The Becker girls basketball team had to work hard for its fifth consecutive state tournament appearance, defeating M8 Conference foe Monticello 62-49 to capture the Section 5AAA crown.
“This was a tough fought win versus a much improved Monticello team that finished 23-6 on the season,” Coach Dan Baird said. “Monticello out-rebounded us 26-23, but they had 16 turnovers to our 11.”
Becker went into halftime with a 29-18 lead, but the Magic stuck around with their senior dominated lineup fighting hard to the end.
“The difference in the game was foul shooting and three-point makes,” Baird said. “We held their superstar, Samantha Voll, to 18 points on 5-for-14 shooting with nine turnovers and zero assists. This defense was key in the victory. Our game plan was to just make things tough on her and they were.”
Becker won the free throw battle, hitting 14 of 16, while the Magic shot 10-for-16 from the line.
Becker also had six three-pointers to the Magic’s three.
Offensively, Maren Westin led the Bulldogs with 24 points, while Dani Nuest was close behind with 18 points.
“Maren had a nice game with 24 points,” Baird said. “Liz Mackedanz came up with a huge performance as well, scoring 11 points to go with seven rebounds.”
The win moved Becker’s record to 25-3 on the season, good enough to earn them the #1 seed in the state Class AAA tournament, which started Wednesday on the campus of the U of MN.
Becker opened play versus 21-9 Marshall in the quarterfinals Wednesday morning at the Maturi Pavilion.
Complete details on Becker’s pursuit of another state title will be featured in next week’s Patriot.
Becker scoring: Nuest 18, Westin 24, Hannah Dierkes 6, Ayla Brown 3, Liz Mackedanz 11 (7 rebounds).
Becker’s coaching staff earned some recognition last week as well, as Head Coach Dan Baird and Assistant Coach Dom Squires were named the Section 5AAA coaches of the year.
Baird shared the honor with Monticello’s Craig Geyen. The recognition comes from the MN Girls Basketball Coaches Association.
The association also announced its All-State and All-State Honorable Mention teams, and Becker was well represented.
Dani Nuest, Maren Westin and Ayla Brown each earned All-State Honors for the Bulldogs.