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Eric Peterson, Published March 11 2014

Ada-Borup advances to girls basketball section finals

MOORHEAD – Even though Ada-Borup senior Monica Vega has played in multiple section semifinal games, human nature still plays a role.

“I think naturally we still get nerves, but we know we have been here before,” Vega said.

Vega and her teammates shook any nerves late in the first half Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium. The No. 4-ranked Cougars scored the final nine points heading into halftime. That surge helped spark Ada-Borup to a 58-29 victory against Lake Park-Audubon in the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 girls basketball semifinals.

The Cougars (27-1) earned their fourth consecutive North sub-section title. They have won eight of the past nine sub-section championships.

“The credit for that has to go to the girls.” Ada-Borup head coach David Smart said of the sustained success. “These girls have worked hard, and each group that comes along, doesn’t want to be ‘that’ group. Everybody puts in the time, and it’s been a snowball effect. I hope it doesn’t end.”

Ada-Borup plays West Central Area at 7 p.m. Friday at Minnesota-Morris for the section championship. The Cougars have won the past two section titles.

Lake Park-Audubon (17-9) had its six-game winning streak snapped and its season ended. Raiders head coach Brad Dunham was proud of the year his team had.

“We set a lot of goals, and we reached a lot of goals,” Dunham said. “Getting to this game was one of them.”

Lake Park-Audubon hung close early. Raiders junior Megan Hilfer sank two free throws that tied the score at 15-15 with 5 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the first half. The Cougars took control from that point, responding with a 13-2 run that included the final nine points in the opening half. Ada-Borup junior Miki Lee fueled that rally with seven points during that stretch. Lee capped the surge with a foul shot that gave the Cougars a 28-17 lead late in the half.

“We got rattled and we couldn’t come back from it,” Dunham said.

“I think it was important to go into halftime with a double-digit lead, both for us and how that was going to make LP-A feel,” Smart added. “The second half we came out and set the tone early.”

The Cougars had a string of seven consecutive points early in the second half that pushed their lead to 35-19 after the Raiders scored the first basket in the second half. Ada-Borup forced 26 turnovers. Vega finished with a game-high 17 points.

“We’re a second-half team,” Vega said. “We know if we run the ball in the first half, and we wear them down in the second half, it will come our way.”

LPA (17-9): Hamre 1 0-2 2, L. Olson 0 3-4 3, Swenson 0 0-0 0, Hogie 3 0-1 6, Bartunek 5 1-2 11, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Hilfer 1 3-3 5, Raaen 0 2-2 2, Morrow 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0, K. Olson 0 0-0 0, Dahlgren 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 9-14 29.

AB (27-1): Stevenson 3 1-2 8, Vega 3 11-14 17, Eggen 3 0-2 6, Gehrtz 1 1-1 3, Hal. Poehler 0 3-4 3, Lee 5 2-4 12, Merkens 3 1-2 9, Han. Poehler 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Birkemeyer 0 0-0 0, Kroshus 0 0-0 0, Hilde 0 0-0 0, Erickson 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 19-29 58.

Half: AB 28, LPA 17. 3-point goals: Stevenson. Total fouls: LPA 20, AB 17. Rebounds: LPA 18 (Bartunek 3, Raaen 3), AB 22 (Vega 4). Turnovers: LPA 26, AB 13.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com