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CLASS A GIRLS BASKETBALL: Minneota ready for rematch against BBE in championship clash

Independent file photo Minneota’s Abby Rost looks to drive past a Mountain Iron-Buhl defender during their Class A semifinal game on Tuesday. Minneota will face BBE today in the championship game.

MINNEOTA — The Minneota girls basketball team has seen two very contrasting games so far at the Class A tournament, but both have ended with the most important ingredient: getting a win.

After cruising past Houston in the quarterfinals on March 30, Minneota had to battle back from a slow start against Mountain Iron-Buhl in the semifinals Tuesday and trailed by three at halftime. The Vikings kept working, though, and rallied to earn a nail-biting 54-53 victory on a game-winning free throw by Abby Hennen with 2.1 seconds remaining.

Now, Minneota will have another opportunity to bring home some hardware when it takes on Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Class A championship game today at 1 p.m. at Target Center. Minneota will look to bring home its third championship overall and first since the 2018-19 season.

Earlier in the season, the Vikings defeated BBE 42-38 at home on Feb. 20 in a battle of Top 5 teams. That was BBE’s only loss on the season to this point, and Minneota coach Chad Johnston knows that not much will change from their previous matchup.

“It won’t be that different; they hang their hat on defense and it was a low-scoring event when we played them, so it’ll be another defensive battle,” Johnston said. “The key for us will be handling their pressure and intensity, it’s what we’ve seen from them all year.”

BBE (23-1) will be led by a strong senior class, including Karsee Kampsen, Jackie Lindsay, Allisa Knight and Jozey Goodall. They have averaged 65 points per game this season while also allowing just 36 points per game.

Minneota (24-0) has a balanced group of veteran leaders and youth, but have shown a lot of experience. The Vikings will be led by Abby Hennen, Natalee Rolbiecki, Abby Rost, Jeren Rost, McKenzie Tolk, McKenna Yost and Ireland Stassen. Minneota has averaged 67 points per game this season while holding opponents to nearly 39 points per game.

Johnston said they’ve been working on playing efficiently on offense and preparing for BBE’s defensive pressure.

“We’ve been working a lot on our offense, especially just cleaning up stuff in our half-court. We did a terrible job with our screening so we need to do a better job of that and be able to take some pressure off our guards when they are handling the ball,” Johnston said. “We also just need to be prepared for the defensive pressure that BBE will bring the whole game.”

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