April 15, 2024

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Section Girls Basketball: History made for Montevideo – West Central Tribune

5 min read
Section Girls Basketball: History made for Montevideo – West Central Tribune

MARSHALL — As Avery Koenen stepped to the free-throw line with nine seconds left, the chorus of “This is history” rang through the Montevideo student section.

Because for the first time in school history, the Thunder Hawks’ girls basketball team is headed to state.

Montevideo advanced following a 43-32 victory in the Section 3AA championship over Fairmont Friday night at the R/A Facility at Southwest Minnesota State University.

“It’s pretty unreal,” said Koenen, the North Dakota State recruit. “It just makes me proud of all the work we put in throughout the years. We’ve been playing together for so long. It finally pays off. It’s awesome.”

Said senior guard Keely Foley, “This means the world to me. I’ll never forget this moment in my entire life. These girls are a family to me and I don’t know what I’d do without them or the student section along with us.”

Patience had been a virtue for the Thunder Hawks throughout the playoffs. And in trying to make state for the first time, the patience paid off again.

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Montevideo senior Keely Foley drives to the basket while playing against Fairmont in the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

In stark contrast to the Cardinals’ quick offense and full-court press, Montevideo bided its time on offense and opted for a low-scoring affair. The Thunder Hawks held a 15-12 lead at halftime.

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Montevideo students cheer on their team as the Thunder Hawks take the court against Fairmont in the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

“Ever since the West Central (Area) game, we’ve tried to slow the tempo down,” said Montevideo head coach Anthony Jackson. In the last three games, the Thunder Hawks have averaged 41.0 points per game and have surrendered just 31.7. “Games at the end of the year, going up against talented, athletic teams, games usually slow down and you have to be comfortable being in the low 40s and the high 30s. And if you’re not comfortable doing that, then it’s going to be difficult to win.

“We are comfortable doing that right now and it’s fantastic. It improves our defense and our confidence late in games, too.”

With much of the focus on Koenen, one of Montevideo’s shortest players made a huge impact offensively in Keely Foley. Playing above her 5-foot-5 frame, Keely weaved her way through the Cardinals’ defense with five layups in a 10-point performance.

“For a little one like me in those presses, when they start coming towards you, you just dribble right through ‘em and look for those pockets,” Keely said. “It’s not always there, but once in a while, you have ‘em.”

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Montevideo junior Avery Koenen takes a shot while playing Fairmont in the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Jackson said of Keely, “She’s an absolutely gutsy basketball player. She’s not the tallest player or the quickest player in the world but she will penetrate, look for her teammates and take tough shots. … We’re a much better team with her on the court.”

A one-possession game early in the second half, sophomore Kiera Foley hit a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game. And the lead continued to increase from there as the Thunder Hawks went on a 14-0 run. Koenen, who had a team-high 12 points, ended the run with a layup to put her team ahead 36-21 with 6:12 to play.

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Montevideo senior Keely Foley battles Olivia Ortega of Fairmont for a rebound during the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

In that stretch, Montevideo’s defense held Fairmont without a field goal for over eight minutes.

“It was definitely a relief to have that cushion and know we could just run our stuff and take our time,” Koenen said. “But we knew we still had to play good defense and keep playing tough to keep the lead.”

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Montevideo head coach Anthony Jackson talks to his team in a huddle during the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The Class AA state tournament opens on Wednesday at Williams Arena and Maturi Pavillion on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Seeds for the tournament will be announced this weekend, with the top five teams earning seeds while the remaining three will be assigned by random draw.

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The Montevideo Thunder Hawks talk out on the court while playing the Fairmont Cardinals during the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The Class AA state championship will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19 at Williams Arena.

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Montevideo fans cheer on the Thunder Hawks during the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

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Montevideo freshman Teagan Epema drives the ball up the court while playing Fairmont in the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

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Head coach Anthony Jackson talks to his team while playing Fairmont at the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

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The Thunder Hawks of Montevideo celebrate winning the Section 3AA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship at Southwest Minnesota State University on Friday, March 11, 2022.

Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Montevideo 43, Fairmont 32

Fairmont (24-4)           12   20 — 32
Montevideo (25-3)      15   28 — 43
FAIRMONT – Scoring: Rayah Quiring 10, Cadee Becker 9, Emma Gudahl 7, Brittney Mosloski 4, Cassidy Schultz 2 … 3-point shots: Quiring 1, Gudahl 1 … Rebound leader: n/a … Assist leader: n/a … Steal leader: n/a … Block leader: n/a
MONTEVIDEO – Scoring: Avery Koenen 12, Keely Foley 10, Tenley Epema 7, Hailey Dirksen 6, Kiera Foley 5, Teagan Epema 3 … 3-point shots: Tea. Epema 1, Ten. Epema 1, Ki. Foley 1 … Rebound leader: n/a … Assist leader: n/a … Steal leader: n/a … Block leader: n/a

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