Benilde-St. Margaret's girls basketball coach Tim Ellefson wasted no time finding postgame perspective following the Red Knights' Class 3A state tournament championship victory.
Once again, the injury to sophomore Kendall McGee loomed large in the minds of her teammates and coaches.
"We talked after the semifinals about it being bittersweet because of losing Kendall, and that was the theme going into today as well," Ellefson said. "We all wanted to win for Benilde and for each other, but having Kendall, who is such a big part of our team and who is responsible for many of our wins, on the sideline was tough."
McGee suffered an apparent left knee injury in the first half of Thursday's semifinals. She sat on the end of the Red Knights bench Saturday, her two crutches resting against the Williams Arena elevated floor before the game.
McGee sent Olivia Olson a text message before the game, telling her, "It's your time."
After the game, teammates hugged McGee in celebration.
"It meant so much to her that we won," Olson said.
Greenway gives a shove, gets a 'T'
Providence Academy freshman phenom Maddyn Greenway is ultra-competitive. It got the best of her Saturday.
Greenway was assessed a technical foul with 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining in the Lions' 74-60 victory over Albany in the Class 2A championship game. Greenway was fouled on the play, taking a shove in the back. She retaliated, shoving Albany junior Kylan Gerads. Gerads fell awkwardly on the end of the scorer's table.
She apologized to Gerads after the game and wept as she talked about the incident.
"I got pushed in the back, and it was a natural reaction," Greenway said.
Providence Academy coach Conner Goetz defended her and cited her prominence as a player and as the daughter of former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.
"She is only a 15-year-old kid," he said. "People don't know what she has to go through all the time on social media.
"Maddyn having the last name of Greenway makes it worse."
Greenway finished with 31 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists, leading the Lions to their second consecutive state title.
There at the start, there for the title
Kathy Ostman and Laura Skime smiled every time a Mountain Iron-Buhl shot went through the basket Saturday. The twin sisters were part of the foundation of the thriving program.
The No. 1-ranked Rangers (30-3) won their first Class 1A girls basketball state championship Saturday with a 52-21 victory over BOLD at Williams Arena. They have advanced to the state tournament 12 of the past 13 years.
"This is a win for the whole community," Skime said. "Everybody has been rooting for them."
Ostman and Skime, 2013 graduates of Mountain Iron-Buhl, were on coach Jeff Buffetta's first state tournament team in 2011 and the runner-up squad of 2012. The Rangers were also the runner-up in 2017.
"It was fun to make the championship, but it was a bittersweet feeling," Ostman said. "It's hard to end the season on a loss."
The state title also brought a separate bit of satisfaction for the twins, who live now in International Falls.
"It's great to see the players we coached in third grade carrying the tradition," Skime said. "I have a lot of respect for this program."
Buffetta, in his 25th season at the helm of the program, could finally smile.
"Every year all you heard about was what went wrong," Buffetta said. "It was never enough. Everybody wanted more. This is a relief."
Scoring record goes lower
BOLD made history with its scoring difficulties Saturday in its 52-21 loss to Mountain Iron-Buhl in the Class 1A final.
The 21 points by BOLD was the lowest total for a team in a championship game of the girls basketball state tournament. Only seven other teams scored fewer than 30. Here's the list:
1974 (one class): Glencoe 46, Wadena 29
1976 (Class 1A): Redwood Falls 41, Glencoe 28
1980 (Class 1A): Albany 56, Austin Pacelli 25
1991 (Class 1A): Rochester Lourdes 53, New London-Spicer 28
2000 (Class 2A): Rochester Lourdes 57, Sibley East 25
2003 (Class 2A): Rochester Lourdes 35, Breck 22
2004 (Class 2A): Breck 39, Hawley 23