B-B-E girls' basketball is Final Four-bound at state!

At Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis on Thursday, March 16, the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa girls' basketball team used an incredible second-half display of defense to win going away by a 60-44 score against No. 4-seeded Underwood. The win improves their season record to 26-4 overall. They have shattered the school record for most wins in a season, which was 24 (set in the 2018-2019 season when they finished 24-6.)

The Jaguars held Underwood to just 11 points in the game's final 13 minutes. In the last 13 minutes, the Jaguars outscored the Rockets 21-11. B-B-E's crew were pure ball hawks all game long and forced 22 turnovers compared to just 9 turnovers by the Jaguars. The official box score showed 20 points scored by B-B-E off of turnovers to just 6 off of turnovers by Underwood. B-B-E scored 11 points off of the fast break, while the Rockets scored none in the same fashion.

In the postgame press conference, head coach Kristina Anderson said, "This feels good. The last time we played at Maturi Pavilion here, we had a tough loss to Cromwell. It was great to be back on this stage and come out with a 'W' in the first round."

When asked about the defensive changes that B-B-E employed following a timeout taken while trailing 20-15 in the first half, Anderson joked, "Yeah, it must have been something the coach said in the timeout."

"That's something we've prided ourselves on all season, when we get up in the full court mode. I always say to them that, it may not happen in the first 10 minutes or 15 minutes, but we just have to keep grinding. Good things will happen."

The Jaguars hope for good things to happen today, Friday, March 17, in the Class 1A state semifinals against Mountain Iron-Buhl. The game starts at 12 p.m. and will be aired on Channel 45 KSTP.

Coach Anderson continued, "Today I felt we were pressuring well early on, especially at getting them to the sideline, but we were slow on our rotation. I think once we all got on the same page with that, we got on a nice little run there."

About the game's complexion, Abby Berge commented, "It was a very physical game. We knew that once you get to the state tournament, every team here is good and can put that pressure on you. I knew based on our past experience that you can't rely on the calls, you just have to go in strong."

About the problems that B-B-E's length can cause for other teams, Coach Anderson said, "The fact that we were able to defend bigger guards, and then on the offensive end when our guards can get to the interior and the way they can finish, we saw that with the foul trouble we were able to get Underwood in."

Tiyana Schwinghammer commented about Underwood's talented lineup, "They also have a lot of quickness and length in their guards. We haven't really seen that height in guards this season. It was nice that we could match that and keep them under control."

About her team's balance in the first half, Berge said, "Every single player who was on the floor today really stepped up and played their roles. We knew this could be our game if we wanted it. How we responded two years ago after taking the loss from Cromwell in our first state trip, and this year responding from last year's loss in subsections, it just added to our motivation."

The Jaguars have payback in mind as they face Mountain Iron-Buhl, who beat them 85-62 on December 29 in St. Cloud over the Christmas break.

Anderson said, "Our girls are excited for another shot at Mountain Iron. We focused on Underwood and got a big win. Looking to tomorrow, I think our girls are up to this challenge. The Rangers do what they do well. They have (Jordan) Zubich, who is a great player. The good news is we have our own set of players to counter with who can defend well with length."

"They have some of the state's best shooters. It's important to contain and get out on our gap help and really limit them to one shot."

Game updates and additional coverage on the state tournament will be posted at the newspaper's Jaguars Sports extended coverage blog: http://bbejaguars.blogspot.com.

B-B-E's first points scored came in succession from baskets by Schwinghammer, Berge, Brooklyn Fischer, Adley Hagen and Allie Dingmann. Dingmann's layup with 10:20 to go in the first half gave the Jaguars a 13-12 lead.


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