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SWC, H-BC, Windom, Redwood to play in sub-section finals

Longtime Section 3A rivals Southwest Minnesota Christian and Hills-Beaver Creek set up a fourth straight showdown in the sub-section tournament girls basketball finals Friday night by winning semifinal contests. The Eagles and the Patriots -- seeded one and two, respectively -- will play Monday at 7 p.m. in Edgerton for the right to challenge the north winner for a state tournament berth. In Section 3AA on Friday, Windom Area and Redwood Valley won their sub-section semifinal games. Windom Area, the top south seed, will host second-seeded Redwood Valley in Windom on Monday at 7 p.m.

031921 N DG Windom Eagles vs Montevideo S1 .jpg
Windom Eagles Allison Letcher (3) leaps between Montevideo Thunderhawks defenders Liv Gades (0) and Tenley Eperma (14) to score two points during Friday night's game March 19th 2021 in Windom. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

Longtime Section 3A rivals Southwest Minnesota Christian and Hills-Beaver Creek set up a fourth straight showdown in the sub-section tournament girls basketball finals Friday night by winning semifinal contests.

The Eagles and the Patriots -- seeded one and two, respectively -- will play Monday at 7 p.m. in Edgerton for the right to challenge the north winner for a state tournament berth.

In Section 3AA on Friday, Windom Area and Redwood Valley won their sub-section semifinal games. Windom Area, the top south seed, will host second-seeded Redwood Valley in Windom on Monday at 7 p.m.

A wrapup:

Section 3AA

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Windom Area 77, Montevideo 68

WINDOM — Allison Letcher carried Windom Area’s girls basketball team in the first half from the 3-point line.

Her Eagle pals took care of business down the stretch at the foul line.

Letcher scored 29 points and the Eagles shot 18-for-19 at the foul stripe in the final seven minutes en route to a 77-68 victory over the Montevideo Thunder Hawks.

Gracie Bucher made eight straight free throws down the stretch, Kendyl Sammons nailed a pair of important 3-pointers, and teammates Jadyn Wormstadt and Delaney Smith combined for 18 rebounds as the Eagles advanced.

“If you want to be special and have a team that goes on the run in the playoffs, you have to have different people step up,” said Windom coach Jacob Johnson. “We had a lot of them do that tonight.”

Montevideo got 34 points from talented forward Avery Koenen, a lean and long-limbed sophomore who scored at will in the first half as the Hawks led by as many as seven.

“She’s one of the best in southwest Minnesota, really quite a player,” said Johnson, whose team improved to 13-7. “I’m really happy with how our girls battled, especially after we got down in the first half.”

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Koenen and Hailey Dirksen each scored 13 first-half points as Montevideo, with three sophomores and a junior in the starting lineup, showed no signs of jitters against the veteran Eagles.

The Hawks scored the game’s first five points and led most of the first half, displaying an exceptional fastbreak attack and lethal low-post game with Koenen in a starring role.

But the Eagles kept pace.

Letcher shot 5-for-9 from distance and scored 21 points — four more than she averages — in the first stanza. The senior standout shot 7-for-12 overall in the first 18 minutes as the teams went to halftime tied at 35.

“I went into the gym early before the gym to shoot,” Letcher said. “I didn’t shoot well the game before so I wanted to make sure I came out ready.”

She certainly was. Many of her treys were from way downtown, high-archers that found nothing but net.

In the second half, her teammates got into the act from long range. Wormstadt drilled a long one early on, then Sammons came off the bench and immediately canned two straight 3-pointers.

“That’s a hard thing to do, to come off the bench cold,” Johnson said. “Those were two humongous 3-pointers when we really needed them.”

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Bucher’s little left-hander in the lane gave Windom a four-point lead with about eight minutes left, than a few moments later Kait Huska was fouled on a 3-point try. She made all three, starting a Windom parade to the foul line that resulted in a phenomenal 18-for-19 effort and allowed the Eagles to hang on.

Bucher had only two points in the first half. But the talented all-around Eagle athlete swished eight straight at the stripe and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Huska, the smooth-shooting junior guard, finished with 11 points, and the rugged Smith had 12 points and 11 boards. The Eagles finished with 11 3-pointers and a 22-for-26 effort overall from the foul line.

Dirksen had 15 points for Montevideo (14-5).

Windom’s fine senior class, which includes Letcher, Bucher, Smith and Wormstadt, is aiming high. The WHS girls basketball program has never earned a state tournament berth.

Now the Eagles are two victories away.

“The big thing we brought from our team last year into this year is when we end a half or end a game we never quit and we stay resilient,” Bucher said. “That’s what we knew we had to do tonight.”

Section 3A

H-BC 61, RRC 44

HILLS -- Employing stifling defense and holding a 33-21 rebounding edge, the second-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek Patriots withstood the third-seeded Red Rock Central Falcons.

Taryn Rauk led the Pats with 24 points. Abby Knobloch had 16 points, six assists and six steals. Kenadie Fick added 13 points and eight rebounds. And Allie LaRock had six rebounds.

Karli Arkell scored 23 points for RRC, helped by three 3-point shots. Lilly Stavnes scored eight points and Josie Horning scored seven. Talented guard Nicole Schroepfer was held to just two points.

RRC 24 44

H-BC 25 61

SWC 76, W-WG 33

EDGERTON -- Out-rebounding Westbrook-Walnut Grove 52-33 and coming up with 22 steals in the game, Southwest Christian won by a big margin.

Maren Nerem had 12 points and eight rebounds, Rylie Fey scored 12, Cybil Vander Top scored 11 with five steals, and Makenna Moss had 10 points and five rebounds.

For W-WG, Olivia Klumper scored 15 points while Abby Wiggins contributed seven.

The Chargers had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, but only two in the second half.

W-WG 16 33

Southwest 47 76

031921 N DG Windom Eagles vs Montevideo3.jpg
Windom Eagles Gracie Bucher crouches down to leap clear of Montevideo ThunderHawks defender Avery Koenen (22) during Friday night's game March 19th 2021 in Windom. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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