The 2023 Section 1A girls’ basketball game will be a re-match. Grand Meadow (2-seed, 25-2), ranked #7, easily got through the 1A quarters and then executed down the stretch of the semis to make their second straight title game. Ryan Queensland’s Superlarks had little problem with Faribault B.A. (10-seed, 10-13). Cardinal senior post Lindsay Hanson scored their first 10 points and had 14 by halftime. But after a close start, the Larks controlled things. Sydney Cotten hit three first half threes versus B.A.’s zone. Lexy Foster added two more. GM’s “D” held B.A. scoreless over a 13-possession span. At the half, GM led 29-19. After intermission, the Purple went on a 23-0 run to lead 51-21. Over a 34 possession stretch spanning prior to and after halftime, GM held B.A. to 3 of 23 FGs with 12 turnovers. The Larks prevailed by a 63-30 final. Foster (27 pts, 10-13 FGs, 4-7 threes, 7 rebs) was again a force. Cotten (14 pts, 5-8 FGs, 4-6 threes) was the only other Lark in double figures. Rebecca Hoffman helped (8 pts, 4-5 FGs, 6 rebs). Lauren and Kendyl Queensland combined for 12 points and 8 assists. Hanson (14 pts, 7-12 FGs) led the Cardinals. She was scoreless in the second half. GM was 8 of 21 from deep (38%) while B.A. was just 1 of 14 (7%). The Larks also won the free throw line 13 of 17 (77%) to 1 of 6 (17%).
GM (2-seed, 26-2) then faced Randolph (3-seed, 19-9), which beat R-P 48-40 in the quarters. The #7 Larks downed the Rockets 44-33 late in the regular season. The re-match was similarly defensive. Randolph led 14-12 at the half. GM took the lead for good at 24-22, but it took some big shots and execution late to ensure a victory. After Emily Coonrod made it a 30-28, GM senior guard Sydney Cotten (with her first bucket of the game) hit the first of two clutch threes (4:56). A few minutes later, after Rocket Anna Olsen made it 35-32, Cotten hit a big corner three to make it 36-30 (2:33). The Larks also executed two corner-pass to cutter Lauren Queensland baskets late, the second of which made it 40-32. Randolph got back-to-back scores from Olsen, who had their last six points, to close to down 40-36 (1:20). But Cotten then made two free throws (42-36 > 1:07). Randolph did not score the last 1:20. GM posted a 44-36 victory. Foster (16 pts, 6 rebs) led the way. Cotten (9 pts, 5 asts) scored all her points in the final 5:00. L-Queensland added 8 (pts) and 7 (rebs). Randolph was led by Coonrod (10 pts, 12 rebs) and Olsen (10 pts, 6 rebs). Thousand-point scorer Paige Ford was held to 4 points, defended by K-Queensland. GM won from distance 5 of 14 (36%) to 2 of 7 (29%) and at the free throw line 11 of 15 (73%) to 2 of 4 (50%). The teams shot about the same, GM 14 of 38 (37%), Randolph 16 of 37 (43%). It was GM’s 18th straight win. With their deliberate play and defense, they have held 22 foes under 40 points (22-0). GM (27-2) will re-match with #4 Hayfield (1-seed, 27-4) for the 1A title. The Vikings beat Lanesboro in the other semi.
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