The 2019 state girls’ basketball tournament will be one to remember with outstanding performances from Hopkins, DeLaSalle, Minnehaha Academy, Stillwater, and Robbinsdale Cooper.
Hopkins won its first title since 2015; DeLaSalle hadn’t experienced a title since 2013; Minnehaha Academy captured their first crown; and Stillwater made an appearance for the first time since 1988, while 2018 champ Robbinsdale Cooper made it back to the big dance to finish fourth.
There were lots of storylines that will be featured in future columns, but for now here is a quick summary of the tournament with pictures.
Nnaji’s quiet dominance leads Hopkins
Maya Nnaji led her team with 18 points in a quiet smoothness, Dlayla Chakolis and Paige Bueckers added 13 apiece, Kayla Adams scored 12 — all from three-point range — and Amaya Battle, who had an outstanding floor game, and Taylor Woodson added nine points each, giving Hopkins a 74-45 Class 4A state championship victory over Stillwater.
Stillwater, who were up 29-27 at halftime, were led by Sara Scalia’s 24 points and 16 from Alexis Pratt.
Nnaji, Chakolis, Bueckers, Scalia and Pratt were named to the Wells Fargo Class 4A All-Tournament Team.
Nora Francois comes up big for DeLaSalle
Nora Francois,along with timely three-point shooting, led the way with 14 points; guard Kiani Lockett, along with an all-round floor game, had 12; forward Nurjei Weems added 11, Mary C. Francois chipped in 10, Sydney Runsewe had seven points, and Leah Dengerud two points as DeLaSalle defeated Becker 56-40 to win the Class 3A championship.
Nora Francois, Lockett and Weems were named to the Wells Fargo Class 3A All-Tournament Team.
Rhoades led the way for Minnehaha Academy
Taytum Rhoades scored 29 points, playing with four fouls most of the second half. Mia Curtis had 18 before fouling out midway through the second half, Kate Pryor chipped in 10, Tana Gallo added six, Nevaeh Galloway had five points, including a tip-in basket that sealed the victory for the Red Hawks, and Avery New had four points, leading Minnehaha Academy to a 72-63 win over Caledonia to capture the Class 2A girls’ state basketball championship.
Rhoades, Curtis, and Galloway were named to the Wells Fargo Class 2A All-Tournament Team.
Wheeler, Tribble, Reliford led Cooper
Aja Wheeler had 16 points, Andrea Tribble added 15, and Jayla Reliford chipped in 14 as defending Class 3A champion Robbinsdale Cooper finished fourth, losing the third-place game to the Academy of Holy Angels 78-69.
Wheeler was named to the Wells Fargo Class 3A All-Tournament Team.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.