime up 26-22. She finished with 17 points, 6 boards and 6 assists.
Senior Maria Counts took over in the second half of the game. She dominated inside with 16 of her team-high 19 points coming after the break. Her incredible run to close the game out included scoring 10 of the Lions’ last 12 points. She also had 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
Eighth-grader and future phenom Maddyn Greenway came up with the crucial defensive rebound as the Owls made their bid to make it a one-score game. She was fouled and sent to the line. She went one-of-two from the stripe to stretch the lead back to five points. Greenway finished with 15 points.
Brooke Hohenecker and Emma Millerbernd also contributed to the game in crucial moments.
Providence shot 40-percent from the field and 69-percent from the line. They held a 36-30 advantage on the glass and forced 12 Owls turnovers. The Lions posted a 17-10 assist to turnover ratio.
The Owls got a huge performance from senior Ellie Colbeck who scored a game-high 41 points. She played the entire 36 minutes of the game, also pitching in 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.