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From Simley’s standpoint, size matters.
“We have athletic-big kids,” Simley coach Tim Peper said. “We’ve been really blessed to have kids that size who are also very athletic.”
Abby Kain led No. 3-seeded Simley to a 64-52 win over No. 2 Hill-Murray on Tuesday in the Class 3A, Section 4 semifinals at Washington Tech High School in St. Paul, avenging an upset to to the Pioneers in last year’s Section 4 championship.
Kain, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, scored 25 points. Her long reach swatted the ball away from the Pioneers, and with an extra stride on most of the players on the court, she found herself on the fast break for the easy lay-up.
“We try to get steals so we can keep pushing the ball up court,” Kain said.
Kain’s offense sparked the Spartans' play on both sides of the ball.
“It feels nice - after they put an end to our season - to put an end to their’s,” said 6-3 senior forward Kylie Brown.
Brown is the Spartans' last line of defense. She mercilessly blocked shot after shot, including a late-game swat that sent vibrations through not only the crowd, but the entire building.
“Blocking is my favorite part of the game,” Brown said. “I think it’s a better sensation than scoring.”
“She does dominate,” Peper said. “She doesn’t always score the most points, but she dominates the game in so many other ways.”
Brown finished with 14 points, 10 coming in the first half.
With both Brown and Kain attracting double-teams with their size, Simley’s high-low is completed by senior Maya DeLao.
DeLao had a quiet first half but finished scoring all 10 of her points in the second half just as the Pioneers appeared to be crawling back into the game.
Simley will meet No. 1 New Prague Friday to decide the Section 4 entrant in the state Class 3A tournament.