Before the 2012-13 girls prep basketball season began, few experts, if any, picked the Minneota Vikings to win the class A championship.
Once in a while, upsets do occur, including Minneota's unforeseeable charge to earn their first state tournament title in school history with a 61-51 victory over Ada-Borup Saturday afternoon at Target Center.
Minneota's (30-2) swallowed Ada-Borup (28-4) in the paint and on the glass. The Vikings doubled up on rebounds over the Cougars, 40-20, also earning a 38-18 edge in points in the paint and a 20-4 advantage in second chance points.
Hoisting the trophy was less simple than the game's box score indicated. Ada-Borup led 29-23 with 1:50 remaining in the first half, a result of forcing turnovers and using a balanced attack rarely seen in the shallow depths of the state's smaller classes. At the end of the first half, Ada-Borup tallied 13 points off 11 Minneota turnovers.
The Cougars could not transfer that success to contain the bigger Vikings, who used their size to overwhelm the interior. Ironically though, it was a three-pointer from sophomore guard Payton Boerboom with 9:26 left in the second half that permanently fixated the lead to the Vikings.
The championship match remained tight until the final 1:35 of regulation, when Minneota concluded the contest with an 11-4 run. The surge began when Emily Steinessen missed the front end of a one-and-one situation with Minnesota leading 50-47. Taylor Reiss, a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard, rescued the possession with a put-back jumper to give the Vikings a two-possession lead, never to flirt with danger again.
Reiss led all players with 30 points and 12 rebounds, hitting 12 of 19 field goals. Boerboom added 13 points and nine boards for Minneota.
Ada-Borup was led by Megan Kolness with 12 points and six rebounds.
Minneota had qualified to its third straight state tournament bracket, but had never advanced to the championship round before Saturday's win.