7th-grade girls 2nd in state

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 30, 2004

MONTICELLO &045; The Albert Lea Elks seventh-grade traveling girls’ basketball team brought home the second-place trophy from the 2004 seventh-grade state tournament at Monticello.

In pool play, which consisted of 12 teams divided into four groups with two games, saw Albert Lea fall to the Park Center Pirates 33-10 in the opening round.

“You have to give the girls a lot of credit,” said head coach Dave Klatt. “They could have shut it down and ended the weekend real fast, however they searched their hearts and found away to play like true Tigers the rest of the tournament.”

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The locals bounced back to beat Eden Prairie 28-23 behind 10 points from Nichelle Klatt.

Advancing to the single-elimination championship bracket, Albert Lea met top-seeded Waconia and pulled off a 25-16 upset. Great defense by Annalise VanErkel, Chelsey LeBrun and Jessica Malepsy, along with 10 points from Heather Greibrok and seven by Kelsey Stolt, advanced the Tigers into the semifinals against Buffalo.

The fired-up Albert Lea squad took a quick 2-0 lead and never looked back, cruising to a 46-35 triumph. Greibrok scored 17 points and LeBrun netted a season-high 14 points while Nichelle Klatt had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

&uot;We’re going to the ship,&uot; was the theme chant as the Tigers prepared for a rematch with Park Center.

The title game was a defensive battle, with the Tigers trailing 17-6 at halftime and 19-10 after three quarters.

Albert Lea refused to fold, tying the game in the final seconds, but a late free throw put Park Center up by a point with 8 seconds remaining. A shot at the buzzer fell just short for the Tigers.

Greibrok led all scorers with 14 points, including three three-point basket in the fourth quarter. Malepsy came off the bench in the fourth quarter to add a basket and two free throws to tie it. Stolt had six points, VanErkel three. Nichelle Klatt grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots to spark another great defensive effort that included LeBrun and Katie Schou.