Maria Counts (42) of Providence Academy controlled a rebound over Erin Knisley (55) of New London-Spicer in the Class 2A semifinal at Target Center. Photo: Jerry Holt •Jerry.Holt@startribune.com
Grace Counts’ fairly quiet game for Providence Academy changed when the outcome was on the line.
The sophomore forward scored six of the Lions’ final nine points over the final four minutes, 21 seconds. She also blocked a potential go-ahead three-pointer with four seconds left, helping Providence Academy knock off No. 1-ranked New London-Spicer 58-54 in the Class 2A semifinals at Target Center.
“Grace was locked in on the switch off the screen,” Lions coach Conner Goetz said. “It showed her versatility and all-around ability.”
Counts didn’t leave her feet on a pump fake, then used her height to block Mackenzie Rich’s three-point try with the Lions (22-1) holding a 56-54 lead. Rich had a game-high 18 points, including three three-pointers, for the Wildcats.
Grace Counts was having a fairly quiet day for Providence Academy. That was until the game was on the line.
The sophomore forward blocked a potential go-ahead three-pointer in the waning seconds, helping Providence Academy knock off No. 1-ranked New London-Spicer 58-54 in the Class 2A girls’ basketball state tournament semifinals at Target Center.
Counts stayed in good position and didn’t leave her feet before using her height advantage to block Mackenzie Rich’s three-pointer with six seconds left, and the Lions (22-1) holding a 56-54 lead. Rich had a game-high 18 points, including three three-pointers. She then sank two game-sealing free throws with 2.4 seconds left.
Lions seventh-grader and leading-scorer Maddyn Greenway scored eight consecutive points in the second half, turning a one-point deficit into a 41-34 lead . Greenway was struggling from the floor (3-for-15) when she went on the run. She made the second of two free throws to tie it before making a three-pointer, followed by back-to-back jumpers. She finished with 16 points.
Freshman Brooke Hohenecker shouldered the burden for the Lions up to that point. The left-hander drained five of her first six shots, including four three-pointers, against New London-Spicer’s stingy 2-3 zone defense. That helped the Lions build a 27-13 lead with 5:22 left in the first half. She scored 14 of her 16 points during the quick start.
Once she cooled off, so did the Lions. New London-Spicer scored the final 11 points of the half to pull within 27-24 at the intermission. The Wildcats (22-1) scored 10 of the first 16 points of the second half to take a 34-33 lead before Greenway’s run.
Check back later for more on the game.