Knights host holiday basketball tournament
By Rob LaPlante
An undefeated St. Michael-Albertville girls’ basketball team had its first big test of the season taking on No. 4-ranked Minnetonka of Class 4A.
The Skippers had two of the top scorers in the state in senior Joanna Hedstrom and junior Anne Hamilton. Hedstrom is averaging 18.2 points per game and is a University of Minnesota recruit.
The Knights fought off a couple double-digit deficits to keep the game close in the opening half. A key 3-point basket as time was expiring from junior Erin Autio cut the Skipper lead to 30-25 at halftime.
“Minnetonka is a good measuring stick and the first half we were right there,” said STMA head coach Kent Hamre.
The Skippers opened up a 42-26 lead out of the gate to open the second half. The Knights had no answer early to the hot shooting from Hedstrom, who was good on 4-of-5 three pointers in the contest.
“Not many kids can do the step back three and hit it like she can,” Hamre said. “They went on that 12-1 scoring run to start the second half and we never really recovered.”
The future Gopher finished with 25 points and eight rebounds in a 55-38 victory. Autio finished with nine points and freshman Sydney Tracy and sophomore Bobbi Brendefur each had eight in the Knights’ (7-1 overall) first loss of the season.
“It’s really good to see Tracy, as a ninth grader, step in and be a leader,” Hamre said. “She’s scoring and playing aggressive. She’s growing up fast.”
The Knights will host the STMA Tournament beginning this Thursday with a 5 p.m. tip-off between No. 8 (4A) Edina (7-1) and Maple Grove (5-3). The Knights and Mahtomedi (2-5) will follow at 7 p.m. Thursday’s losers will play Friday at 5 p.m. and the championship game will be at 7 p.m. the same night.