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Girls Basketball: Alexandria finishes fourth in Class-3A State Tournament

The Alexandria girls basketball team poses with its fourth place state tournament trophy after dropping the Class-3A third-place matchup 74-66 to the Academy of Holy Angels on Saturday at Concordia University. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Echo Press)

The Alexandria girls basketball team fell to the Academy of Holy Angels 74-66 on Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul to finish fourth in the Class-3A State Tournament.

“It was probably one of my most favorite games to coach just because of the way that we competed,” Cardinals head coach Wendy Kohler said. “I felt the whole game we played the way we needed to play against them. We were playing hard. We were continually making adjustments throughout the course of the game. I thought we were right where we needed to be at halftime. Then they had a few more possessions where they either scored or got fouled than we did.

In the last three minutes of the first half, senior Kendall Kohler fought through the Holy Angels trap and drew three fouls in the bonus and made four of her six free throws, as well as sinking a three, to keep the Cards close at a 34-33 deficit at the half.

“She used some nice hesitation to bait them, and they would end up fouling her,” coach Kohler said, adding that the team emphasizes keeping a live dribble in those situations. “(Drawing fouls) wasn’t part of the plan. I think we were just trying to make some adjustments and it was taking awhile for them to communicate.”

The Cardinals matched their first-half offense with 33 more points in the second half, but the Stars found holes in the Alex defense and was able to get to the line for 39 attempts on the game to make the difference.

Megan Thompson and Destinee Oberg had 23 points each for Holy Family, going 13-18 and 7-9 from the stripe, respectively, and combining for a 13-for-26 effort from the field.

Kohler finished the game with a team-leading 25 points, followed by Kayla Feldhake with 15 and Kiyana Miller with eight.

With four minutes left in the game, the Cardinals called timeout down 62-56 to take a breather and figure out their game plan down the stretch.

“At that point, we knew it was too early to foul,” coach Kohler said. “But we knew we wanted our 1-3-1 trap and were seeing if we could get a quick one, maybe get them to choke it up and get a five-count. If we were going to do it, that was when we needed to do it.”

Two K. Kohler threes sandwiched a Stars bucket to bring the score to 66-62, but then Holy Angels reached the double bonus and Thompson went 8-for-10 from the line the rest of the way to keep the game out of Alexandria’s reach.

The Cardinals finish their season with a 26-6 record.

“I’m not crying because we lost, I’m crying because it’s over,” said coach Kohler. “What a fantastic group of seniors, every single one of them. These are some really terrific championship basketball teams down here. My favorite part was coaching that game. We won every game, except for on the scoreboard, because I loved watching our girls compete. To me, there’s nothing greater than having a team compete with unbelievable competitive greatness. I loved it.”

HOLY ANGELS     34 40 - 74

ALEXANDRIA     33 33 - 66

TOTALS - FG - ALX 23-57, AHA 23-51; 3PT FG - ALX 9-27, AHA 0-2; FT - ALX 11-15, AHA 28-39; Rebounds - ALX 32; AHA 38; Turnovers - ALX 16; AHA 12

ALEXANDRIA STATS - Kohler - 25 points, 2 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 5 turnovers

Feldhake - 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 2 turnovers; Miller - 8 points, 1 rebound, 3 steals, 1 assist, 4 turnovers; Emma Ziegler - 5 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover; Kara Thomson - 5 points; Kelby Olson-Rodel - 4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, 3 turnovers; Emma Schmidt - 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist; Courtney Gould - 2 points, 1 rebound; McKenzie Duwenhoegger - 5 rebounds; Kaye Paschka - 1 assist, 1 turnover

HOLY ANGELS STATS - Thompson - 23 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover; Oberg - 23 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers; Van Der Werf - 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 turnovers; Frankie Vascellaro - 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover; Megan Meyer - 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal; Riley Thalhuber - 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover; Rachel Kawiecki - 2 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 1 turnover; Alex Walker - 2 steals, 1 assist; Emma Henry - 1 rebound; Emma Mastre - 1 rebound