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Minnesota Section 8AA girls basketball tournament: Hawley hangs on

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- This wasn't supposed to be much of a contest. Unbeaten and third-ranked Hawley already had two wins over East Grand Forks Senior High, and the Green Wave were without one of their best players entering Friday's Minnesota Sectio...

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- This wasn't supposed to be much of a contest.

Unbeaten and third-ranked Hawley already had two wins over East Grand Forks Senior High, and the Green Wave were without one of their best players entering Friday's Minnesota Section 8AA title game.

Instead, Hawley had everything it could handle before holding on for an unforgettable 53-51 overtime victory over the Wave at Concordia.

"Every win is special, but this was a pretty special one," Hawley coach Bill Gottenborg said. "They didn't stop. This group has another gear, and they found it in time tonight."

Senior High -- which had two losses to Hawley by a combined total of 29 points in the regular season -- was playing without one of its leading scorers and floor leader Chelsey Frydenlund, who injured her knee early in the Green Wave's section semifinal win over Warroad on Tuesday.

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It didn't matter. The Green Wave got 19 points and eight rebounds from Brooke Greenwood, and 15 points and 10 boards from Kate Warmack in the loss.

"So many kids stepped up, and we played so well defensively," Senior High coach Durene Frydenlund said. "They wanted it. You can look at a missed free throw or a turnover, but we gave them everything they could ever want.

"And that's all I can ask of them against a good team."

Hawley led just 1 minute, 16 seconds of regulation, and trailed by four points with just 29 seconds to go.

But a three-point play by Amy Stoa cut it to 49-48. Laure Olson stole the ball on Senior High's ensuing trip up the court, but Hawley missed four shots in the paint on the possession.

After the Green Wave (22-8) missed two free throws with 7.9 seconds to go, Jessy Noreen was fouled with just three-tenths of a second on the clock, and she made one to force overtime.

"Stoa's a strong girl, and that was a big play," Gottenborg said. "She got the ball, and she was going to put that in. Then she made the free throw. That was a big play."

The extra session was owned by the Nuggets (28-0). Allie Sannes hit a jumper 46 seconds in, and Hawley never trailed, getting free throws from Noreen and Stoa to ice it.

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Laure Olson led the way for Hawley, notching 16 points and four steals. She played all 40 minutes.

"She has so much energy, and that's the kind of energy we needed tonight," Gottenborg said.

Senior High led 22-17 at the half behind a spirited defensive effort that shut the Nuggets' penetration game down cold.

"We were able to deny Noreen the ball and get her frustrated a bit, and we stopped their penetration for the most part," coach Frydenlund said. "The girls helped each other out.

"We did exactly what we had to do."

Hawley trailed by nine points midway through the second half before going on a 12-2 run to take a 40-39 lead. All 12 points came on drives to the basket.

But the teams traded baskets the rest of the way, setting up the frantic final 30 seconds and overtime.

"We needed to get back to what we did best, and that's what got us back in the game," Gottenborg said. "The kids made the plays."

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Hawley will open the state tournament at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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