Bombers clinch conference championship by defeating rivals Aitkin, Rush City
The Braham girls clinched at least a share of their second straight Great River title when they hammered rival Rush City at home 77-28 Feb. 8. In the process, the Bombers extended their conference win streak to 30 games.
Senior guard Liz Anderson set the pace for the Bombers in the win over the Tigers.
The Tigers were down just 15-8 when the Bombers dropped the clutch and tore off on a 15-0 run in the first half. With point guard Liz Anderson pushing the ball at every opportunity, Becca Dahlman scored off a steal and Kayla Nickles hit a jumper to begin the run. Dahlman’s O-board putback was followed by Kelsey Sorenson-Giffrow nailing a three-pointer.
As RC’s turnover count kept rising under Braham’s pressure defense, Dahlman scored off another steal and then another offensive board. KSG’s two free throws completed the run before the Tigers finally drained a “3” to make it 30-11.
Hannah Dahlman’s play down the final minutes of the half kept the pressure on the Tigers. She fed sister Becca on a quick pass for another inside bucket, then Hannah scored six of the team’s final eight points of the half, including calmly draining a jumper with one second left on the clock for a 42-12 lead at the break.
"I’m proud of the defense the girls played against Rush City. We mixed up the looks between the half-set and full-court defenses, and our girls really put the clamps down well," said Bomber Coach Tim Malone. "I thought Hannah did a great job fighting through a dislocated finger injury she got in the Aitkin game. She kept playing hard and overcame the injury to shoot well."
B. Dahlman finished with 32 points in the win, with H. Dahlman and Sorenson-Giffrow both scoring 17.
Senior Katie Nickles battled inside against the Tigers’ Jamie Friday.
• The win over RC followed an 85-30 victory at Aitkin Feb. 3. Sorenson-Giffrow had a fine all-around game with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 assists. H. Dahlman added 13 points and 9 assists, with B. Dahlman leading the scorers with 29 points. Both Katie and Kayla Nickles added 9 points, and Anderson contributed 8 points.
*Aitkin AD Dan Stifter had very nice comments about the Bombers’ treatment toward three injured Gobbler players that evening, posted on John Millea’s blog: www.mshsl.org/mshsl/johnsjournal.asp. Scroll down to "Hats off to Braham Bombers"
• With the GRC title firmly in hand, Braham, still ranked No. 1 in Class AA, picks up the pace with a super stretch of games over the next two weeks: at Minnetonka (16-4) this Friday, at Isle Feb. 15 then home games against Esko Feb. 17 and “A” top-ranked Barnum Feb. 22.
"Minnetonka is nearly the same team which beat us by 22 points last year when we were leading by 3 at the half," said Coach Malone. "They’re similar to us in size, and both teams like to get up-and-down the floor. It will be a good test for our kids."
GRC Girls Basketball
Braham 14-0, 20-1; Isle 12-2, 17-3; Rush City 10-3, 13-4; East Central 8-7, 9-10; Aitkin 6-7, 10-11; Pine City 5-8, 7-12; Ogilvie 4-9, 6-11; Onamia 2-11, 4-15; Hinckley 0-14, 0-16.
7AA Leaders: Braham 20-1; Esko 18-1; Deer River 15-7; Rush City 13-4; Mora 12-5.