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Monticello's Grace Sawatzke stole the ball from behind Fergus Falls Bailey Strand during the second half of class 3A quarterfinals at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Min., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Monticello won in double overtime over Fergus Falls 7

Help from the champs?

Two-time defending Class 3A champion DeLaSalle may have helped semifinal opponent Monticello get as far as it’s come this year.

Monticello made its first-ever state tournament appearance last year, but it didn’t go so well. DeLaSalle trounced the Magic by 29 points.

“We got our butts handed to us,” said Grace Sawatzke, Monticello’s leading scorer. “This year since we’ve been here before we know what to expect.”

That experience and a tough schedule that included some 4A schools helped the Magic, players said after their come-from-behind, two-overtime victory over previously unbeaten Fergus Falls.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to beat them this time,” Kallie Gau said. “I mean, second chance, what more can you ask for?”

DEREK WETMORE

A town hits town

With his Pine Island girls’ basketball team in the locker room at halftime of its first-ever state tournament game, Panthers activities director Craig Anderson said he took part in a local radio station interview to “talk to the three fans still in town.”

Pine Island saw its first basketball team of either gender qualify for state. The Panthers lost 33-22 but fans were there en masse.

“Somebody told me we have 12 fan buses up here and the community is 3,000 people,” Anderson said. The school is about 70 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. “We’ve got good kids who are the pillars of the community so it’s easy to rally around them.”

DAVID LA VAQUE

One better half

St. Michael-Albertville knew it would take something special to upset No. 1 Hopkins.

“We ran a defense we had never run before and bought into it,” senior guard Jordan Hansen said. “We came out in the second half to stop them from scoring.”

The Knights, however, had started the game with their usual defensive approach. The Royals led 40-22 at halftime. The second-half change proved to be more effective, but too late. But more importantly, the change allowed St. Michael-Albertville to be more efficient on offense. The Knights were outscored only 37-36 in the second half.

JASON GONZALEZ

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