|3/3/2020 11:35:00 PM|
Eagle girls advance to first-ever section finals
Windom 30-24 = 54
Luverne 23-29 = 52
For the first time in team history, the Windom girls basketball team will play in the section championship game.
Allison Letcher's 12-foot runner rolled around the rim and down as the buzzer sounded Tuesday night, giving the Eagle girls a thrilling 54-52 victory over top-seeded Luverne in the Section 3AA South finals, played at Worthington.
Letcher's game-winner came after the Cardinals had tied the game moments earlier with a 10-foot floater by Elise Ferrell. After a time out, the Eagles quickly inbounded the ball to half-court, with a pass flipped to Letcher. Letcher drove into the lane and put up a runner while surrounded by Cardinal defenders. The ball rolled around the entire rim before dropping through the net as the horn sounded.
Windom started the game strong, building an 11-point lead in the first half behind five first-half three-pointers. Meanwhile, the Eagle defense held Luverne's leading scorer, Mallory Thorson, scoreless in the first half. Windom led 30-23 at halftime.
Luverne started the second half with a quick 6-0 run, pulling to within a point, before the Eagles built the lead back up to six points. But Luverne slowly clawed its way back into the game, pulling to within 45-43 with just over four minutes to play.
Down the stretch, the Eagles sputtered somewhat from the free throw line, allowing Luverne to briefly take a lead. But a Letcher lay-up and a basket by Delaney Smith pushed the Eagle lead back to three.
The Cardinals cut the lead to one with a bucket, but the Eagles hit 1-of-2 from the line with 14 seconds left, taking a 52-50 lead.
Luverne quickly pushed upcourt, with Farrell taking the Cardinals' final shot of the game with 5.2 seconds left on the clock, tying the game at 52-52.
After a time out, the Eagles inbounded to Gracie Bucher at halfcourt, who flipped the ball to Letcher. Letcher drove into the lane in the closing seconds for the game-winning bucket as time expired.
Letcher finished with 19 points to lead the Eagles. Shelby Erickson chipped in 11, including a trio of first-half three-pointers. Smith added nine points in the win.
With the victory, the Eagles will face the north sub-section's top-seeded team, New London-Spicer, in the Section 3AA finals. That game will be played Friday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, beginning at 8 p.m. NLS advanced to the section finals with a 54-30 victory over Eden Valley-Watkins Tuesday.