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Girls go down in 7A semis

Program-record 23 wins, second trip to final four part of banner year

by Tom Coombe

For the second straight year, Cromwell proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for Ely’s high school girls basketball team.

Just as they did a year ago, the Timberwolves built a second-half lead against the second-seeded Cardinals in the Section 7A semifinals.

And just as they did a year ago, Cromwell saved its best for last, holding the Wolves without a point for several minutes in the second half, erasing a seven-point deficit and rallying for a 53-43 win at the Hibbing Memorial Arena.

Cromwell closed the game with a 26-9 run to earn a rematch with defending 7A champion and state powerhouse Mt. Iron-Buhl in Friday’s semifinals.

For the Wolves, the loss ended a banner year that included a program record 23 victories and a second straight berth in the final four of the section.

Ely, which had the number-three seed in the tournament and beat Bigfork to advance, came out firing early in the second half.

Cromwell led 21-20 at the break but Ely scored seven straight points, including three on a triple by senior Madeline Perry, to take a 27-21 lead.

Junior Grace LaTourell, who led the Wolves with 20 points, helped spark Ely’s run but the Wolves misfired on chances to expand the edge and their biggest lead was 34-27.

Cromwell, meanwhile, warmed up from the outside and then began to wear the Wolves down.

A 12-0 run made it 39-34 in favor of the Cardinals, but Ely junior Hannah Penke countered with a long-range bomb to make it a two-point game.

That’s as close as it would get as Cromwell took care of the basketball and clinched the win when Ely was forced to go with a full-court press late in the game.

Sascha Korpela led three Cardinals in double digits with 14 points while teammates Silena Anderson (13) and Isabella Anderson (11) followed.

LaTourell was Ely’s top scorer, while Penke finished with 10 points and Perry scored six.

Junior guard Sarah Visser added five points for the Wolves to go with 12 rebounds, six steals and a pair of assists.

The Cardinal defense made things difficult for the Wolves, who connected seven times on 25 three-point opportunities.

• It was a defensive struggle on Saturday but the Wolves got past Bigfork 46-29 in the quarterfinal round.

Ely had trouble connecting, shooting 17-for-56 on the afternoon including seven-for-27 from long range.

Penke led the Wolves with 17 points and six rebounds while LaTourell hit double figures with 10 points.

Visser snared a team-high 12 rebounds and had five steals while LaTourell dished out three assists.

Perry contributed nine points and senior Madeline Kallberg pulled down six rebounds.

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