Bethlehem Academy's Megan Hoisington and Upsala's Alissa Zehrer fought for a loose ball Thursday in a Class 1A quarterfinal game at Williams Arena. Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune * [email protected]
An early second-half run fueled Bethlehem Academy of Faribault’s 66-51 victory against Upsala in Thursday’s Class 1A girls’ basketball state quarterfinal at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Bethlehem Academy led 30-28 at halftime then embarked on a 13-0 run to start the second half. Ranked No. 3 in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll, Bethlehem Academy never looked back against ninth-ranked Upsala.
“I thought it would be a close game all the way through so I’m really proud of the girls for coming out and executing that way,” Bethlehem Academy coach Tammy Filzen said. “We didn’t make a lot of adjustments at halftime but enough to get us solid in what we wanted defensively.”
Said Upsala coach Paul Pelzer: “Falling behind to a team with that much talent is tough to get back.”
A stout defense forced 12 steals, leading to a 21-7 edge in points off turnovers. Bethlehem Academy also dominated inside, outscoring Upsala 36-6 in the paint. Senior center Hana Palmer scored 22 points on nine-of-10 shooting from the field.
“We told her, ‘You’re going to have some opportunities inside. We want you to be strong, go right up with it and finish,’” Filzen said. She did and that was a huge difference for us.”
Upsala’s Kaelin Smieja led all scorers with 23 points and tied a state tournament record with seven three-pointers.
DAVID La VAQUE
1. Kaelin Smieja, Upsala : With a high of 23 points and a record tying 7 three pointers, she takes the number one spot for her perfomance today.
2. Hana Palmer, Bethlehem Academy: The number two spot goes to Hana Palmer for her performance today with 22 points, 6 rebounds.
3. Jessie Mathews, Bethlehem Academy: With a high of 9 rebounds in today's game and a total of 16 points. Jessie Matthews made her way to the free throw line 11 times, scoring 10 of those times.