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Girls basketball: BOLD looks to upset undefeated Braham

BOLD’s Carly Sigurdson drives to the basket against Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg earlier this season. The Warriors play Braham in the first round of the state tournament on Wednesday at Target Center in Minneapolis. Tribune file photo.

Braham isn’t a one-player girls basketball team, despite featuring a remarkable talent like Rebekah Dahlman. But BOLD believes that focusing a lot of energy on limiting Dahlman will be the key to upsetting the undefeated Bombers on Wednesday in the opening round of the Class AA State Tournament.

“They’re quick and athletic with some talent,” said BOLD head coach Brian Kingerym whose 26-3 Warriors face off against the 30-0 Bombers at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

“Dahlman is a premier player,” he said. “She has moves you just don’t see in girls basketball. But I think if you can slow her down, you can slow them down.”

 But Kingery and his team understand fully how difficult even slowing Dahlman down can be.

The 5-foot-9 senior is closing in on an astronomical 5,000 career points — she surpassed 1,000 points this year alone — and she’s averging almost 36 points per game this year. She shoots almost 60 percent from the field.

And that’s not all: Dahlman averages 10 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 6.1 steals per game.

Her Bombers teammate Kayla Nickles, a career 1,000-point scorer, averages 17 points per game. Jaclyn Hollenkamp averages 8.6 points and 7.8 rebounds, and Dani Braund scores 7.8 points per game and averaged 6 rebounds.

But BOLD is undaunted.

“I think we can pressure them,” Kingery said. “If Dahlman doesn’t have the ball, I think we can do some things. She so quick but if you can keep her from driving, I think you can give them some issues. We’ll try to slow her down and make someone else score 30.”

BOLD counters with a solid, balanced attack, led by junior Carly Sigurdson, the school’s all-time leading scorer.

Sigurdson averages 21.4 points per game and shoots 53 percent from the field. Baylie Kubesh averages 14.4 points and 4.8 rebounds, Maggie Nagel picks up almost 10 points and 7 boards per game and Taylor Ebnet averages 10.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 4.2 steals.

“We’ll run some sets,” Kingery said. “(Braham is) aggressive and they don’t switch on defense. If we’re patient and work for good shots we can have some success.”

BOLD played unevenly in the first half of its 66-64 win over Worthington in the Section 3AA final on Friday. The team talked in their halftime locker room about settling down and playing team ball, Kingery said.

“We have to relax and take care of the ball,” he said. “It’s not about what each player can do, it’s about setting up teammates and getting them a good shot.”

Braham will have one decided advantage. The Bombers are 168-18 the last six season and they won the Class AA state championship two years ago and lost in the state title game in 2010. They have a 5-3 state tournament record the last six years and a 22-4 postseason mark.

BOLD is making its first state tournament trip.

“Their experience is a factor we don’t have,” Kingery said. “They’ve played in a lot of state tournament games and we’ve never been there; It’s not new territory for them. It is new territory for us.”

The Warriors fall back on the fact that they’ve won 19 straight games, including a seven-point win over Sauk Centre, the 2012 state runner-up that is back in the state tournament this year.

“We beat Sauk Centre and I think we can beat any team, but any team can beat us, too,” Kingery said. “If we play our game, we can surprise some people.”

Tom Larson

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

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