The celebration of 100 years of state basketball tournaments continues with the announcement of the top games in the history of the girls' state tourney. These lists (links at the bottom of this installment) have been compiled with the assistance of a committee of basketball historians and experts from around Minnesota. These announcements and other activities related to 100 years of state tourneys lead into this year's tournaments — the girls will play this week at Williams Arena and Target Center, March 14-17, and the boys will do the same next week, March 21-24.
TOP GIRLS' GAMES
|Osseo 66, Rochester Mayo 58 -- 1996 Class AA Semifinal|
Osseo led 11-0, but Rochester Mayo battled back to lead 48-43 in the third quarter. Osseo had been held scoreless for six minutes, but Erin Skelly scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to put Osseo back on top 54-48. A three by Kelly Miller got the Spartans within three at 58-55, but the Orioles then scored the next five points to ice it. An Osseo zone defense "slowed down the Millers." Meanwhile, "Osseo likes to push the ball," said coach Dave Thorpe. "We didn't want to get into a slow down game with them." Skelly scored 20 points, while Erica Haugen added 14 with three assists, two steals and just three turnovers against "constant defensive pressure."
|Rochester Mayo 78, Bloomington Jefferson 70 -- 1997 Class AAAA Semifinal|
Bloomington Jefferson led Rochester Mayo 67-58 with 4:31 remaining. Extra challenges surfaced for the Jefferson Jaguars when freshman Megan Kane fouled out. She had guarded one or the other of the Miller twins, Coco and Kelly, all game long. "Take out a six-foot person with long arms (and) put in someone who is 5-6. There's a big difference," said Jefferson coach Terry Hunst. Meanwhile, the Millers "created havoc" for Jefferson ball handlers. Mayo outscored Jefferson 27-12 in the fourth quarter, including a 20-3 run over the final three-and-a-half minutes. The Millers scored the final 18 Mayo points, including 10 free throws, to finish with 50 points between them.
|Bloomington Kennedy 44, Hopkins 38 (OT)-- 2005 Class AAAA Championship|
Both Hopkins and Bloomington Kennedy came into the tournament with just two losses and were regarded as co-favorites. In the final, Hopkins built a 24-17 lead. But Kennedy ripped off a 12-2 run in the second half, so that Hopkins needed a Caitlin Rowland three with 23 seconds remaining to force OT. Kennedy scored the first nine points of overtime to get the win. Jenna Smith scored 20 points with 14 rebounds for Kennedy.
|Jordan 79, Crookston 74 -- 2008 Class AA Semifinal|
Five minutes into the second half, the favored Crookston Pirates led Jordan 45-36. From there, Jordan's Brittany Chambers scored 27 of the Jaguars' final 43 points for a tournament record of 47 points. She finished making 16-of-27 field goals and 14-of-16 free throws, while also adding 12 rebounds and four steals. Her 47 points broke the tournament single-game record of Albany's Kelly Skalicky, who scored 45 in 1981, and this remains the highest scoring game ever in the girls' tournament.
|St. Paul Central 49, Minneapolis South 44 – 2008 Class AAAA Championship|
St. Paul Central was the defending Class AAAA champion, but No. 1-seeded South (29-1) had beaten Central 72-62 in the regular season and 82-73 in the Twin City Game, and was heavily favored to defeat the Minutemen (27-4). Instead, Central came from nine points back to tie it up at 34 and, again, at 44-all. A Kyana Johnson layup at 1:00 gave Central the lead for good. South's Tayler Hill finished with just nine points, the lowest total of her career, thanks very largely to the defensive play of Central's Cyona West.
OTHER NOTABLE SHOTS
Bloomington Jefferson 54, St. Paul Central 53 -- 1978 Class AA Semifinal
Jefferson led throughout, including 43-34 and 54-49 with 1:56 left to play. Vicki Young scored for the Minutemen to make it 54-51. Each side then failed to score thereafter, until Central's Lisa Lissimore hit a jumper as time expired.
New York Mills 61, Albany 52 -- 1979 Class A Championship
They say that you've got to beat the best to be the best. Janet Karvonen and New York Mills had the good fortune to find a worthy foe in Albany and guard Kelly Skalicky. The Mills Eagles raced to a 33-17 halftime lead as Skalicky "tried to do too much." After three quarters it was 49-30. Albany settled down in the fourth quarter and sliced 10 points off Mills' lead, but the game was not as close as the final score of 61-52 suggests. Karvonen hit 15 of 28 shots and scored a record 38 points, adding 13 rebounds. Albany coach Nancy Way was in awe. "She's something else," she said.
Alexandria 52, Minneapolis North 43 -- 1997 Class AAA Championship
Alexandria surprised the Polars 52-43 after trailing through the first half by as many as 11 points. But the Cardinals came back to lead 34-31 and 39-36 when North's Tamara Moore fouled out with 4:44 to go. Moore had scored 17 points in the first half but did not score in the second. Alexandria then ripped off seven straight points to ice the win.
Becker 41, DeLaSalle 39 -- 2007 Class AAA Championship
The score was tied 13 times and the largest lead for either team was four points. DeLaSalle led 23-19 late in the first half. The score was tied at 39 and just a few seconds remained on the clock when Becker in-bounded the ball. The first option, Brianna Mastey, was covered, so the ball swung to Rey Robinson near the free throw line. She hit only her second bucket of the night with one second remaining, giving Becker the title.