Albert Lea ends season at Winona

Published 9:01 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

A strong defensive effort made the third meeting between Albert Lea and Winona the closest of the season.

The Tigers held the Winhawks to the lowest scoring total in their last seven games, but Albert Lea lost 47-35 at Winona Wednesday in the Section 1AAA quarterfinals.

“The girls did a great job defending in the post against No. 44 (Danneka Voegeli), and we were really aggressive in the second half,” said Albert Lea coach Lindsey Hugstad-Vaa.

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Winona came into the game with an 0-4 record when it scored 47 points or fewer.

Megan Kortan led Albert Lea with a double-double: 13 points and 12 rebounds. Rachel Rehnelt added 10 points, Fran Eckstrom scored six points, Quinn Petersen had eight rebounds and Katie Rasmussen posted a team-high five steals.

“We were just starting to click at the end of the season,” Hugstad-Vaa said. “We knew it was going to be a process.”

According to Hugstad-Vaa, the No. 7-seed Tigers led the No. 2-seed Wingers in the second half, but Winona took a six-point lead late in the game. In the waning moments, Albert Lea switched to a man-to-man defense to force turnovers, but Winona pushed its lead to double digits.

The Winhawks won the previous two meetings against Albert Lea: 65-52 on Jan. 13 at Albert Lea and 56-39 on Feb. 20 at Winona.

Winona will host No. 3-seed Waseca (22-5, 9-2 Big South) in the semifinals at 2:45 p.m. Saturday at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. Waseca beat No. 6-seed Faribault (3-24, 1-21 Big Nine) 53-34 on Wednesday.

The Tigers (3-24, 2-20 Big Nine) defeated Faribault, Stewartville and Mankato East this season.

Kortan and Larissa Johnson were Albert Lea’s only seniors.