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.
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.