Once upon a time there were three little towns in northwestern Minnesota, Winger, Erskine and Mcintosh. who bonded together in 1986 to form Win-E-Mac High School. In 2014, hoards of fans from these three communities filled the lower bowl of Williams Arena to see Madison McKeever score 27 points and lead the Patriots to a 61-53 win over the Minneota Vikings in the Class A championship game Saturday afternoon.
It was the first state title for Win-E-Mac in their third trip to state.
The Vikings took the early lead on a basket from Taylor Reiss. Alayna Espeseth tied the game for the Patriots. Shelby Corbin would hit a three pointer and Emily Stienessen would score four straight points to spark a 9-0 Minneota run. But Win-E-Mac came back, thanks to a three from the sophomore McKeever. McKeever would also end a 4-0 Viking run. Shelby Kaster's score would cut the lead to two and Korbyn Ross would hit a three to put the Patriots ahead. They would go on a 11-0 run that ended on a free throw from Corbin. Win-E-Mac would lead at halftime 35-26.
Ross would begin the second half scoring for the Patriots. McKeever would hit a lay up to increase the lead to 11. The Vikings offense would finally get going in the second half with a pair of key baskets from Reiss and a tight inside defense propelled them on a 12-0 run. Stienessen would cut the lead to three as Ashley Glass, who didn't tally in the first half, scored seven points to help keep Minneota from bringing home a second consecutive Class A title.
Ross was the only other Patriot in double figures, scoring 17 points. Reiss led the Vikings with 18 points and Stienessen added 17.
In the third place game at Ganglehoff Center on the Concordia University in St. Paul, Goodhue beat Mankato Loyola 74-62.
Win-E-Mac head coach Ian Hanson mentioned hat McKeever has meant to the team's success. "She runs the show, gets the girls on offense and has a tenacious style of play."
He also summed up McKeever's future as pretty bright. "She works harder than anyone in the off season."