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Girls Basketball: 'Here we go again'

MANKATO -- On March 8, 2013, BOLD girls basketball made school history by making the state tournament for the first time. Six years later to the day, the Warriors were on the cusp of doing it again. "My sister (Mallarie) was actually on the team,...

BOLD's Mckenna Steffel takes a shot over a St. Clair defender during the second half of Friday's Section 2A championship game at the Taylor Center in Mankato. Joe Brown / Tribune
BOLD's Mckenna Steffel takes a shot over a St. Clair defender during the second half of Friday's Section 2A championship game at the Taylor Center in Mankato. Joe Brown / Tribune

MANKATO - On March 8, 2013, BOLD girls basketball made school history by making the state tournament for the first time.

Six years later to the day, the Warriors were on the cusp of doing it again.

"My sister (Mallarie) was actually on the team," said senior forward Makenna Steffel.

Makenna added, "Now it's kind of cool that she's a coach and now we're going to state."

On Friday, BOLD put an emphatic stamp on a second-ever state trip, rolling St. Clair in the Section 2A championship game, 63-41.

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"It's an awesome feeling," said Makenna as she held onto a piece of the net the team cut down. "It's something that not a lot of us on the team have done before, except for golf. It's a new experience and it's really awesome."

Junior guard Brenna Weis added, "It's crazy and it hasn't sunk in yet that we're going to state."

On paper, the Warriors were the favorite with 21 wins coming into the game compared to a 10-12 mark for the Cyclones. But, St. Clair was a section finalist a year ago and were a tougher team than its win-loss record.

"We watched them play Tuesday and said they're a good team," said BOLD head coach Brian Kingery. "They got some good ball players. They don't have a stud but they're solid all around. And if we don't play well, we're going to lose."

While the Cyclones had some muscle in the paint, Brenna Weis was able to help the Warriors clear the lane.

Hitting a 3-pointer for BOLD's first bucket, Weis helped opened the floor for the post players, using the inside-out game to offset the Cyclones' strength down low.

"It really helps. Once we start off like that, it really gives us a lot more confidence," said Steffel, who had a team-high 16 points with 10 rebounds. Ashley Trongard also had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.

"By having girls be able to hit those outside shots and having the inside presence, we're going to be tough," Kingery said. "If we can play inside-out, good things happen."

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Already up 23-14 in the first half, the Warriors' defense completely shut down St. Clair. They held the Cyclones scoreless for the final 6 minutes, 3 seconds of the first half for a 32-15 halftime lead.

"We put a lot of intensity into (our defense)," Weis said. "We were talking on all the screens and making sure we had help."

Not content to wind down the clock, Weis hit another 3-pointer to open the second half and BOLD continued to roll.

"Brenna hit the big three and it's like, 'Yep, here we go again,'" Kingery said.

Weis hit a pair of threes as part of a 14-point, six-assist night while Trongard hit three 3-pointers.

"We haven't really been hitting outside shots (lately)," Weis said. "So it was a really good confidence boost for us."

The Cyclones only got as close as 14 points in the second half.

The Class A state tournament is set to begin on Thursday, March 14 at Maturi Pavilion at the University of Minnesota. Seeds will be determined this weekend.

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Section 2A

Championship

BOLD 63,

St. Clair 41

St. Clair (10-13) 15 26 - 41

BOLD (22-5) 32 31 - 63

ST. CLAIR - Scoring: Claire Anderson 2, Ragan Vilt 12, Cassidy Anderegg 4, Caroline Schimek 1, Sophie Seys 4, MacKenzie Kruse 18 ... 3-point shots: Vilt 2, Kruse 1 ... Rebound leader: NA ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: NA

BOLD - Scoring: Alex Revier 2, Morgan Schmitz 6, Lanie Mages 2, Makenna Steffel 16, Ashley Trongard 13, Makayla Snow 8, Brenna Weis 14, Mari Ryberg 2 ... 3-point shots: Trongard 3, Snow 1, Weis 2 ... Rebound leader: Trongard 11, Snow 11, Steffel 10 ... Assist leader: Weis 6, Trongard 3 ... Steal leader: Steffel 4

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