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WHS spoils Luverne's appearance in title tilt

Last-second shot by Letcher lifts Eagles to 54-52 victory over Cardinals
Lead Summary
John Rittenhouse

Luverne’s first appearance in a postseason championship game in 40 years ended with a heart-breaking loss March 3 in Worthington.
Luverne, the No.1 seed in the South Section 3A Girls’ Basketball Tournament, combined efforts with No. 2 Windom to put on a spectacular show in the championship game.
The game featured the Cardinals erasing a seven-point halftime deficit to take a one-point lead in the final two minutes of play.
Windom, however, rose to the challenge.
Eagle junior Allison Lechter hit a buzzer-beating shot to cap a game-high 19-point performance and give the Eagles a 54-52 victory.
The loss ends Luverne’s 19-10 season, which matches a program record of 19 wins in a single season established by the 1996-97 team.
The Cardinals gave themselves a chance to win their 20th game of the season with a gutsy performance in the second half.
Trailing 30-23 at the intermission, Luverne scored the first six points of the second stanza to trail by one (30-29) when Emma Beyer drained one free throw at the 13:59 mark.
Windom countered with an 8-3 surge to sport a 38-32 advantage with 9:06 left to play, but the Cardinals didn’t waver.
LHS trimmed the difference to three points at two different occasions and trailed by one (43-42) when Brooklynn Ver Steeg buried a pair of free throws with 5:39 remaining.
Luverne senior Mallory Thorson knotted the score at 45 by sinking a pair of charity shots with 4:49 left on the clock before giving the Cards their lone lead of the night by making a savvy play at the 1:59 mark.
Trailing by one point, LHS was facing an in-bounding situation under the basket on Windom’s defensive side of the court.
Thorson was in charge of inbounding the ball, and she stunned the crowd by bouncing the ball off the back of a Windom player facing the other direction, picking up the ball with her feet in bounds and converting a layup to give the Cards a 48-47 edge.
Windom scored the next four points to move in front 51-48 and led by two with 14.8 seconds remaining before Luverne’s Elise Ferrell tied the game at 52 with a field goal that came with seven seconds left.
After a Windom timeout with five seconds left, the Eagles ran a play that resulted in Letcher fielding an inbound pass near midcourt.
Letcher advanced the ball into the lane and released the game-winning shot jut before time expired.
Windom played its best basketball of the contest in the game’s first half.
Both teams had four-point surges in the game’s first 3:03 before the Eagles went on an 11-4 run to open a 15-8 lead at the 10:18 mark.
Luverne closed the gap to three points (18-15) when Ferrell drained one charity shot at 7:12, but Windom countered with a 10-2 run to open a 28-17 lead with 2:14 remaining.
LHS trimmed the difference to seven points (30-23) when Ver Steeg registered the final field goal of the first half with nine seconds left.
Ver Steeg turned in a 16-point, nine-rebound, three-steal effort for the Cards, while Elizabeth Wagner added 10 points and five rebounds.
Thorson pulled down five rebounds and recorded three steals.
Box score
C.Wagner 1 0 1-2 3, Beyer 0 0 1-2 1, Ver Steeg 4 1 5-6 16, Sehr 3 0 0-1 6, E.Wagner 3 1 1-2 10, Thorson 2 0 3-5 7, Hart 0 0 0-0 0, Ferrell 3 0 3-4 9.
Team statistics
Luverne: 18 of 46 field goals (39 percent), 14 of 21 free throws (67 percent), 31 rebounds, seven turnovers.
Windom: 18 of 46 field goals (39 percent), 12 of 25 free throws (48 percent), 34 rebounds, 16 turnovers.

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