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Girls Basketball: NLS fourth in Class AA

ST. PAUL — Claire Killian scored 24 points and Watertown-Mayer held off a late New London-Spicer rally to win the Class AA third-place game in the Minnesota State Girls Basketball Tournament on Saturday at the Gangelhoff Center on the Concordia-St. Paul campus.

A long scoring drought in the first half helped the Royals take a five-point halftime lead, and NLS' rally from seven points down in the second half fell just short in the final seconds.

The Wildcats, playing in the program's 17th state tournament, finished 27-5. They were playing in their third state tournament in the last four years and NLS was the Class AA runnerup last season.

In Saturday's Class AA championship game, Roseau capped an undefeated season with a 75-64 win over Sauk Centre. The Rams, who defeated NLS in the Class AA semifinals on Friday, finished 32-0.

With the victory, the Royals swepts is three games against the Wildcats, their Wright County Conference rival, and finished 28-4.

W-M defeated NLS by 15 points in Jan. 19 game but needed two overtimes to edge the Wildcats 71-68 eight days later.

On Saturday, a Brooke Beuning 3-pointer gave NLS its first lead at 10-8, and a Shea Oman 3-pointer gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game at 21-14 with 7:14 to play in the first half.

But the Wildcats went cold after that. A 7-0 W-M run tied the game at 21 and Killian's layup with 3:54 left put the Royals up 23-21.

They wouldn't trail again. NLS was stuck on 21 for five minutes and scored only five points the final seven minutes of the half and W-M led 31-26 at the break.

The Royals nursed their lead in the second half and Killian's layup with 1:36 to play gave them a 49-43 lead.

Oman hit a 3-pointer with 1:19 left and she laid in a shot 20 seconds later off a Kabrie Weber steal to make it a one-point game.

After a missed W-M free throw and jumper, Weber rebounded to give the Wildcats one last shot. But Killian's steal with 11 seconds sealed the deal.

Oman led all scorers with 29 points and she also had six steals. Morgan Swenson had seven points and 11 rebounds, and Brooke Beuning also scored seven points.

W-M 49, NLS 48

NLS (27-5) 26 22 — 48

W-M (28-4) 31 18 — 49

NEW LONDON-SPICER - Scoring: Shea Oman 29, Brooke Beuning 7, Kabrie Weber 2, Erin Tebben 3, Morgan Swenson 7 ... 3-point shots: Oman 4, Beuning 1 ... Rebound leader: Swenson 11, Weber 8 ... Assist leader: Beuning 4 ... Steal leader: Oman 6, Swenson 2

WATERTOWN-MAYER - Scoring: Kirsten Klitzke 8, Emma Ragner 3, Claire Killian 24, Monika Czinano 13, Maggie Czinano 1 ... 3-point shots: Ragner 1, Killian 1 ... Rebound leader: Klitzke 6, Monika Czinano 9 ... Assist leader: Klitzke 4 ... Steal leader: Killian 5, Klitzke 4

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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