Rallying from an 18-point first half deficit the Redwood Valley girls basketball team defeated rival Jackson County Central 65-55 Thursday night (Feb, 28) in Section 3AA-South semifinal action held in Windom.
With the victory the Cardinals (17-8) advance to face top-seed Pipestone Area (16-8) – a 65-33 winner over Martin County West – at 6 p.m. Tuesday night in Marshall for the right to move on to the Section 3AA title game.
It was an epic comeback for Head Coach Taya Kockelman’s young squad, as they appeared to be in real trouble late in the first half.
After jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead, the Cardinals watched as the Huskies went on a 20-3 run to go up 20-8. The cinderella Huskies would increase that lead to as many as 18 and had the Cardinals on the ropes before a late flurry would give the Cards hope heading into the break.
That rally was due to senior Amy Martius who single-handedly kept the Cardinals in the game, knocking down four first-half three pointers and finishing with 14 first-half points to keep the Cards within range down just 33-22 at the break.
In the second half, the Cardinals came out and immediately established control as the momentum swung to the side of Redwood Valley. A three-pointer by Sydney Sommers and a free throw from Bri Panitzke trimmed the deficit to 41-37.
Following a JCC three, the Cards answered with seven straight to tie the game at 44 apiece. Haley Garman and Leah Irlbeck both scored, and Caitlyn Johnson added a three-pointer. JCC would reclaim the lead with 1-of-2 from the line, but a Sommers three-point play put the Cards up 47-45.
Four more from Sommers would up the lead to 50-46. Another bucket from Sommers and a three-point play by Martius capped a 34-13 run to open the second half, as the Cards led 56-46 with 4:57 to play. They would not look back on the way to the victory.
Martius had a career night, finishing with a team-high 23 points. Sommers came up big in the second half, scoring 17 of her 20 points to lead the Cardinal rally. Irlbeck finished with eight points, Garman added five points and Panitzke, Johnson and AJ Guggisberg all had three points.