A new superstar took the center stage in Minnesota girls basketball on Saturday.
Just a junior, 5-foot-10 guard Carlie Wagner
exploded for 50 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (New Richland, Minn.)
to a heart-stopping 60-59 victory over previously unbeaten Braham in the Class AA state championship. game.
It marked the first state title for NRHEG, which finished with a 32-1 record and 30-game winning streak. Braham finished with a 32-1 record.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the University of Minnesota recruit broke five state tournament records: most field goal attempts in a tournament (110) and game (43), most field goals made in a tournament (48), most points in a tournament (129) and in a game (50). She also tied the record by making 21 field goals in a single game.
Two of the records she broke - most points in a game and tournament - belonged to her from her sophomore year. She had tied her record the previous day with 48 points in the semifinals.
The Panthers needed every point, because their second leading scorer, Jade Schultz
, went down with a knee injury in the semifinals.
Her free throw with 6.1 seconds left provided the winning point in one of the best games in state tournament history and then - just for good measure - she stole the ball to run out the clock. Rebekah Dahlman
, slowed by fouls in the first half, poured in 30 of her 32 points after the intermission to erase a 14-point deficit in less than eight minutes, but fouled out with 37.4 seconds left. The 5-9 senior guard completed her brilliant record-breaking Braham career with over 5,000 points.
NRHEG coach John Schultz told the Star-Tribune, "You had two amazing athletes take it to the next level to make their teams successful."
Dahlman said, "We were this close. If we could just stop Carlie Wagner. She's so good. I didn't want to end my senior year sitting on the bench."
Paying back the tribute, Wagner said, "That changed the game when she left."
Expect to see Wagner and her twin sisters, who will be freshmen, back in the finals again next year.