BP: Red Lake lifts 2nd section title in 3 years with 74-59 win
March 11, 2019
THIEF RIVER FALLS -- The Red Lake High School girls basketball team hoisted the Section 8A championship trophy Friday night after taking down Stephen-Argyle 74-59 at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls.
The section title means the Warriors will make their second-ever trip to the Class A state tournament and their first since their inaugural appearance in 2017.
"They stayed poised, defense was intense, they shared the basketball and they stayed together," head coach Randy Holthusen told KKCQ radio. "That's what you want to see out of a championship game."
In the teams' lone regular-season meeting, the Storm (27-2) defeated Red Lake 50-42 in a December holiday tournament in Thief River Falls.
The East subsection top-seeded Warriors (21-7) avenged the loss Friday night and handed West top seed Stephen-Argyle its second loss of the season in the process. The Storm also defeated Red Lake 56-49 in last year's section championship, providing even more motivation to the Warriors.
"Us losing to Stephen-Argyle last year really pushed us to beat them this year to make it to state," sophomore Kelanna McClain told KKCQ. "Especially for my sister Angel McClain because she really deserves it."
Kelanna McClain led the Warriors with 17 points, followed closely by senior Angel McClain and junior Autumn Holthusen with 16 apiece. Junior Gerika Kingbird also broke double digits with 14 points.
Stephen-Argyle's only lead of the game came at 4-3 in the opening minutes. Red Lake quickly churned out a 13-0 run that was capped by a Holthusen trey to take a 16-4 lead.
The Storm cut the deficit to three points at 27-24 with 4:57 to go in the first half. The Warriors pushed the lead to 10 points before Greta Weberg nailed a half-court shot at the buzzer to narrow the halftime lead to seven for Red Lake at 41-34.
Though Stephen-Argyle appeared to have the momentum going into the second half, the Warriors locked down defensively out of the break, assuming a 55-38 lead -- their largest of the game -- six minutes into the frame.
"I thought our defense paved the way for our offense there, and we just didn't let up," coach Holthusen said. "Our pressure was just phenomenal. ... They were ready to play tonight and that's all we've been preaching all year. You've got to come ready to play, and they sure did tonight."
The Warriors led comfortably the rest of the way as the celebrations erupted at the final whistle in the 74-59 victory.
Red Lake will open play in the Class A state tournament Thursday, March 14, at the University of Minnesota's Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis.
"It's very special to me and my teammates because we've been together since third grade, so almost 12 years," Kelanna McClain said of qualifying for state. "It's one of our biggest accomplishments that we've had in a while."
Red Lake 74, Stephen-Argyle 59
RL 41 33 -- 74
SA 34 25 -- 59
RED LAKE (21-7) -- K. McClain 17, Holthusen 16, A. McClain 16, Kingbird 14, Chaboyea 7, L. Pemberton 2, Roy 2.
STEPHEN-ARGYLE (27-2) -- Mooney 22, McGlynn 20, Riopelle 6, G. Carlson 4, Weberg 3, A. Johnson 2.