Fulda shooting for back-to-back Class A championships, Hancock to challenge

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second time in this Class A state girls' basketball tournament, the Fulda Raiders simply outclassed and outplayed their opponents at the Target Center.

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second time in this Class A state girls' basketball tournament, the Fulda Raiders simply outclassed and outplayed their opponents at the Target Center.

Now, they're one game away from back-to-back championships.

Fulda (29-3) won its 10th straight game Friday, taking all the drama out of its semifinal contest with Badger/Greenbush-Middle River in a convincing 65-31 victory. The Raiders now advance to their second straight championship game, where they will take on Hancock, who defeated the state's top-ranked team, Ada-Borup, in the other semifinal, 66-50. Hancock will be making its first state tournament final appearance since winning the 1997 title.

"This is what we worked for all year," Fulda's Kaitlyn Kramer said. "We try not to think about it during the year, but it's always in the back of our mind."

Fulda shot 59 percent from the field on offense, forced 22 turnovers on defense and used a 20-2 run in the first half to grab an insurmountable 22-5 advantage.


"I knew they were going to come out and play us hard right away," Fulda head coach Gregg Slaathaug said. "If we could go on a run, I thought we could mess with their confidence a little bit. I think that happened."

The Gators (27-5) tried to utilize a full-court pressure defense against the Raiders, but were not able to get the turnovers they wanted. The Gators made only six shots in the first half, not allowing for many opportunities to use the press. And, when they did, the Raiders went over the top of the press with long passes, getting a number of easy layups.

"We were ready for it," Slaathaug said. "We knew we had to have patience and look down the floor."

"We're a little disappointed we didn't get some of those balls," B/G-MR head coach Tim Neibauer said. "I thought we could've tipped them. We wanted them to throw that pass."

Dribbling against the press was mostly handled by Sam Raddle, and the Fulda point guard didn't disappoint. Raddle, named last year's championship game MVP, scored only two points in the game and had three assists -- but she didn't turn the ball over once.

"I think Sam is the best point guard," Slaathaug said. "She's tough. She handles the ball, and she keeps it in the middle."

Kramer scored a game-high 24 points in the game for the Raiders and was the benefactor of a few of the long lob passes over the top of the press. Building the huge lead Fulda had didn't make the game less intense for Kramer and her teammates, but it did make it a little less stressful.

"It makes it more fun because we can relax," she said. "When we play relaxed, we play our best ball."


The Gators appeared overmatched on the first play of the game, as Raddle hit a streaking Kramer with a lob pass from half court, and the Raiders were ahead just four seconds in. B/G-MR came right back with a 3-point basket from Kaley Mekash, who finished with a team-best 11 points, but it was the only lead of the game for the Gators.

Mekash ended the game 5-for-18 from the field, and her struggles were indicative of how the team played the entire game. The rest of the Gators went 7-for-28 from the field and never found their footing. She was followed by Elizabeth Schenkey, who hit for 10 points. However, she had to work hard for her points against the Raiders' defense, hitting only 2-of-10 shots from the field.

Laura Kramer had 12 points in the contest and grabbed nine rebounds for Fulda, which outrebounded the Gators, 32-24. Mandy Gunderman added nine points off the bench.

B/G-MR 15 16 -- 31

Fulda 32 33 -- 65

B/G-MR (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Wicklund 0-1-0-2, Mekash 1-4-0-11, Wollin 0-3-0-6, Schenkey 0-2-6-10, Berg 0-1-0-2. Totals: 1-11-6-31.

Fulda (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): K.Kramer 1-10-1-24, L.Kramer 0-4-4-12, Sam Raddle 1-1-0-5, Sarah Raddle 1-0-0-3, Speckmeier 0-2-2-6, Kuehne 0-1-1-3, M.Gunderman 1-3-0-9, Paulzine 0-1-1-3. Totals: 4-22-9-65.

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