Anoka won a rematch of last season’s Section 7AAAA final after passing by Cambridge-Isanti 70-51 in the March 10 semifinal.
The Tornadoes have excelled playing March basketball at North Branch High School, site of the final two section rounds, winning its last five trips to the neutral site.
Anoka jumped to an early 14-7 lead in the semifinal against the Bluejackets.
Cambridge cut the lead to 14-10 after sophomore Brooke Olson was fouled after making a basket to complete the and-one play with 9:39 left in the opening half.
Cambridge trimmed the lead to 14-13 after a steal on the next possession led to a Bluejackets 3-pointer from Maria Vavra.
“We knew Cambridge-Isanti was a very aggressive team. We knew they were a fast, quick team and we just had to slow them down,” Anoka coach Scott Antl said. “We did that with ball pressure in the front court and playing zone.”
Cambridge’s scoring dried up for the next six minutes while Anoka pulled ahead 26-13 with four minutes left in the half.
Anoka junior Jordan Meyer made a big block that turned into a 3-pointer for senior Naomi Torgerson to push the lead back to 19-13. Claire Lundberg extended the lead with another defensive stop. She stole the ball and worked a give-and-go with senior Kyrah Fredenburg on a two-on-one fast break to keep the momentum rolling.
Anoka led by 10 points at the half and kept the pressure on the Bluejackets to respond in a furious second half by a 41-32 edge.
Cambridge couldn’t match Anoka in the tightly called second half that saw Lundberg exit early with five fouls.
Anoka out-rebounded Cambridge 37-16.
Lundberg led the way with 21 points and senior teammate Ashley Bray contributed 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and blocked one shot. Meyer finished with 11 rebounds, blocked three shots and scored three points.
Andover falls to Rangers in semifinal
Andover opened the season with a four-point win over Forest Lake, but it was the same Rangers squad that ended Andover’s season after a 61-44 loss in the Section 7AAAA semifinal March 10.
Both teams struggled offensively early, and it took the Huskies six minutes to get on the board after senior Katie Yoder made one free throw to trail 5-1.
Senior Maddi Hahn took control of the offense on the next few possessions and finished with a game-high 26 points. She drove the right side of the lane for an easy lay-in, then two turns later hit a 3-pointer to give Andover a 6-5 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.
The lead went back and forth through the first half until Forest Lake’s Bailey Norby converted an and-one play along the baseline to lead 25-19, 46 seconds before halftime. She drove the length of the floor for an easy lay in on the right side to boost the lead to 27-19 at the half.
The Huskies came out strong in the second half, and Hahn made a layup on the left side but was fouled. She made the free throw to complete the 3-point play. Hahn hit a 3-pointer on the next possession off a pass from Yoder to pull Andover within a basket, 27-25.
Rangers’ Miranda Rice made both free throws after being fouled on the next offensive set and finished with a team-high 16 points. Rice then stripped what would have been a defensive rebound for Andover for another two points to extend the Rangers’ lead to 31-25.
Andover freshman Jolene Daninger picked up her third foul after trying to stop Forest Lake’s Emily Peters. Andover’s Amelia Leger added a third foul as well on the next play with 13:30 left.
Norby tried to power her way through the paint but missed a layup. AnnaEckert tipped the rebound Norby’s way. This time she made the bucket to extend the lead to 10 points with 13:19 to go.
Andover couldn’t recover and finished the season with a 15-13 record, losing the final five of seven games.
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