It's not how you start but how you finish. Each of the favorites got off to a slow start in Thursday's South Subsection 2AA semifinals. WEM and NRHEG rallied for victories.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 46, Fairmont 41

Top-seed WEM fell behind 15-2 in the opening minutes of the subsection semifinal at a packed Mankato East High School gym. The Buccaneers responded with a 17-0 run. WEM was up 25-20 at halftime. Erika Olson scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half. The Cardinals pulled even early in the second half but had to sit their top player, Courtney Mosloski, due to foul trouble. The Bucs went on a 10-0 run for a 39-31 lead. The Cardinals battled back to within 42-41 as WEM had trouble at the free throw line. Tierney Winter finally ended the charity stripe struggles by making three-out-of-four to seal the win. WEM (25-3) advances to the subsection finals against NRHEG on Monday, March 7, at MSU-Mankato at 7:30PM.

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 44, Blue Earth Area 41, overtime

The second-seeded Panthers fell behind 8-2. The Buccaneers played at a very slow, deliberate pace that seemed to fluster the up-tempo minded Panthers. Rachel Collins made the first field goal for NRHEG, a three-pointer, several minutes into the game. She also hit the final shot of the first half, another trey, with two seconds remaining for a 15-12 lead at the break. The Panthers led most of the second half but the Bucs scored the final six points of the half to force overtime. Blue Earth Area scored the first points of the extra session, but NRHEG went ahead for good on a steal-layup by Maddie Wagner. Collins and Kayley Camerer led the Panther with 12 points. NRHEG (22-6) meets Gopher Conference champ WEM on Monday at 7:30PM at MSU-Mankato. The Bucs swept the Panthers during the regular season. WEM defeated NRHEG in the playoffs last season.

Roy Koenig, Townsquare Media