From an offensive perspective, they won’t wow you. Defensively, Fillmore Central’s girls work like crazy. Over the course of two play-off games, the Falcons forced 60 turnovers. Levi Olstad’s group twice used that diligence to win the battle of offensive attrition. The Falcons are in their third section title game in six years.
In the quarters, FC (2-seed, 19-8) faced Southland (7-seed, 12-11) at Lourdes High School. Despite committing 16 turnovers, Southland led most of the first half. They started 7-1 and the halftime score was 23-22. The second half featured six ties. With under 4:00 to play, FC strung together field goals by Kandace Sikkink and Emma Breitsprecher, plus two free throws from Kammry Broadwater to lead 51-48 (2:45). FC junior reserve Maddie Krage then got an o-board and put-back basket, then two free throws the next trip. With under a minute left, FC led 55-48. The Rebels scored once over the last six possessions. The Falcons prevailed 58-50. Eighth grader Kammry B., the third of the Broadwater b-ball clan, had a career-high (14 pts, 5 rebs). Sikkink (13 pts, 6 rebs, 4 stls) and Breitsprecher (10 pts, 4 rebs, 3 stls) also reached double figures. Kassidy Broadwater (9 pts, 4 rebs, 5 asts) helped. Southland was led by Lexi Smith (16 pts) and Larissa Goslee (11 pts, 8 rebs). FC forced 28 turnovers. The Falcons took more shots with more makes (FGs: FC 23-52, S 17-38). They also did work on the offensive glass (14 to 8) for more second-chance-points (11 to 4). The Rebels won 51-48 in January. At 20-8, it is Falcon girls basketball’s first 20-win season since 2010-2011 (Connor Nagle group).
That set up another chance for FC to avenge a regular season loss. The Falcons (2-seed, 20-8) took on GM (6-seed, 18-9) in the 1A semis at Mayo Civic. The Larks won 44-42 on a last second make in January. The re-match had similar late-gate drama, though for 30 minutes, FC was in command. Early on, the Falcons got threes on back-to-back-to-back possessions from Lauren Mensink, Breitsprecher, and Kassidy B. to jump out 9-4. FC’s half-court 1-3-1 trap made GM hideous with turnovers. The Larks did so eight straight times mid-half, then nine of ten times to end the stanza. They had 21 turnovers at halftime. The Falcons gave up just two points over the final 12:00 and led 25-10 at intermission. The edge ballooned to 30-11 early in the second. With around 11-minutes to play, FC led 36-19. Semi-stalling, they scored just one field goal the final 12-minutes, a key Sikkink steal and lay-up that made it 40-30 (2:42). The Falcons also went 6 of 15 from the free throw line over the same stretch. GM slowly chipped away. Very late, Isabelle OIson hit a three to cut the lead to 42-39 (0:44.7). The Larks then got a steal and an Olson lay-up. Suddenly, the FC lead was 42-41 (0:24.7). The Falcons then missed two free throws. GM missed a go-ahead three, got an offensive rebound, only to double-dribble (0:06.4). Kassidy B. hit the second of two free throws to put the Falcons up 43-41 (0:04). All the sub-ten-minute comeback drama was then brought to a close. Lauren Mensink stole a GM advancing pass to leading scorer Riley Queensland in the final ticks. The Falcons hung on for a 43-41 win. Sikkink (12 pts, 8 rebs, 4 stls) and Kassidy B. (12 pts, 5 asts, 4 stls) led the FC charge. Queensland (14 pts, 8 rebs) and Olson (11 pts, 5 rebs) paced GM. The Larks had 32 turnovers to FC’s 16. FC again took way more shots (15 of 53 to 16 of 38), making fewer. They went 8 of 20 from the free throw line, GM 4 of 10. The Larks hit 5 of 8 threes in their second half rally. It’s FC’s second section title game under Coach Olstad. The Falcons (21-8) will face #9 Blooming Prairie (1-seed, 21-5). BP beat Hayfield 62-33 in the other 1A semifinal.