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Becker knocks off defending 3A champion Cooper

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 03/14/19, 3:00PM CDT


Two free throws by sophomore Julia Bengtson with 10.2 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 68-66 victory over the tournament's No. 2 seed.

Becker's Dani Nuest drove to the basket as Cooper's Jayla Reliford defended in the first half of the Class 3A semifinal Thursday at Williams Arena. Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES • liz.flores@startribune.com

One night after praying her three-pointer at the buzzer would drop, guard Courtney Nuest and her Becker teammates received some divine intervention on the defensive end.

With two seconds left, Robbinsdale Cooper sophomore Kierra Wheeler drove for the tying layup and perhaps a foul. But the ball stayed out and the Bulldogs scored a 68-66 upset of the defending Class 3A state champions.

No. 3 seed Becker (27-4) led 40-34 at halftime and did not wilt in the second half against the second-seeded Hawks’ vaunted pressure defense.

Bulldogs coach Dan Baird said his team carries “a no-quit attitude. If you notice, our girls don’t hang their heads too much. They just play ball.”

Cooper found it tougher to play their preferred style as foul calls mounted. For the game, the Hawks picked up 19 fouls to Becker’s nine.

First report

Becker engineered a 68-66 upset victory against defending Class 3A state champion Robbinsdale Cooper in Thursday’s semifinal played at Williams Arena.

The Bulldogs led 40-34 at halftime and did not wilt in the second half against the Hawks’ vaunted pressure defense.

Trailing throughout the second half, Cooper finally tied the game at 66-66 but Becker's Julia Bengtson was fouled as she drove a go-ahead score. She made the first free throw, then, after a timeout, made the second one as well.

No. 3 seed Becker advances to face No. 1 DeLaSalle in the championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Williams Arena.

Check back later for more on the game.

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