The Rogers Royals had four double-digit shooters, led by Shelby Beach with 15, and torrid outside shooting to beat the Princeton Tigers 60-51 in the Section 5AAA semifinals Saturday evening at Buffalo.
“Our girls played with great focus, intensity, and energy tonight,” said coach Jeremy Digiovanni. “We followed up a good week of practice with an even better performance on game night on a big stage.”
No. 2 seeded Rogers will play in the Section 5AAA title game for the second straight year, facing No.4 Monticello, which upset top-seeded Big Lake 53-48. Big Lake is the only team in the section with a winning record, finishing 19-9.
Both finalists have a 14-14 record and they split in the regular season.The finals are set for Friday, 7 p.m., at Buffalo.
Along with Beach’s 15 points, Emily Reichert had 11, Morgan Edstrom 11 and Jordyn Motter 10 for the Royals. Rogers also had Maria Loughlin with 9 and Courtney McClay with 5.
The Royals bolted to a 16-6 lead boosted by 3-point shots from Reichert, Loughlin and Edstrom, and stayed in front the rest of the way, including 27-20 at halftime shooting 5-for-6 on three’s while Princeton was 3-for-10.
The Royals led 44-29 with 7:50 left and started to work the clock with a patient offense.
Princeton stormed back within 52-46 with 2:14 left. But the Tigers got no closer and had to start sending Rogers to the free throw line. Free shots and a breakaway layup by Motter sealed the win.
“We were able to get a big run with good shooting in the first half,” said Digiovanni, “and we withstood their runs in the second half while not panicking when their shooters got going.”
Brooke Karst sank 13 points, Arianna Lind 11, Mariah Clarin 10, and Kadie Savage and Becca Hass 8 each for Princeton.
The Royals and Tigers had split their two conference games.
The Royals managed to avert two old nemesis in the sectional — Big Lake, which has two overtime wins over the Royals,and Anndandale, which beat the Royals on a last-second shot in last year’s finals and again in overtime this year. Annandale lost to Princeton 60-49 in the first round.
Rogers–Reichert 11, Beach 15, Loughlin 9, Motter 10, Edstrom 11, McClay 5
Princeton–Savage 8, Lind 11, Hass 8, Karst 13, Clarin