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Minneota holds off furious comeback to win Class 1A championship

By JOEL RIPPEL, Star Tribune, 04/09/21, 2:45PM CDT


The Vikings held off Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa for a 48-45 victory to finish the season undefeated.

Minneota players celebrated winning the Class 1A title after holding off Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 48-45 on Friday at Target Center. Photo: Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

Going into the Class 1A championship game on Friday, Minneota had won 55 of its previous 56 games. In that time, only five of the Vikings’ victories were decided by less than 10 points.

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, the Vikings’ opponent on Friday, was involved in two of those games.

So when the Vikings opened a 16-point lead against the Jaguars, Minneota coach Chad Johnston didn’t relax.

“Never once did I feel comfortable,” Johnston said. “We knew at some point they would crank up their defensive pressure.”

The Jaguars stormed back to pull within one in the final 15 seconds before the Vikings held on for a 48-45 victory.

Minneota's Natalee Rolbiecki (12) is fouled under the basket in the first half of the Class 1A final Friday at Target Center. Rolbiecki led all scoring in the first half with 10 points. Photo: Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

First report

Minneota held on for a 48-45 victory over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Class 1A championship game on Friday at Target Center.

Minneota led by as many as 16 points in the second half before Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa outscored the Vikings 21-6 to pull within one, 46-45, with three seconds left.

Abby Hennen made two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining to clinch the victory for the Vikings (25-0).

Hennen and Abby Rost each scored 12 points to lead the Vikings, who earned their third state title since 2013. The Vikings won the title in 2019 and reached the semifinals in 2020 before the tournament was called off.

Allisa Knight and Josie Knutson each scored 11 for the Jaguars (23-2). Knutson scored five points in the final minute to pull the Jaguars within one.

Minnesota got off to a slow start with just one field goal in the game’s first six minutes. But midway through the first half, the Vikings put together a 14-2 run over a three-minute span to open a 23-10 lead. They held a 28-18 lead at halftime.

Check back later for more on the game.

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