Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa senior Harley Roering tried to control her emotions. Jaguars coach Kristina Anderson couldn't when talking about Roering.
"She is one of the toughest kids I have coached," said a weeping Anderson, who is in her 11th season leading the program.
Roering tore the ACL in her left knee in a 53-34 victory over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City on Feb. 3. She hadn't played or practiced since suffering the injury.
Roering came off the bench to score 12 points on four three-pointers in a 61-57 loss to Mountain Iron-Buhl in the Class 1A girls basketball state tournament semifinals Friday at Williams Arena.
"She said she wanted to try and play on Monday," Anderson said. "I thought she was kidding."
It was Roering's second such injury to the same knee. The first happened in May 2021 while she was playing volleyball. She is scheduled for the first of two surgeries April 4.
She didn't play in the Jaguars' 60-44 victory over Underwood in the quarterfinals.
"The team didn't need me," Roering said with a smile.
Roering connected on four of five three-point shots Friday in 13 minutes of playing time. She also had two rebounds and one assist.
"She can shoot the ball," Anderson said. "It's one of the coolest moments I have had as a coach."
Bluebloods populate 2A semis
It was a very distinguished group that made up the final four teams in the Class 2A semifinal bracket Friday.
The defending 2A state champion, Providence Academy, squared off against Minnehaha Academy, which last won the title in 2019. On the other side of the bracket, Albany, the 2021 champ, faced Goodhue, which won back-to-back Class 1A championships in 2016 and 2017.
One long-established power made state but didn't qualify for the semifinals. New London-Spicer, which lost to Minnehaha in the quarterfinals, made its 20th trip to the state tournament, punctuated by championships in 1997 and 2002. The other three teams that lost in the quarterfinals — Crosby-Ironton, Lake Crystal-Wellcome and Perham — each made their second state tournament appearance.
The grandpa effect
The 20-point, 14-rebound effort of Providence Academy senior forward Grace Counts was the picture of efficiency in her team's victory over Minnehaha Academy in the Class 2A semifinals. Counts, committed to Minnesota Duluth, made all nine of her shots. Coupled with her big rebounding game, it was clear that the 6-1 Counts, and her 6-2 sophomore sister, Hope, are well-schooled in the finer points of post play.
No surprise considering their grandfather is Mel Counts, a 7-footer who played college basketball at Oregon State before embarking on a 12-year NBA career with the Boston Celtics, Baltimore Bullets, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. He retired in 1976 after three seasons with the New Orleans Jazz. He also played for the U.S. Olympic team and won a gold medal in 1964.
Distance is no object
Providence Academy guard Maddyn Greenway is obviously an extremely confident player. At one point early in the first half Friday, Greenway shot, and made, a three-pointer from well beyond the three-point line.
Greenway said her motivation was to establish her outside shot early, particularly at Williams Arena, where some players find shooting difficult.
"Playing at Williams, it's kind of hard to get your shot going," Greenway said. "If we start out fast, it really helps our momentum. It helps build our confidence if we can pour in points quickly."
Grace Counts said the team loves to see Greenway attempt long-distance three-pointers. "It sets the tone," Counts said. "If Maddyn is shooting confidently, then we're all doing the same thing, following her."
Greenway admitted there are times when even she is surprised by the distance from the basket when she pulls the trigger. "If I'm in good rhythm with my dribble, I'm going to let it fly, then I have to ask for forgiveness," she said, laughing.