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GBB: Barnesville tops Pelican Rapids for Section 8AA South Crown

MOORHEAD – Less than eight minutes into Tuesday’s Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 sub-section championship, Barnesville sophomore center Peyton Boom was tangling for the ball, went down and slammed her head on the Memorial Auditorium court.

The sound the back of her head made was fitting for her last name. Boom got up and ran down the court to the other end. If it wasn’t for her coach taking her out, she wouldn’t have left the floor.

“They are just a bring-a-pail-to-work team and let’s go,” Barnesville coach Ryan Bomstad said. “That’s about how every one of these kids are. The next play and the next 200 feet is all that matters.”

That’s the kind of team Barnesville’s girls squad team had to be, as the Trojans topped Pelican Rapids 49-36 to claim the sub-section championship Tuesday.

The Trojans will play Roseau on Friday at 7 p.m. at Bemidji State for the section championship and a chance at their first trip to state since 2007. To get to the section championship, all Barnesville had to do was beat three teams the Trojans were 1-6 against during the season.

“We knew that if we were going to beat these teams, we’d have to play our best basketball and teams play their best basketball in March,” said Barnesville freshman Nicole Herbranson, who had 13 points Tuesday. “We knew that it was do-or-die time, so we had to do it or this was it and we’d be done. We are a never-say-die team.”

No. 4-seeded Barnesville (15-13) opened the game on a 20-8 run and took a 23-10 lead into halftime. Pelican Rapids had more turnovers than field goals in the first half, as Barnesville forced seven turnovers and held the No. 3 seed Vikings to 5 of 14 shooting.

“You got a hot team right now that believes in each other,” Bomstad said. “They’ve played hard all year. They’ve lost a lot of close games and right now you’re seeing a very confident team.”

Pelican Rapids (19-9) opened the second half with a 14-6 run and cut the lead to five. Barnesville answered with a 7-0 run behind the Trojan seniors. Two layups from Alli Skogen and a 3-pointer from Megan Nielsen pushed the lead to 36-25 and the Vikings wouldn’t get within 10 from there.

“I knew we could do it, but it was a tough ride,” said Skogen, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. “We accomplished so much in the last couple of games. I wouldn’t trade my team for the world.”

Seniors like Skogen and Nielsen have been part of the last three Barnesville teams that have not won a playoff game.

“They’ve gone through ups and downs throughout the whole thing,” Bomstad said. “All the hard work has paid off. I can’t say how proud I am of that senior group.”

According to Bomstad, on Day 1 of practice he told his team that teams start playing their best come February. Barnesville is 8-3 since February began. As for March, the Trojans are perfect.

“We talked about it after we lost to Pelican Rapids (in the last game of the regular season),” Bomstad said. “I felt that we’d be there at the end and we’d be playing them in a subsection final.”

Half: B 23, PR 10

B: M. Nielsen 3, Solum 10, Skogen 12, Herbranson 13, Boom 6, E. Nielsen 5.

PR: Korf 14, Harthun 2, Haiby 6, Forsgren 7, Isaman 7.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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