Braham/Esko rivalry renewed for 7AA finals

GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS: The Braham girls basketball team strung together three wins in the Section 7AA tourney to reach their fourth-straight championship battle. Awaiting them in the Thursday, March 8 (7 p.m.) finals will be familiar rival Esko.

BHS junior Becca Dahlman has scored 96 points in the Bombers' three playoff games, and she now has 1,028 points this season.

On Tuesday night, March 6, Braham frosted International Falls 80-54 while Esko knocked off Mora 55-38 behind 16 points and 6 rebounds from 6’8” Savanna Trapp. This will be the third-straight winter the Bombers and Eskomos face each other in the 7AA finals, with Braham advancing the past two years by tight scores of 63-52 and 58-55. The Bombers also won a 56-54 nail-biter over host Esko this regular season back on Jan 3.

The 7AA winner advances to the Class AA State Tourney for a Wednesday, March 14 quarterfinal game against the 2AA champ– either New Richland-HEG (29-0) or St. Peter (24-4). That game will be 6 p.m. at the Target Center. The Class AA semis will be Friday night, March 16 at the Target Center, with the championship at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 17.

Against the taller Broncos Tuesday night, Braham hit its first two three-pointers for an early 6-0 lead, and they never trailed the rest of the way. Running a good pick-and-roll game, International Falls hung around at 13-12 and 22-17, then the Bombers tore off a 16-0 run by continuing to knock down long-rangers.

Austyn Eng, Becca Dahlman and Kelsey Sorenson-Giffrow combined to sink four straight ‘3s’ to get it started, doubling the Broncos’ output at 34-17. KSG hit a jumper, then Dani Braund muscled back an offensive board to make it 38-17. An I.Falls’ free throw snapped the scoring string, but Dahlman drew fouls and popped four free throws to make it 42-20.

Eng, scoring 11 points in the first half, hit a long two-point field goal and followed up with another ‘3’ as the lead extended to 47-24. Dahlman added two last free throws to send the Bombers into the locker room with a 49-27 advantage.

Dahlman finished the game with 31 points to amazingly send her over the 1,000-point mark– for the season.  Becca, at 1,028 points, is closing in on the State record of 1,051 points Minneapolis South’s Tayler Hill set back in 2009.

Sorenson-Giffrow scored 21 points against the Broncos, with the Bombers getting 6 points each from Braund and Jaclyn Hollenkamp, and Kayla Nickles scoring 5.