Thursday Night Sports: In the Section 7AAAA girls basketball quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Cambridge-Isanti persisted in overcoming No. 7 St. Francis 70-64 in an entertaining opener to the 2012 playoffs. The Saints were within 66-62 with under a minute to play until C-I’s Whitney Olson sunk 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to lead all scorers with 33 points.
The Saints began the game with a 19-9 lead midway through the first half. Olson popped a pair of three-pointers to help the Bluejackets cut the deficit to 28-25 at the break. More leading scorers for C-I were Lily Porta (8), Emily Holboy (7), Paiege Muehlhauser (7), and Amanda Hanson (6).
“They came out strong, but we just played our game. They were aggressive, we were aggressive. But all of us just played solidly to get this home win,” said senior Holboy, whose made free throws tied the game at 37-37 after C-I trailed from the opening minutes.
For the Tuesday night, March 6 semifinals, the Bluejackets (19-8) will host No. 3 Forest Lake who defeated Blaine 47-32 in the quarters. The other semifinals will be No. 4 Andover (68-40 over defending section champ Anoka) traveling to top-seed Duluth East.
Braham Girls 101, Hinckley-Finlayson 20
As expected, the 7AA South top-seed Bombers had no trouble defeating No. 8 seed Hinckley-Finlayson in the opening round of the section girls basketball tourney. Leading scorers for Braham were Becca Dahlman (29), Kesley Sorenson-Giffrow (17), Kayla Nickles (14), Jaclyn Hollenkamp (11), Austyn Eng (7) and Dani Braund (7).
The Bombers will next face South No. 4 Rush City on Saturday, March 3 (2:45 p.m.) at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Tigers got past No. 5 Aitkin 56-34 March 1.
In Braham’s half of the brackets, North No. 2 International Falls beat Deer River 61-42 and will play North No. 3 Eveleth-Gilbert (55-31 over Greenway). In the lower brackets, North top-seed Esko won 65-31 and will play No. 4 Virginia. Mora (75-15 over Milaca) and Moose Lake-Willow River (59-51 over Pine City) are also alive.
Cambridge Christian hoops teams win CAL openers
At the Christian Athletic League Finals in Mankato March 1, the No. 3 seed Cambridge Christian girls opened play with a 60-32 win over No. 6 Mt. Lake. The Warriors take on No. 2 Christian Life in a good rivalry match in the March 2 semifinals.
The No. 3 seed CCS boys began the tourney by downing No. 6 Christian Life 78-56. The Warriors go against No. 2 Rochester Area Home School in the March 2 semis.
State Diving: Brown places 26th
In the March 1 Class AA Diving prelims at the U of M, Cambridge-Isanti sophomore Parker Brown placed 26th, missing the cut into the evening’s semifinals.
Buffalo 67, C-I Boys Basketball 53
Prior to the Jacket girls playoff game, the Cambridge-Isanti boys hosted the make-up game with Buffalo, with the Bison taking the road victory. The Bluejackets (3-22) close the regular season at Rogers March 2.
Section 7AA Boys Hockey: Duluth East 4, Andover 1
The No. 1 ranked Greyhounds won the Section 7AA boys hockey championship for the fourth-straight season by holding down the Huskies March 1 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Dom Toninato scored 2 goals and had 1 assist for the ‘Hounds who out-shot Andover 41-19 and advance to next week’s Class AA State Tournament.