Becker guard Adeline Kent (11) runs into two Totino-Grace defenders in the first half Saturday. [Alex Kormann, Star Tribune)
Becker girls’ basketball coach Dan Baird took a moment after Saturday’s Class 3A state tournament championship game to congratulate victorious Totino-Grace.
He told Eagles’ coach Mary Dengerud, “I said to my girls that she would have to get 30 points to beat us. And she did.”
She was senior guard Hannah Herzig, whose monster first half set a 60-51 upset of defending champion Becker in motion.
Herzig scored 21 of her team’s first half total as No. 3 seed Totino-Grace (23-8) led 28-24 at the break. She finished Saturday’s game at Williams Arena with 31 points.
“It feels amazing,” said Herzig, who is committed to Minnesota State, Mankato. “I never in a million years would have thought that I’d be at the state championship game with my best friends that I’ve played with since fifth grade.”
Dengerud said she never had the pleasure of watching a player carry a team the way Herzig did Saturday. To mangle a slogan made popular by a certain major credit card company, Herzig was everywhere Becker didn’t want her to be.
The 6-foot guard dribbled the ball up the court. She made two of three shots from the three-point arc. She swooped to the basket for reverse lay-ups. And she used her wingspan to clog passing lanes, grabbing four steals.
“I knew Becker would have a tough time,” Dengerud said. “When you have a 6-foot guard, that’s a little more intimidating. We knew we had an advantage there.”
No. 1 seed Becker (25-5) got outrebounded 37-28 and turned the ball over 17 times. The Bulldogs couldn’t shoot their way back into contention, either. They finished 6-for-26 from the three-point line.
“We’re a 40% team and we shot 23% tonight,” Baird said. “A big part of that is their defense. They were extending us further and constantly tipping the ball.”
The Bulldogs had their 19-game winning streak snapped. Senior guard Adeline Kent led her team with 18 points. She and junior guard Ayla Brown spent time covering Herzig, without much success.
“We were trying to devote attention to her,” Baird said. “But she just rose up and made unbelievable plays. Her size gave us trouble. Fantastic player. Fantastic game.”
Kent plays AAU ball with Herzig in the offseason and said her rival Saturday is a good friend off the court.
“We’re pretty close,” Kent said. “I love Hannah. She’s super sweet. And she works hard. I was hoping to shut her down, but you can only do what you can do.”
The Eagles’ student section serenaded Herzig with chants of “MVP” after the game, as players lined up to receive their medals. Totino-Grace, a private school located in Fridley, previously won a state title in 2008.
The Totino-Grace girls’ basketball team capped its Class 3A state tournament run with a 60-51 upset of defending champion Becker.
The third-seeded Eagles (23-8) led much of Saturday’s game at Williams Arena, thanks in large part to senior guard Hannah Herzig. She scored 21 of her team’s first half total as Totino-Grace led 28-24 at the break. She finished with a game-high 31 points.
No. 1 seed Becker (25-5) battled throughout but could not overtake the Eagles. The Bulldogs had their 19-game winning streak snapped. Senior guard Adeline Kent led her team with 18 points.
Totino-Grace, a private school located in Fridley, previously won a state title in 2008.