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Tigers knock off Jaguars, advance to 2A title game

Staff photo by Ari Selvey
Springfield’s Marissa Pabst goes up for a bucket against Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther/Truman in the Section 2A, South Subsection Finals Monday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

ST. PETER — After a hot start to the second half, No. 3-seeded Springfield took down No. 1-seeded Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther/Truman Monday in the Section 2A, South Subsection Girls Basketball Finals at Gustavus Adolphus College.

“We kept telling them we’re the three seed, we’re probably not supposed to be here,” Springfield head coach Mike Kelly said. “But if you keep playing tough, you just got to play loose and get breaks to go our way. The kids believed in that. There were some plays that were just outstanding.

“We got fast breaks out of them … Marissa [Pabst] had a heck of a second half. We told her at halftime, ‘You need to score, they don’t have anyone that can stop you.’ And she took that to heart and she played tougher in that second half.”

Springfield (17-11) will now take on Section 2A, North Subsection champion Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Friday at Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Taylor Center, with the winner advancing to the state tournament.

Pabst led the Tigers in scoring with 22 points along with five rebounds and five steals. It seemed that every time a big play would happen for Springfield, Pabst was right in the middle of it.

Staff photo by Ari Selvey
Springfield’s Brooklyn Sturm puts up a shot in the paint against Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther/Truman in the Section 2A, South Subsection Finals Monday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

“It’s really just a team motivation,” Pabst said. “When I’m surrounded by my team, they bring me up. I airballed a shot, and they just brought me back up, and then I just got back in the groove. It’s my coach too. He really supports us, is always there encouraging us, and so are my teammates. I just really love this team and everything they do for me.”

Pabst said that the win as an underdog helped solidify the team’s confidence in itself.

“It means that we are stronger than we thought we were,” she said. “We came into this, we got the job done. We were just right on it. It made everything go a lot better. We believe in ourselves and we believe that we can do a lot. When we put our minds to that, anything is possible.”

Emma Hauger added 21 points for Springfield, while Brooklyn Sturm had 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Olivia Mattson led the Jaguars with 18 points, while Reina Beuck had 14 points.

Springfield started the game off with a driving layup by a pair of buckets by Pabst to put the Tigers up 4-0. Springfield held on for a few minutes, but GHEC/ML/T took the lead with a paint shot by Londyn Bowers to go up 11-10. The score stayed close for the rest of the half, with the lead swapping hands several times. GHEC/ML/T eventually came out on top to end the half with a 28-27 lead.

Springfield went on a tear to open the second half, scoring 8 unanswered, including 6 by Pabst.

“Everybody was moving and we were just hitting the person that was open,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t anything fancy or anything. Kids stayed confident, didn’t get rattled or anything, and that makes a big difference in playoff time. They stayed under control, they didn’t get razzed and they were able to score.”

The Jaguars made several pushes throughout the half to retake the lead, but every time a Springfield player came up with a big play. After a layup by GHEC/ML/T’s Madisen Lewis hit a layup to cut the lead to 40-37, Sturm hit a 3-pointer off of a screen to keep it a 6-point game.

When the Jaguars were pushing the ball up the court down 51-47, Sturm got a steal, kept the ball inbounds with an athletic save and flipped the ball right to a running Pabst, who got the transition layup. And when GHEC/ML/T got a transition opportunity down 57-51 with under two minutes to play, Pabst ran down for a huge block and then stole the inbound pass to erase the possession.

In the end, Springfield made three of their four free throws in the bonus to put the game away and get the win.


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