MINNEOTA — Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa had a pair of chances the past two seasons to upset the best team in the state.
The Jaguars came up just short on each occasion.
BBE, ranked fourth in Class A, dropped its first game of the season after falling 42-38 at top-ranked Minneota on Saturday from Minneota High School.
Last season, the Vikings earned a 45-44 win over the Jaguars during the Borch’s Holiday Classic on New Year’s Day 2020.
“Two state-ranked teams, this is what you expect; a good game like that and it was a good game today.” Minneota head coach Chad Johnston said.
The Vikings improved to 10-0 with this non-conference win. They’re also unbeaten in their last 37 home contests and have won 71 of their last 73 games overall. BBE fell to 9-1 after producing its lowest scoring output of 2021.
“I think on the defensive end, for the most part, we were satisfied, but I think offensively we struggled to execute at times,” Jaguars head coach Kristina Anderson said. “It at least gives us a great look at what we need to fix on the offensive side of things, but I thought our girls showed great effort tonight.”
Saturday’s defensive struggle came as no surprise. BBE entered the game ranked first in points allowed at 29.6 points per game. Minneota was seventh (36.2).
The Vikings ripped off a 15-4 run midway through the second half to gain control. After sophomore guard Abby Berge gave the visitors a 29-27 advantage with a basket inside, BBE failed to score over its next 11 possessions, four of which ended with a turnover.
Minneota’s Natalie Rolbiecki knotted the game at 29-29 with a basket inside while being foul. Although she couldn’t convert the three-point play, the junior forward nailed a pair of 3-pointers to hand the home team a 35-29 advantage.
Later in the second half, senior guard Abby Hennen opened the biggest gap between the teams when she hit a wide-open left-wing 3-pointer to push the cushion to 42-33.
While the Vikings scored 21 points in each half, their points were much harder to come by in the first 18 minutes. BBE defenders were attached to their opponent on and off the ball. When a player was beaten, the help defense was there to recover.
“We just knew that we weren't going to get to the basket, so ball movement was going to be a really big thing that we had to work on,” Hennen said. “I think me getting that open three was just based off of someone driving, kicking out and just one more pass on the perimeter. ... A couple girls and I hit some big 3-pointers and that’s what changed the game.”
Jaguars senior Allisa Knight was the focal point of Minneota’s second-half offensive adjustments. The forward swatted four shots on the interior by providing help defense from the weak side.
The Vikings countered by spacing the floor. Knight was lured out of the paint and when her teammates were beat, she wasn’t in a position to recover.
“We just tried to spread them out a little bit in the second half and get (Knight) out in space, so maybe we could get some backdoors and get some cuts,” Johnston said. “They just do a great job of packing it in with their pressure defense that we didn’t get easy looks. And when we got an easy look, she comes out of nowhere and is just a great shot-blocker.”
Knight completed a three-point play with 2 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in regulation to cut the deficit to 42-38. BBE forced a turnover on the ensuing possession and appeared to make it a two-point game on another Knight basket, but the senior was whistled for traveling. The Jaguars narrowly missed several in-close shots the rest of the way.
Hennen led all players with 14 points. Rolbiecki added 13 points for the home team.
Knight and Berge each poured in 12 points to pace the road team. Knight also had a Jags-best nine rebounds.
“I definitely think we will see this team again at state and we will compete as hard or harder,” said Jaguars senior forward Jackie Lindsay, who finished with six points.
BBE next plays at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at Kimball.
BBE (9-1) 20 18 — 38
Minneota (10-0) 21 21 — 42
BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA - Scoring: Jackie Lindsay 6, Abby Berge 12, Josie Knutson 2, Harley Roering 4, Allisa Knight 12, Karissa Jones 2 … 3-point shots: Lindsay 2, Berge 1 … Rebound leader: Knight 9 … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: Knight 4
MINNEOTA - Scoring: Mckenzie Tolk 3, Natalee Rolbiecki 13, Abby Hennen 14, McKenna Yost 2, Abby Rost 8, Jeren Rost 2 … 3-point shots: Tolk 1, Rolbiecki 2, Hennen 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A
Renville County West was outscored 42-18 in the first half of its loss against Lakeview from Cottonwood.
Payton Timm and Shelby Gravley each had 14 points for the Lakers.
Rachel Jakel had a game-high 15 points for the Jaguars. Holly Bratsch added 13 points, three steals and two assists. Hannah Pharr chipped in 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
RCW plays Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday from Kerkhoven.
RCW (3-8) 18 31 — 49
Lakeview (8-3) 42 25 — 67
RENVILLE COUNTY WEST - Scoring: Addy Tanner 5, JoJo Braun 4, Holly Bratsch 13, Rachel Jakel 15, Hannah Pharr 12 … 3-point shots: Tanner 1, Bratsch 1 … Rebound leader: Pharr 11 … Assist leader: Bratsch 2 … Steal leader: Bratsch 3 ... Block leader: Pharr 5
LAKEVIEW - Scoring: Kiana Imes 2, Savanna Louwagie 11, Aubrey Kaczmarek 5, Faith Louwagie 6, Payton Timm 14, Jaci Hubbard 4, Grace Rausch 3, Kaitlynn Bot 6, Paige Viaene 2, Shelby Gravley 14 … 3-point shots: Louwagie 1, Kaczmarek 1, Timm 2, Rausch 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A