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NRHEG stuns Braham in state quarterfinals
TWO OF THE FINEST — Carlie Wagner of NRHEG (3) drives to the basket against Rebekah Dahlman of Braham (left) during the quarterfinals of the state girls' basketball tournament at Target Center in Minneapolis Wednesday night. Wagner scored a career-high 43 points as the Panthers won 75-45. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)
ON TO THE SEMIFINALS — NRHEG girls' basketball players display their jubilation near the end of Wednesday night's state tournament victory over defending state champion Braham at Target Center in Minneapolis. The Panthers' next game is Friday at 6 p.m. at Target Center.
By JIM LUTGENS
Eleven busloads of NRHEG girls’ basketball fans went home happy from Minneapolis Wednesday night.
The Panthers’ dream season continued with a stunning 75-45 victory over defending Class AA state champion Braham in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at Target Center.
The Panthers, now 31-0, advanced to the semifinals against Sauk Centre Friday at 6 p.m. at Target Center. If they win, they’ll play for the state championship Saturday at 2 p.m. at Target Center. A Friday night loss would put the Panthers in the third-place game Saturday at noon at Concordia College. Braham finished 29-2.
Most of the talk surrounding the Panthers’ first-round game centered on Braham junior Rebekah Dahlman, who during the game became the state’s all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball.
By the end of the night, she was congratulating Panther sophomore Carlie Wagner, who lit it up for a career-high 43 points, four shy of the single-game state tournament record.
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Panthers claim section title, take 30-0 record to state tournament
WE’RE GOING TO STATE! — Coaches John Schultz, left, Grant Berg, the Panthers and their fans exalt as the clock winds down in the Section 2AA championship at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter last Friday. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)
WHEELING AND DEALING — Jade Schultz passes off to Anna Schlaak during the first half of the Section 2AA championship game last Friday.
DRIVING — Carlie Wagner drives to the basket during the Section 2AA championship game at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter last Friday.
POINTS IN THE PAINT — Katie Cole (14) scores a basket during the second half of the Section 2AA championship game last Friday.
By JIM LUTGENS
Almost every high school athlete dreams about it. Few get there.
The 2011-12 NRHEG girls’ basketball team is among the few.
The Panthers reached their season-long and, for some, almost lifetime-long goal by defeating St. Peter 59-54 for the Section 2AA championship in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter last Friday.
It kept the Panthers undefeated at 30-0 and put them in the state tournament against defending state champion Braham (29-1) Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Target Center in Minneapolis.
NRHEG coach John Schultz said getting to state, “means everything” for the Panthers.
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NRHEG girls advance to state
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS — NRHEG girls' basketball captains Danielle Krueger, Anna Schlaak and Tori Raimann hoist the Section 2AA championship trophy after the Panthers' 59-54 victory over St. Peter at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter Friday night. The win advanced the Panthers (30-0) to the state tournament, where they'll face Section 7AA champion Braham (29-1) Wednesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. at Target Center in Minneapolis. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)
HOW SWEET IT IS — The Panthers and coach John Schultz celebrate their section championship at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter Friday night.
HOW DO YOU SPELL INTENSITY? — A fired up Carlie Wagner (3) leads the Panthers on the court for Friday night's Section 2AA championship game against St. Peter. Wagner scored 25 points, making her NRHEG's all-time scoring leader in basketball (boys and girls) with 1,588 points and counting. The previous record was 1,578 by Alison Anderson. Wagner, a sophomore, has scored 844 points this season, also a school record.
By JIM LUTGENS
Fans of NRHEG girls’ basketball were hopeful for months, and most of them probably expected it, but the road is not easy and until it really happens, you never know.
Now we do.
The Panthers are going to the state tournament.
The local girls defeated St. Peter 59-54 in front of a packed house at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter Friday night for the Section 2AA championship, sending them to the big show in the Twin Cities for the second time in school history.
What does this mean for the Panthers?
“It means everything,” said coach John Schultz. “For the girls, the biggest goal they’ve ever had is to get to the state tournament.”
The Panthers, rated No. 2 in Class AA in the final Associated Press state poll, remained undefeated for the season at 30-0. They meet defending state champion Braham (29-1) in the opening round of the state tournament Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Target Center in Minneapolis.
A win in the opening round would put the Panthers in the semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at Target Center against Sauk Centre or Worthington. The championship game is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Target Center. The third-place game is Saturday at noon at Concordia College in St. Paul. A first-round loss would eliminate the Panthers from the tournament.
Sophomore Carlie Wagner led the Panthers Friday with 25 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds. She became NRHEG's all-time scoring leader in basketball (boys and girls) with 1,588 points and counting. The previous record was 1,578 by Alison Anderson.
The rest of the Panthers include seniors Tori Raimann, Anna Schlaak and Danielle Krueger, juniors Abby Crabtree, Katie Cole and Raelin Schue, sophomores Jade Schultz, Hannah Lundberg and Paige Overgaard and seventh-graders Marnie Wagner and Maddie Wagner.
Coach Schultz said the Panthers plan to go for it at state, but that just making it is a big accomplishment and the players should be proud.
“We’ll prepare hard, we’ll play hard,” said Schultz. “But achieving the goal of making the state tournament is every kid’s dream, that’s for sure.”