After being puzzled how to attack New Richland-H-E-G’s smothering 1-3-1 zone in the first half, the Braham girls regrouped and attacked hard in the second half to make Saturday’s Class AA championship a game. Braham senior Becca Dahlman scored 30 of her 32 points in that second half before closing her career with a fifth foul with 37.4 seconds remaining as the Panthers went on to win their first State title 60-59.
Panther junior Carlie Wagner knocked down 50 points to set a State single-game record while willing her team to the championship. Her team owned a 27-15 lead at the half, with Wagner scoring 19 in those 18 minutes.
Dahlman and the Bombers answered back with a hard-pressing defense which had that lead melting. Kayla Nickles’ three-pointer put Braham ahead for the first time at 37-35, but Wagner kept scoring to stem the tide. Her made free throw with 6.1 seconds left was the final difference, along with her making a steal on Braham’s final possession.
Nickles finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds for Braham, Dani Braund scored 9 with 9 rebounds, and Dahlman added 8 boards. The Bombers shot just 3-of-15 from the arc, along with sinking 14-of-22 free throws (Dahlman went 11-of-13 at the line).
The Bombers close the season with a 32-1 record– most all-time for wins for the girls’ program. The five-year State run saw them bring home one champion trophy and two runner-up trophies from the Target Center.