March 18, 2023 at 10:38 p.m.

Huskies leave it all on court versus Lions

Huskies leave it all on court versus Lions
Huskies leave it all on court versus Lions

By Evan Michealson- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Providence Academy tops Albany in Class AA championship

The Providence Academy Lions, led by freshman 2,000-point scoring phenom Maddyn Greenway, had established themselves as not only Class AA’s top title threat, but one of the state’s strongest overall programs. 

Wins over second-ranked Class AAAA Hopkins, a pair of victories over the always-dangerous Minnehaha Academy and a triumph over Class AAA semifinalist Becker were among many elite performances that seemed to make the Lions a lock for its second straight championship.

However, the Albany Huskies, winners of 30 games during the 2022-23 season and led by a lineup of experienced playoff performers, were not intimidated by Providence Academy’s speed and skill, entering the halftime break of the Minnesota State High School League Class AA Girls Basketball State Tournament championship game with a 33-32 lead.

“We were pretty open and honest about, you’re not going to play Providence and not have a run of seven or eight at some point,” said Aaron Boyum, head coach. “That’s just going to happen. It’s understanding that at the beginning and being able to persevere and fight through that and reset and refocus when that happens.”

Unfortunately for the Huskies, it could not quell a series of devastating Lion runs, as Providence Academy used a 15-2 run to begin the second half to leave the Williams Court floor as champions March 18 in Minneapolis.

“Providence is so explosive in their transition game and their transition game and their ability to get up and down,” Boyum said. “We just had some stretches where we saw their transition game come to life.”

Greenway got settled into the game immediately, knocking down the first two shots for the Lions, but up to the task of matching her level of play was Albany junior forward Alyssa Sand, who, in the first five minutes of the contest, had accumulated six points and five rebounds, many on the offensive end for second-chance points.

The end result of Sand’s incredible effort was a performance for the Albany history books, as the Class AA All-State and All-Tournament selection piled up a team-leading 29 points, a whopping 21 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.

“I was working hard and going for everything, no matter where I was,” Sand said. “I’m pretty tall and have long arms, so it’s a matter of using my arms.”

Providence Academy led for much of the first half, including a 15-9 advantage, but Albany’s defense ensured the third-seeded Huskies stayed in the game. The Lions shot just 2 of 12 from 3-point range and 34.4% as a team.

Albany tied the game at 24 on a 3-pointer from junior guard Tatum Findley, who proceeded to connect on another three and a jumper, helping the Huskies close out the half on stop.

“It felt pretty good,” Findley said. “I could tell Maddyn was guarding me most of the game and she was going double, so I was just confident.”

With a loud crowd backing them and with the Lions on the back foot, the Huskies returned from the intermission with momentum of its side. That was quickly erased when Providence Academy scored eight points in 2 minutes and 28 seconds, reclaiming the lead for good.

Greenway’s energy and fast pace eventually swung the game in the Lions’ favor. While the Huskies held her in check from an efficiency standpoint at 10-for-26 shooting, the dominant guard still scored 31 points, several coming off of her five steals.

“She’s special,” Boyum said. “She goes and gets after things, not only her pressure offensively, defensively too, the way she gets after the ball and forces you to take care of the basketball.”

The Huskies applied late pressure to the Lions, turning a 19-point deficit into a 12-point one. However, it was unable to convert this into a miraculous rally, as Providence Academy forwards Grace Counts and Hope Counts grabbed a combined 15 offensive rebounds, keeping the ball out of Albany’s hands.

“It was pretty intense, especially in the second half, fighting for rebounds and working hard,” Sand said.

Findley ended the entertaining matchup with 11 points, forward Kylan Gerads added nine points and seven points and Callie Holthaus tallied seven points off the bench in the hard-fought, memorable effort.

“All week, the girls played hard and played together,” Boyum said. “We’re still very proud of them.”

The Huskies end the campaign with a stellar 30-2 record, including an undefeated record in Granite Ridge Conference play and an unblemished 16-0 mark in an always-challenging Section 6AA.

ALB      33        27        60

PA        32        42        74

Sand 29 points (21R, 3A, 3S), Findley 11, Gerads 9 (7R), Holthaus 7, Savanna Pelzer 2 (4R) and Natalie Blonigen 2.




You must login to comment.


Top Stories

Today's Edition