Girls basketball: LQPV Eagles can’t make it 3 in a row against mighty Minneota
Second-seeded Vikings down top-seeded Eagles 48-35 in 3A-North final
MARSHALL — Coming into Friday’s contest, Lac qui Parle Valley had Minneota’s number throughout the season.
The Eagles defeated Minneota in the regular season and in the Camden Conference championship. However, the Vikings showed up in the game that mattered the most out of the three and got the best of LQPV.
Minneota silenced LQPV en route to a 48-35 victory in the Section 3A-North championship on Friday evening at Southwest Minnesota State University. Minneota plays Southwest Minnesota Christian at 8 p.m. Friday at SMSU for the 3A championship and a berth in the state tournament.
“It’s hard to play the same team three times and beat them three times, especially a good team,” LQPV senior guard Taylor Shelstad said. “(Minneota) had every loose ball, every rebound. That’s just the way the ball bounced tonight and we just couldn’t come out on top.”
LQPV’s 35 points marked a season low in a season that saw them finish with a 25-4 record.
“The atmosphere and everything — Minneota has been here year in and year out — just having that much experience all the time playing in these games,” LQPV head coach Dylan Erickson said. “They rose to the occasion and things didn’t go our way tonight.”
The Eagles took a 22-21 lead over Minneota into halftime. But the Vikings fought back, out-scoring LQPV 27-13 to cement their win.
The final score marked Minneota’s biggest lead of the contest.
“Down the stretch, we just couldn’t catch a break and couldn’t get things to go our way,” Erickson said. “Usually, we just hit more shots.
“We just weren’t nearly as aggressive in the second half. When things started to spiral down, we got less aggressive, played farther out and played into their hands.”
LQPV was without a cornerstone to its lineup for the majority of the second half. Junior guard Isabel Gerdes tore her left ACL in the Eagles’ 54-20 victory over Dawson-Boyd on Saturday.
Gerdes did everything she needed to do to make sure she was ready to go. She continued to stretch and complete light exercises throughout the week, got a brace on Wednesday, participated in practice and iced her leg as much as possible.
Gerdes’ preparation led her to score the second-most points by any LQPV scorer with six before she re-aggravated her ACL injury minutes into the second half.
“I was just going to walk it off and hopefully go back in,” Gerdes said. “But it just didn’t feel the same. I tried to jog a little bit and I knew it was pretty unstable and didn’t feel very good.
“It was tough watching them but I’m their biggest cheerleader when I’m not out there.”
Shelstad led LQPV with 15 points. Camryn and Jalyn Lee both added four.
The Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association named Shelstad and Eagles senior center Camryn Lee All-State Honorable Mentions before Friday’s contest.
The two seniors, alongside their senior counterparts Rylee Lund and Ayanna Gipson, helped the Eagles finish with a 12-0 record in the Camden North for the first time in program history.
“It was definitely a historical season,” Shelstad said. “It’s been a heck of a ride. (Us seniors), we’ve been playing together since fourth grade. To play with them one more time and to go 25-4, it was really special. We had a great season.”
The MGBCA also named Erickson the Section 3A Head Coach of the Year and LQPV assistant coach John Shurb the Section 3A Assistant Coach of the Year.
“Dylan’s an amazing coach,” Gerdes said. “He’s always pushing us to be better. He lets us have fun when we can but he also keeps us on our toes and makes us do the things we’re supposed to do.”
Section 3A-North final
Minneota 48, LQPV 35
Minneota (20-8) 21 27 — 48
LQPV (25-4) 22 13 — 35
MINNEOTA - Scoring: Grace Hennen 15, Faith Myhre 13, Kenadi Arndt 10, Ireland Stasson 7, Hulzebos 3 … 3-point shots: Myhre 3, Hulzebos 1 … Rebound leader: n/a … Assist leader: n/a … Steal leader: n/a ... Block leader: n/a
LQPV - Scoring: Taylor Shelstad 15, Isabel Gerdes 6, Jalyn Lee 4, Camryn Lee 4, Rylee Lund 3, Kayla Jahn 2, Ayanna Gipson 1 … 3-point shots: Gerdes 2, Shelstad 2 … Rebound leader: n/a … Assist leader: n/a … Steal leader: n/a ... Block leader: n/a