Trailing 33-27 at the half against the defending Class A girls' basketball champion Hancock Owls, the Underwood Rockets came through with a dominant second half effort in posting a 64-52 victory on Friday night at the Otter Fieldhouse in Fergus Falls.
Underwood started the game on a 9-2 run to establish an early lead, however, Hancock came back strong to take their first lead at 12-11. They increased their lead to 30-22 and had the six point advantage at the half.
The Rockets took a 38-37 lead with just under fourteen minutes remaining and never trailed after that as they built their lead to 16 points at one time in the second half.
"We had an unbelievable second half and the energy inside the gym was incredible," commented Underwood Head Coach Brian Hovland. "It was such a great atmosphere. We made a defensive switch and put Liz Lukken on Kaitlyn Rohloff in the second half and she shut her down. We also shot the ball extremely well."
Lukken led three Underwood players in double figures with a game high 24 points. Mo Bugbee added 21 to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Kallyn Grove contributed 17 points and 3 assists, and Zoey Swanson finished with 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Leaders for Hancock were Misti Zempel (23 points, 6 rebounds) and Rohloff (20 points, 4-3's, 5 rebounds, 3 assists).
Underwood won the Section 6A championship with the victory and will now compete in the Class A State Girls' Basketball Tournament which begins on Thursday at Maturi Pavilion and Williams Arena at the U of M.
The Rockets will face Section 5A champion Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (25-4) at 1:00pm Thursday at Maturi Pavilion. BBE is on an eight game winning streak entering the state tournament and cruised through the section tournament with wins over Bertha-Hewitt (80-30), Pine River-Backus (70-44), Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (65-26) and Barnum (76-50).
Here is the quarterfinal round schedule for Thursday with all games at Maturi Pavilion.
11:00am Minneota vs #1 Mountain Iron-Buhl
1:00pm #5 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrose vs #4 Underwood
3:00pm Badger/Greenbush-Middle River vs #2 Hayfield
5:00pm United Christian Academy vs #3 BOLD
The Rockets celebrate a Section 6A title. PHOTO by TOM HINTGEN
Kallyn Grove at the free throw line. PHOTO by TOM HINTGEN
The Underwood bench. PHOTO by TOM HINTGEN