UPDATED: Girls basketball: BOLD Warriors have a date with history, reach Class A finals
BOLD plays for its first state title Saturday after beating No. 2 Hayfield, 58-46
MINNEAPOLIS — With a raucous fan base on its feet at tip-off, the BOLD girls basketball team gave its fans every reason to be on their feet until the final horn sounded.
The Warriors make an appearance in the Class A state championship for the first time in program history after earning a 58-46 victory over two-seed Hayfield on Friday.
BOLD faces top-seed Mountain Iron-Buhl in the final at noon Saturday back at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena.
“The thing with small schools, these things aren’t about a team necessarily, it’s about a community,” BOLD head coach Brian Kingery said. “We are going to be competing tomorrow for everybody because you never know when this opportunity is going to come again, and so, you have to take advantage of it and give it everything you got.
“The girls had great energy, great passion out there. They’ve been playing for each other all year long and it’s been a lot of fun to see. Now we get one more game. We’re not quite done yet.”
BOLD fought off early jitters and its defense, which has been the foundation to its success, showed up in a big way behind eight blocks from its leader in junior forward Kenzie Visser.
The Warriors caused Hayfield to turn the ball over 22 times. That led to 12 steals, 19 points off of turnovers and 14 points off of fast-break opportunities.
“This whole playoff run, we’ve been making other teams feel uncomfortable,” Kingery said. “It’s been awesome to see and it all starts with our overall communication on defense and our effort we give on defense.”
Visser added 18 points and 10 rebounds to earn a double-double. She shot 8 of 11 from the field and 2 of 4 from the free-throw line.
BOLD also saw strong contributions from guards Lainey Braulick and Mari Ryberg.
Braulick, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, notched a game-high 19 points. She added six assists and five steals.
Ryberg, a 5-11 senior, earned a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. She also tallied five assists and four steals.
“Things would be a lot harder without the student section,” Visser said. “It’s a lot more fun and there’s a lot more energy when they’re here.”
Visser had seven blocks before BOLD took a 33-28 lead into halftime. Her first four blocks came in the opening 4 minutes, 58 seconds of the contest, where she also had seven points, to help BOLD get out to a 16-4 lead.
“She’s our big and she’s going to battle down there,” Braulick said. “It’s just that trust.”
The Warriors held two Class A All-State team members — juniors Natalie Beaver and Kristen Watson — to a combined five points. Watson had three and Beaver had two.
Beaver, who was on an IV on Friday morning after battling a sickness and throwing up Thursday night, gave it her all. She played 34 minutes, 49 seconds, notching four rebounds and a block to her two points in that stretch.
“I knew I had to come back and do it for my team,” Beaver said. “I wanted to be out there. It’s not an opportunity you get very much, so I really wanted to enjoy the opportunity to get out there.”
Kingery utilized senior forward Anna Moorse to guard Beaver and the duo of junior guard Rylee Boen and senior guard Lily Dean to defend Watson.
“We knew to beat them, we had to stop them, we had to slow them down,” Kingery said. “We said, ‘we’re not going to let (their) two best players beat us. We’re going to make somebody else beat us’ and that happened.”
Hayfield head coach Kasey Krekling added, “They were just more physical than us.”
While the Vikings didn’t want to get sent to Concordia University to compete in the third-place game, the opportunity to play in the state tournament at Williams Arena has them anxious to get back.
“It was an amazing opportunity and the experience was great,” said Hayfield’s Chelsea Christopherson, who scored a season-best 18 points. “If we make it back next year, we’ll just have even more experience with the last two years. It’s just so awesome to be able to play in that gym.”
For the Warriors, they understand the task at hand.
“We’ve wanted (the championship) all year,” Ryberg said. “We just keep saying ‘we’re not done yet’ and we got another one to show up to tomorrow.”
Class A semifinals
BOLD 58, Hayfield 46
Hayfield (29-4) 28 22 — 46
BOLD (26-5) 33 25 — 58
HAYFIELD - Scoring: Josanne Tempel 12, Natalie Beaver 2, Kristen Watson 3, Chelsea Christopherson 18, Emily Hansen 7, Lilly Beyer 4 … 3-point shots: Tempel 2, Christopherson 3, Hansen 1 … Rebound leader: Christopherson 7, Hansen 7 … Assist leaders: Ava Carney 2, Tempel 2, Watson 2, Hansen 2 … Steal leader: Watson 5 ... Block leader: Beaver 1
BOLD - Scoring: Lainey Braulick 19, Mackenzie Visser 18, Mari Ryberg 15, Anna Moorse 3, Rylee Boen 3 … 3-point shots: Braulick 2, Morse 1, Boen 1 … Rebound leader: Ryberg 13 … Assist leaders: Braulick 6, Ryberg 5 … Steal leaders: Braulick 5, Ryberg 4 ... Block leaders: Visser 8