Physical battle pitted Class AA top-ranked Braham against ‘A’ 2nd-ranked Barnum
Five nights after hammering section-foe Esko 83-46, the Braham girls enjoyed another premier game on Feb. 22 when Barnum came to town. The Bombers, ranked No. 1 in Class AA, finished strongly to defeat Barnum, ranked No. 2 in Class A, 60-49.
Those two victories should lock in a No. 1 seed for Braham when the Section 7AA playoff brackets are determined later this week. The section tourney gets underway Wednesday, March 2 with home games for the higher seeds.
The Tuesday night game matching the two Bomber squads wasn’t the sharpest affair, but you have to credit two stifling defenses for that. Hannah Dahlman’s breakaway bucket and Kelsey Sorenson-Giffrow’s three-pointer and inside hoop were part of a 13-4 early lead for Braham. After Barnum pulled within 15-13, Katie Nickles sunk a ‘3,’ but the northern Bombers eventually slid ahead 19-18.
Braham clanged its share of shots, but Becca Dahlman’s step-back three-pointer tied the game at 23-23, and she hit one last free throw to send her team into the halftime break leading 24-23.
Barnum star Jessica Newman began asserting herself to start the second half, with her running banker putting the Bombers up 35-30. That’s when Braham’s Liz Anderson took over.
Anderson worked to get open and sunk four straight ‘3s,’ (above) building a slight edge that Braham would not relinquish the rest of the way. Austyn Eng sunk her only three-pointer soon after for a 48-43 Braham lead.
From there, B. Dahlman attacked the basket to draw fouls, and she finished the night making 15-of-17 free throws. Her hoop off an inbounds play was followed by one last three-pointer– a final dagger in Barnum’s side. From there, the Bombers did a great job running down the clock, with Sorenson-Giffrow and H. Dahlman going 4-for-4 at the line.
“The first half, we weren’t supposed to shoot any more ‘3s’ because they weren’t falling, so we were supposed to take it to the hole. In the second half, we just kind of lit up and the ‘3s’ were falling for us,” said Anderson. “This was a pretty big game tonight to get us ready for the playoffs.”
B. Dahlman led all scorers with 29 points, with Anderson finishing with those 12 points and Sorenson-Giffrow scoring 7. Newman finished with 18 points for Barnum.
GRC Girls Basketball
Braham 15-0, 23-2; Isle 12-3, 20-4; Rush City 12-3, 16-5; Aitkin 8-7, 13-11; East Central 8-8, 11-12; Ogilvie 6-9, 9-12; Pine City 5-10, 7-17; Onamia 2-13, 4-19; Hinckley 0-15, 1-19.
7AA Leaders: Braham 23-2; Esko 21-3; Mora 17-7, Deer River 17-8; Rush City 16-5.