MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- An 18-point lead was enough for Rochester Lourdes.
Barely enough, it turns out.
Second-ranked Albany roared back from the huge deficit in less than two quarters of basketball, but the hole was too big to get out of as No. 3 Lourdes held on for the 55-53 win in the girls' Class 2A state basketball semifinals.
"What a way to hold a lead, huh?" quipped Lourdes coach Myron Glass, who's finishing up his 20th season.
Trailing 37-19 early in the third period, Albany (30-1) clawed back to within three points at 53-50 when Dani Gill banked in an off-balance shot with 13 seconds remaining in the game.
After Anne Breland made a free throw for Lourdes, Darby Noreen connected on a long 3-pointer to close the gap to two. But Lourdes was able to run out the clock on the in-bounds play, handing Albany its first loss of the season.
"When you're an undefeated team and it's the state tournament, you don't give up," said Glass, who will lead the Eagles into Saturday's 2 p.m. title game against top-ranked Breck, who beat Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 43-24.
Lourdes (29-2) was pretty unbelievable themselves at the start, hitting seven of their first eight shots and holding Albany without a field goal for nearly 13 minutes. The Huskies scored just three points in the second quarter.
"That just killed us," said Albany coach Jon Noreen on the offensive drought. "But we dug in and played the way we are capable of playing. It was just too late."
Lourdes' Ellen Hake led all scorers with 18 points, while teammates Steph Knell and Anne Breland each scored 15. Darby Noreen led Albany with 16 points, while her sister Joanne scored 10. Gill also added 10 points.
Albany came into the game winning 30 in a row by an average margin of 28 points.
Breck (25-4) used a rugged defense to shut down Dilworth's offense, which did not have a player score in double figures.
"It was really about the physical nature of the game," said Dilworth coach Ron Tollefson.
Melissa Miller scored 16 points for the Mustangs, with Lindsay Hugstag-Vaa adding 12.
Lourdes is going for its seventh state championship, all under long-time coach Myron Glass.
Breck coach Ray Finley led Blake to a pair of state championships, and has the Mustangs in a title game for the first time.
"I think we've both looked at each other a lot, and we're familiar with each other," said Finley about Saturday's championship matchup. "We're happy to be playing in the finals."
Tonya Tripp led the Rebels with nine points.
Breck never trailed, scoring the game's first five points and eventually taking a 19-12 lead late in the second quarter on a basket by Kelly Roe Finley. Neither team shot well in the opening half. Breck made 7-of-20 from the floor, while Dilworth (25-3) was 6 of 15.
The Mustangs pushed the lead to 11 points at 27-16 on a 3-pointer by Sophie Farrell halfway through the third period.
In the Class 1A semifinals, Kelly Roysland showed she's more than comfortable in her future home, scoring 25 points, grabbing nine rebounds and adding four assists as Fosston advanced to the state finals with a 53-50 victory over Fulda at Williams Arena.
"I think I'm one of the leaders on the floor. That's what a captain needs to do, step up and make big plays," said Roysland, a guard who will play at the University of Minnesota next season. "But I wasn't the only one. It was a whole team effort."
Roysland, who averages 25.2 points a game, converted the front end of a one-and-one with 20.7 seconds left, giving Fosston (29-2) a 53-50 lead. Fulda (22-6) had a chance to tie when Roysland missed the second free throw, but the Raiders' Jamie Goedtke missed a long 3-pointer with three seconds left.
"It's more than just Roysland out there," said Fulda coach Gregg Slaathaug. "They have some pretty good basketball players. If we would have left them open, they would have killed us."
The game started slow, with Fosston taking an 8-4 lead after one quarter thanks to Roysland, who had six points in the game's first eight minutes despite drawing extra defensive attention from the start.
Fulda, which was led by Erin Oakland's 14 points, responded in the second quarter, closing with a 13-4 run that gave them a 26-20 lead heading into halftime.
Fosston, which shot just 27 percent from the field in the first half, looked like a different team in the third quarter, using six straight points from Roysland as part of an 8-0 run that gave the Greyhounds a 41-36 lead.
"All year the third quarter has been the big quarter for us," said Fosston coach Rochelle Mahlen. "The girls were frustrated in the first half, but they hung in there, they kept the game close."
The Greyhounds shot 55 percent from the field in the second half, while Fulda saw their field goal accuracy dip from 50 percent in the first half to just 32 percent in the third and fourth quarters.
Along with Roysland, who played the final five minutes of the game with four fouls, Fosston relied heavily on guard Kayla Bagaason, who scored seven of her 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers.
In the other Class 1A semifinal, patience was the name of the game for Hawley, which used a ball-control offense to hold off Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 44-43 and advance to Saturday's final against Fosston.
"In terms of being patient, we'll take what we can get," said Bulldogs coach Bill Gottenborg. "The big thing was not giving up any fast breaks."
Hawley (23-7) used a balanced scoring attack, led by Anna Walden's 12 points, to keep the game close after Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (30-2) jumped to a 17-12 lead after one quarter.
"Once we came back, we had the feeling back in our minds that, okay, we can take this game," Walden said.
The teams traded narrow leads from the second quarter on, with Hawley going into the game's final eight minutes leading 37-36. In the fourth quarter the Nuggets really slowed things down, holding the ball for long periods on offense, frustrating a Bulldogs team that shot 50 percent from the field for the game but only had 28 field goal attempts compared to Hawley's 41.
"They just pass the ball around a lot, and we didn't want to get up in their faces because they're so quick. So we just had to lay back and let them do their thing," said Jenna Ziemke, who led the Bulldogs with 20 points.
Mahlen said her Fosston team will know what to expect when it faces Hawley. "It's going to be tough," she said. "They're very patient. They wait and wait and wait until you break down somewhere. Then they attack you."
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