Luverne sent packing by St. James

The Section 3AA South girls' basketball title game will feature the top two seeds of the tournament, as No. 1 Pipestone Area and No. 2 St. James both advanced with semifinal victories Tuesday night.

The Section 3AA South girls' basketball title game will feature the top two seeds of the tournament, as No. 1 Pipestone Area and No. 2 St. James both advanced with semifinal victories Tuesday night.

St. James held off a late rally to defeat the third-seeded Luverne Cardinals, 69-65, in a thrilling nightcap.

Earlier, Pipestone Area overcame an injury to Paige Pals and foul trouble to defeat fourth-seeded Jackson County Central, 64-55.

The Arrows (19-8) and Saints (18-6) will play for the Section 3AA South championship Friday night in Worthington with a tip time of 7 p.m.

St. James 69, Luverne 65


St. James opened up a 16-point lead (56-40) following three straight baskets by Breau Miller with 8:31 left in the ballgame.

Luverne, however, came back to within five (67-62) following a three-pointer by Mindy Nieuwboer with 55 seconds remaining.

With the same score, the Cardinals' Erin Hoiland drilled a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to make it 67-65, and Luverne quickly called a timeout.

The Cardinals then fouled St. James' floor general, Jenny Ewert, with 12.2 ticks left. The junior knocked down both free throws, and then blocked Maggie Kuhlman's three-point attempt with four seconds left to seal the four-point victory for the Saints.

"When you got the number two and three seeds playing, you expect a great game," Saints head coach Dan Wolfe said. "At this time of year, all you want to do is advance, and we did that."

St. James was able to open up such a large lead because of the penetration and inside play of Miller (16 points) and Anna Tuura (17 points).

Those two were able to get into the paint against Luverne, knocking down 21 combined points in the final 18 minutes of play.

"I thought that was the difference," Cardinals head coach Jason Phelps said. "We had some problems defending them, as we gave them too many easy baskets."


The first half was back-and-forth, as Luverne was able to effectively get the ball inside to Samantha Gacke for buckets, while Tori Snyder, Alyssa Klein and Kuhlman knocked down perimeter shots.

However, St. James shut down Gacke in the second half, as she was held scoreless after tallying 11 points in the first half.

St. James started its surge just before halftime, as three-pointers by Ewert and Miller (just before the buzzer) made it 35-29 at the intermission.

The Saints then gradually stretched the lead to 16 after the three straight baskets by Miller before Luverne rallied back.

Nieuwboer scored all 19 of her points in the second half to help the Luverne comeback, while Klein and Gacke each finished with 11 points for the Cardinals, who finished the season at 14-11.

Ewert (14) and Courtney Runge (13) joined Miller and Tuura in double-figure scoring for St. James.

Luverne 29 36 -- 65

St. James 35 34 -- 69


LUVERNE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Klein 1-4-0-11, Nieuwboer 2-4-5-19, To. Snyder 0-3-0-6, Kuhlman 2-4-0-14, Hoiland 1-0-0-3, Vogt 0-0-1-1, Gacke 0-4-3-11. Totals: 6-19-9-65.

ST. JAMES (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Ewert 2-1-6-14, C. Runge 0-4-5-13, Miller 1-6-1-16, Dammer 0-1-0-2, Tuura 0-7-3-17, J. Runge 0-2-3-7. Totals: 3-21-18-69.

Pipestone Area 64, JCC 55

Pressure defense and strong rebounding were the keys for Pipestone Area, which used several scoring bursts to open up large leads, but the scrappy Huskies kept battling back.

The Huskies had a number of opportunities late in the game to cut the deficit smaller, but the shots wouldn't fall, and the Arrows held on for the victory.

"We knew this was going to be a battle," Arrows head coach Jay Johnson said. "They are so physical, and they did a good job of taking some things away from us."

Mixing in a 1-2-1-1 zone trap with man-to-man full-court pressure, the Arrows were able to keep JCC's guards in check, but they also picked up a lot of fouls because of their aggressive play.

The Arrows had three players (Ashley Weatherly, Larissa Veldhuizen and Erica Darveaux) foul out, and Pals go out early with an injury. However, they responded well, and earned the victory.


"We did a pretty good of overcoming the physical play of JCC, and using our athleticism throughout the game to make some big plays," Johnson said.

The Arrows started to open up a nice cushion with about seven minutes remaining in the first half, as back-to-back steals and lay-ups by Weatherly and Faith Tinklenberg made it 25-14.

The margin was stretched out to as much as 13 points (36-23) before JCC used a 6-0 run, capped by Traci Fransen's buzzer-beating putback basket, right before halftime to pull within seven (36-29) heading into the break.

The Huskies then cut the lead to four when Fransen drained a three-pointer 40 seconds into the second half, but the Arrows responded by going on a 10-2 run over the next six minutes to go up by 12 (46-34).

Tinklenberg, who scored a game-best 24 points, had seven points in that spurt, as she converted lay-ups on two steals to go with a three-point play after a beautiful bounce pass from Weatherly.

JCC, which was just 5-of-16 from the free-throw line, came back, however, as Fransen hit another trey to make it 61-55 with 1:52 showing on the clock.

But that was the last basket the Huskies would hit. Megan Bezdicek missed a three-pointer with 35 seconds left, and the Arrows, up 64-55, ran out the clock.

Tinklenberg, Veldhuizen and Kelsey Lorenzen each picked up four steals for the Arrows, and Weatherly scored 15 points, including three three-pointers in the first half against JCC's 2-3 zone.


Fransen finished with 19 points, and Brooke Burmeister (11) and Anna Meneely (10) also scored in double figures for the Huskies, who end their season at 8-18.

JCC 29 26 -- 55

Pipestone Area 36 28 -- 64

JCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Be. Burmeister 0-1-0-2, Bezdicek 1-2-2-9, Meneely 0-5-0-10, Rubis 0-1-0-2, Br. Burmeister 0-4-3-11, Fransen 3-5-0-19, Oelke 0-1-0-2. Totals: 4-19-5-55.

PIPESTONE AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Veldhuizen 0-1-0-2, Tinklenberg 0-11-2-24, Lorenzen 1-1-2-7, Darveaux 0-1-0-2, Kocourek 0-2-5-9, Weatherly 3-2-2-15, Vanderpoel 0-0-2-2, Rowden 0-1-1-3. Totals: 4-19-14-64.

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