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Thursday, March 15, 2018
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Girls basketball: No. 1 L/P overpowering en route to semis

By Pat Ruff Mar 15, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — Hanging around for one half with No. 1-ranked Lyle/Pacelli proved to be doable for Heritage Christian Academy.

But doing it for two halves? Not so much.

L/P, loaded with talent and athleticism at all positions, and with the luxury of a 6-foot-5 star in Kristi Fett, wore its way to a punishing 59-43 win over Heritage Christian Academy in Thursday’s Class A girls basketball state quarterfinals at Williams Arena.

Next up for top seed L/P (30-1) is a semifinal game with No. 4 seed and 26-4 Minneota at noon Friday at Target Center.

Lyle/Pacelli is in the state semifinals for the second time in four years.

“(L/P) has five players on the floor at all times who are a threat,” HCA coach Lori Crellin said. “But I thought we did a great job of playing well and staying composed.”

Neither of those attributes, though, were enough to keep the 19-11 and unseeded Eagles in the game for 36 minutes.

They were in good company. Nobody, other than Iowa state champion Cresco, has been able to go the distance with L/P all season.

And had it not been for an unusually bumpy start for the Athletics, HCA likely wouldn’t have seemed within range at halftime, trailing 34-23. L/P turned the ball over five times before intermission and allowed the Eagles inside its usual impenetrable zone defense.

Nerves and over-excitement from this first-round state tournament game were getting in the Athletics’ way as much as HCA’s rugged man-to-man defense.

Included in that early jumpiness was L/P coach Justin Morris. He admitted to being too “amped up.”

“I had to settle down,” Morris said. “I was too worked up. I was reverting back to some of my older ways.”

Morris got things together, and so did his team.

That cool actually began to show itself a few minutes before halftime. L/P went from leading just 20-17 with 6 minutes left in the half, to going on a game-changing 14-6 scoring run.

Abigail Bollingberg hit her second 3-pointer in that span and Kendal Truckenmiller buried a trey on a designed play 10 seconds before intermission.

L/P then closed it out by further putting its stamp on things, not allowing HCA a shot on its final possession of the half.

The Athletics were now exactly where they wanted to be, leading by 11 and in charge.

“We knew who (HCA’s) top players were from game tape,” said L/P point guard Brooke Walter, who finished with eight assists and six rebounds, and played her usual stellar defense out front. “We knew that as long as we played our game and played our usual defense, that we’d be fine.”

Walter was right on, as the rest of the action belonged almost entirely to L/P. It did it with Fett going an efficient 6-for-9 from the field for 12 of her game-high 25 points (also 18 rebounds) in the second half.

It also did it with sophomore forward Olivia Christianson bagging 10 of her 14 points after intermission and L/P now completely locked in defensively.

Every possession turned into a grind for HCA, its shooting legs going away with all of that effort. The Eagles were an exhausted 5-for-25 shooting in the second half.

Standout junior guard Taylie Scott paced the Eagles with 24 points, including hitting all eight of her free throws.

Lyle/Pacelli 59, Heritage 43


Lauren Robbins 0 P, 5 R; Taylor Schuck 2 P, 6 R; Taylie Scott 24 P, 7 R, 4 3-PT; Annika Simonson 11 P, 6 R; Jordyn Allen 6 P, 6 R.


Kendal Truckenmiller 6 P; Olivia Christianson 14 P, 5 R; Brooke Walter 3 P, 6 R; Lucy Nelson 3 P; Abigail Bollingberg 8 P; Kristi Fett 25 P, 18 R.

Halftime: LP 34, HCA 23.

Free throws: HCA 11-16, LP 9-16.

Three-point goals: HCA 4, LP 0.