The Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms, the No. 1 seed in the Section 1A girls’ basketball tournament were looking for their first trip to the state tournament since 1999 Thursday night as they took on the No. 2 seeded Fillmore Central Falcons at the Mayo Civic Arena in Rochester. The Blossoms had used big first half runs in their last two tournament games to open up big leads, but it was the Falcons bolting out to a 10-2 lead instead Thursday night and they never trailed on their way to a 69-56 win.
Five early turnovers by Blooming Prairie led to the early 10-2 lead for the Falcons, who went on to force 11 first half turnovers with their pressure defense and 21 total for the game. Kandace Sikkink, the leading scorer for Fillmore Central tallied 16 of her 25 points in the first half, forward Emma Brietsprecher scored 11 of her 16 points in the opening half and guard Hope Sexton sank two three pointers off the bench to help the Falcons push their lead to as large as 15 at one point in the half on their way to a 36-24 lead at the halftime break.
Blooming Prairie came out determined to start the second half as a 15 foot jumper from Julia Worke, a layup for Megan Oswald off of a pass from Worke and off of a Fillmore Central turnover, another layup for Oswald plus a free throw as she was fouled gave BP a 7-0 run to start the half as they cut the Falcon lead to five at 36-31. But, as would be the case all night, the Falcons had an answer as a jumper for Sikknik, a 22-footer by Laruen Mensink for three and a jumper in the lane from guard Kassidy Broadwater fueled a quick 7-0 run by Fillmore Central to boost their lead back to 12 at 43-31. The Blossoms were not going to go quietly, however, as they battled throughout the half to whittle down the Fillmore Central lead. They were able to cut the lead to single digits and a three-pointer from Worke with 4:45 left cut the Falcon lead to three at 56-53. Again, though, Fillmore Central had an answer as right after the 3-pointer, Broadwater was fouled and drained both free throws to boost the Falcon lead back to five at 58-53. A 6-2 run gave Fillmore Central a 62-55 lead with 2:22 left, and the Falcons ramped up their defensive pressure even higher as they gave the Blossoms no good looks at the hoop and closed out the game on a 7-1 run, the final dagger being another 3-pointer from Sexton, her fourth of the night to help Fillmore Central close out the win.
Megan Oswald led the Blossoms in scoring with 23 points, while Julia Worke added 12 points, all in the second half in her final varsity game. Bobbi Bruns chipped in with nine points, while her sister Maggie scored five points before leaving the game with an injury about midway through the second half. Allison Krohnberg scored four points for Blooming Prairie and Maya Lembke tallied three points for Blooming Prairie, as the Blossoms end their season with a record of 21-6.
Fillmore Central goes into their first-ever State Class A Girls’ Basketball Tournament with a record of 22-8, and they will be in action Thursday in the state quarterfinals at Maturi Pavillion on the University of Minnesota campus against an opponent yet to be deermined.