Mark Twain once said, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”
On Thursday night at Bloomington Jefferson High School, Holy Angels defeated Bloomington Kennedy 48-33 in the Class 3A, Section 3 championship for the second year in a row, adding a second measure to the tune that it began to play last year.
The win allows Holy Angels to defend its state title, won following a victory over Winona in Class 3A championship a year ago.
“It means we’ve arrived,” Holy Angels coach Dan Wood said. “Cinderella is not wearing slippers anymore. Cinderella has boots on – she’s going to work.”
The game was agonizingly tight through the first 18 minutes, with the Stars holding only a 23-20 lead at halftime. Both teams struggled with turnovers and neither side could generate much of a rhythm offensively.
However, Holy Angels’ defense rallied in the second half, holding Kennedy to just 13 points en route to the win.
The defensive catalyst for the Stars was senior guard Megan Thompson. The 5-foot-5 spark plug recorded seven steals to go with nine points in the game.
“You look at her complete game, it’s not about her point total. She’s not worried about that,” said Wood. “If you look at the steals, how she controls the halfcourt offense, it’s clear she is the engine that runs our squad. No ifs, ands or buts about it.”
While Thompson gorged herself in the passing lanes, sophomore forward Destinee Oberg took care of the glass, recording a double-double — 13 points and 13 rebounds — along with five assists.
“We really played team basketball. I knew I could rely on all my teammates even if I wasn’t getting it done. I knew they had my back,” Oberg said.
Oberg’s coach offered effusive praise for his underclass sensation.
“The key is that she’s just a sophomore. People haven’t seen her complete game. There’s so much that she can do,” he said. “If you watch her in practice, you’d be blown away. She has collegiate ability right now. The ceiling is huge for her still. She’s one of the top-recruited players of any sport in the state, boys or girls.”
Oberg is ranked as the fourth-best power forward nationwide in the class of 2019 by ESPN. While she is thrilled with her team’s success, she is not satiated.
“I’m not done getting better. There’s never something I can’t do to improve,” she said.
Junior guard Megan Meyer was also huge for the Stars, scoring 13 points and knocking down the biggest shot of the night for Holy Angels.
With the game tied 20-20 in the final seconds before halftime, Meyer banked home a three-pointer from just beyond the right elbow to give her team a lead going into the break.
In the second half, Holy Angels played with a deliberate and disciplined offense, cutting down on turnovers and lengthening the time of their possessions.
“We had the lead and they were packing in, so why would we take an extra chance when we don’t have to? We don’t practice [holding the ball] but if they’re going to back off, why not take what we can get? You’ve got to come take it from us. We put pressure on them to play defense,” Wood said.
The Stars’ patience and timely offense delivered them the section championship. Now, the team will have to shift its focus to the state tournament.
“This gives us the opportunity to see if we can do it one more time,” Wood siad. “We won’t be under the radar this time. We can show people there’s a change in our culture and that we’re for real.”
Holy Angels finished the regular season with an excellent 22-3 record and won the Tri-Metro Conference West Division with a perfect 6-0 mark.
Bloomington Kennedy, meanwhile, came up just short for the second straight year. The Eagles struggled to maintain positive momentum as they succumbed repeatedly to Holy Angels’ full-court press.
Although senior Honour Finley shined in the first half, her production was muted in the second. She recorded six of her eight points, four of her seven rebounds and both of her blocked shots in the game’s first period.
Sophomore Zaraya March led Kennedy with 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Kennedy finished the season with an overall record of 15-10, placing third in the Metro West Conference with a 9-5 record.
For the second straight season, Holy Angels defeated Bloomington Kennedy in the title game of the Class 3A, Section 3 tournament. Winning by a score of 48-33 at Bloomington Jefferson High School on Thursday, the Stars defended their section title and gave themselves a chance to defend their 2016 Class 3A state championship.
It was a close contest throughout the first half, with Holy Angels taking only a 23-20 lead into halftime. In the second period however, the Stars’ defense flourished, leading to the Holy Angels outscoring Kennedy 25-13 in the’ final 18 minutes. As a team, the Stars forced a dozen steals.
Sophomore Destinee Oberg led Holy Angels with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Megan Meyer contributed 13 points and senior guard Megan Thompson scored nine points and nabbed seven steals.
Sophomore Zaraya March led Bloomington Kennedy with 11 points. Senior Honour Finley and sophomore Samantha Husting chipped in eight points each.