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Park Center Pirates win first state title in three overtimes

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Raise the Jolly Roger in Brooklyn Park! Ann Simonet's free throw with :21 left in the third overtime led the Park Center Pirates to a 73-71 win over the Marshall Tigers in the Class AAA championship game Saturday night at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

It was the first state championship for the Brooklyn Park school in their first state tournament appearance.

It looked like the Tigers, with 10 players from last November's state volleyball championship team would dominate the game, going on a 6-0 run. Cayla McMorris, who will play for Wisconsin next season put the Pirates on the board 1:45 into the game. Kenzie Beekman and Ann Simonet would trade baskets. Park Center would go on a 5-0 run until Marah Mulso would find the hoop. The lead would go back and forth until Morgan Saugstad and Mulso would put Marshall on a run that would give them a 29-24 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Tigers go up by seven on a basket by Beekman. Hayes would score for the Pirates. McMorris would become a dominant force in the second half as she would block a shot and put Park Center on a 4-0r un that would cut the lead to three. Beekman and Mulso scored baskets to put Marshall on a 6-0 run. The Pirates would then go on a 5-0 run, which included a three point play from Mikayla Hayes. The lead would go to four for the Tigers and things would later get a bit bumpy for Park Center when McKenna DuBois and McMorris fouled out. But Park Center managed to send the game into overtime as Danielle Schaub hit a jumper with :02 remaining.

Callie Graff took :06 to score the Tigers first overtime basket. Simonet would tie the game at 62 and Bennett would give Marshall the lead. Hayes would hit a shot to tie the game at 64. On to the second overtime.

Beekman would score first for the Tigers and the Pirates went 0-4 in the early part over the second overtime. But Danielle Schaub would steal the ball and score to head into the third overtime.

Beekman and Feyisayo Ayobamidale would trade baskets to start the third overtime. Hayes would get an inside pass and score to put the Pirates ahead. Morgan Saugstad would rebound and score to even game at 71 and Simonet and Schaub would hit free throws to clinch their first state title.

Simonet would lead Park Center with 26 points and five steals. McMorris would add 21 and Hayes would score 18.Hayes, the daughter of former Gopher and Pirate assistant coach Dana Joubert Hayes also had 11 rebounds. Beekman was Marshall's leading scorer with 20 points. Hannah Bennett added 18. Graff had 12 rebounds.

In the third place game at Ganglehoff Center on the Concordia University campus in St. Paul, Bailey Strand scored 45 points to lead the Fergus Falls Otters to a 72-62 win over the Minneapolis Washburn Millers. Bailey, according to her father Fergus Falls head coach Brad Strand will play at North Dakota next season.

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