Minneota's Payton Boerboom (40) is pressured by Ada-Borup's Megan Kolness, left, during the first half action of the Class 1A championship game Saturday at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Photo: DAVID JOLES/STARTRIBUNE * firstname.lastname@example.org
As a free-throw attempt late in Satuday’s Class 1A girls’ basketball state championship game left her hand, Minneota’s Emily Stienessen thought the ball was on the mark.
As it rattled off the rim, teammate Taylor Reiss vowed to make the ball hers.
Reiss’s put-back layup became the key play down the stretch as the Vikings defeated Ada-Borup 61-51 for their first-ever state title.
“I wanted that rebound so I went after it,” said Reiss, who despite releasing the shot in midair from a reclined position, “felt like it was pretty automatic.”
That feeling best describes Reiss’s afternoon at Target Center. Reiss, a 5-foot-10 forward, led all scorers with 30 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds. She helped the taller Vikings out-rebound Ada-Borup 40-20 and hold a 20-4 edge in second-chance points such as her put-back.
Cougars coach Dave Smart said, “We get that rebound and we’re down three instead of five with about a minute and a half to go. That was definitely a back-breaker.”
Ada-Borup built a 29-27 halftime lead, scoring 13 points off Viking turnovers. But Minneota, losers to Ada-Borup in last season’s state tournament quarterfinals, took better care of the ball after halftime. The Cougars’ adjustments were less successful.
“We said we can’t give up this many offensive rebounds and expect to win the game,” Smart said. “It definitely came to fruition.”
Stienessen said she felt herself go from disappointed to delighted as Reiss “jumped right over both of their girls and put it back up.”
Reiss was not finished. Fouled on the next Vikings’ possession, she faced her own 1-and-1 and hit both shots.
Reiss and fellow sophomores Stienessen and Payton Boerboom closed out the victory by scoring a combined nine points on free throws.
“I was really proud of our sophomores,” junior forward Molly Hennen said. “Last year as a sophomore I was feeling a little nervous in the first round and today was for the state championship.”
1. Taylor Reiss (Minneota) - Ada-Borup just didn't have an answer for Reiss. The super Sophomore scored at will in pacing Minneota with 30 points and 12 rebounds. She was strong with the ball and positioned herself perfectly for rebounds. She'll be a force for the next few years for the Vikings.
2. Emily Stienessen (Minneota) - Stienessen scored 9 of her 11 points in the 2nd half and finished with 3 boards, 1 block, 1 assist, and 1 steal. She also knocked down 5-7 FT's including some timely ones down the stretch.
3. Heidi Eggen (Ada-Borup) - Eggen was big in keeping Ada-Borup in the game during the second half. She shot 5-8 from the field and scored all 11 of her points in the 2nd half, which was half of the Cougars total 2nd half points.
- Pete Heldstab, MN Girls Basketball Hub