Pictured during the title game in the Minnesota National Bank-sponsored Holiday Classic basketball tournament, above, Morgan Berg.
At right, Kristen Haiby during the championship game, against undefeated Pine Ci

The Pelican Rapids girls basketball team captured the Valhalla title at the Minnesota National Bank Classic on Thursday handing Pine City their first loss in ten games, posting a 55-54 win over the Dragons.  “I was proud of the girls on how they responded after a slow start,” said coach Brian Korf.

The Vikings fell behind 14-0 to start the game.  Down fourteen points, Kristin Haiby scored the Vikings first points of the game at the twelve minute mark. The Vikings battled back and closed the Dragon lead to four points at halftime 30-26. The Vikings lost Grace Johnson to an injury in the first half.  “Johnson has been playing well for us so this was a concern not having her for rest of the game,” said Coach Korf.

Both teams battled in the second half.  The Vikings had a one point lead with 34 seconds left and Maddie Guler drained two free throws to give the Vikings a three point lead.  Pine City made two free throws with 20 seconds on the clock. “Guler made some big free throws and we are confident in her making them as she shoots a lot of free throws on her own time,” commented Coach Korf.

After the Dragons made two free throws to cut the Viking lead to one point, Adriana Torres was fouled and missed her first free throw with 16 seconds left in the game. The Dragons shot at the last second of the game came up short and the Vikings held on to a one point victory.

Pelican Rapids scored 29 second half points and held Pine City to 24.  The Vikings shot 48% from the field and Pine City hit 34% of their field goal attempts.  “Our shot selection is improving and we need to improve limiting our turnovers to give ourselves a chance to win games in the future,” said Coach Korf.