Turnovers Doom Kasson-Mantorville in State Semifinal
The Kasson-Mantorville Komets won't be playing for a state title Saturday, but will have a chance to end the season with a win. The Komets fell to defending state champion Park Center of Brooklyn Park 47-37 in a hard-fought defensive struggle.
Turnovers were the story of the game. K-M had 24 turnovers and Park Center scored 20 points off them. The final differential was 20-6. The Pirates had a 12-point lead with 8:45 to go in the first half. At that point, Kasson-Mantorville had just one field goal on the first possession of the game. The Komets whittled the deficit down to two at the half 18-16 while doubling Park Center on the glass 22-11.
Six-foot-2 sophomore Kristen Scott collected six points and nine rebounds in the first half and ended the game with 19 points and 18 rebounds for the Komets. Five-foot-9 junior guard Maddie Worden had eight points and seven rebounds at the half. The Pirates connected on five threes in 16 attempts compared to K-M's one in seven tries.
In the second half, Kasson-Mantorville took the lead with 13:21 to go on a made basket and free throw by Scott. Park Center went down the floor and launched a three and missed and the Komets got a bucket from senior Danika Hodgman to give them a three-point lead with 12:45 to go. Hodgman was fouled on the shot, but missed the free throw. Park Center tied it on their next possession and then took the lead after two more missed free throws and a turnover. Kasson-Mantorville trailed 37-34 with 6:02 to go. The Pirates punched the lead up to 10 with about three minutes to go to dash the hopes of K-M to be the Cinderella team in the state title game.
Scott was the only Komet in double figures. Her 19 points came on eight of 15 shooting. Worden finished with eight points and seven rebounds. K-M shot 31.8 percent for the game while Park Center shot 31.4 percent. Park Center's 6-foot-1 sophomore Mikayla Hayes got in some foul trouble and scored nine points and had seven rebounds. Five-foot-5 senior Hannah Schaub led the Pirates with 12 points and 5-foot-5 sophomore Ann Simonet tallied 11.
Komet head coach Ryan Haraldson told KDHL he knew it would be a struggle without senior point guard Cori Kennedy. Kennedy was on the bench with crutches after hurting her knee in the quarterfinal game against New Prague and told me after the game she heads to the hospital for an MRI on Friday morning. The No. 2-seeded and No. 4-rated defending state champions will play Marshall for the crown Saturday night at 6 p.m.
Marshall upset top-ranked and top seeded Orono 55-48 in the other Class AAA semifinal game. The Marshall Tigers had a 15-point lead at the half over the Orono Spartans and saw the lead cut to four with 5:08 to go, but hung on for the victory. It was just the second loss of the season for the Spartans and their first to a Class AAA team. Their only other loss was to Minnetonka. Marshall is now 29-2 and plays Park Center at 6 p.m. Saturday for the state title at Williams Arena. It's a rematch of last year's title game. The Spartans will play Kasson-Mantorville in the third-place game at Concordia University in St. Paul with a scheduled 2 p.m. tip and you can hear the game on KDHL 920 AM and at kdhlradio.com.
Remember, you can download the free Radio Pup app and listen on your favorite mobile device. Marshall was rated No. 2 in the final Minnesota Basketball News coaches poll and seeded No. 4 in the tournament while Park Center was rated No. 3 and seeded No. 2.