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Providence Academy girls basketball defeats Albany in final seconds in MSHSL Class 2A championship

Maddyn Greenway scored with nine seconds remaining to lead the Lions to their third straight state title

MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 1-seed Providence Academy Lions defeated the No. 2-seed Albany Huskies 81-78 in the MSHSL Class 2A girls basketball state championship on Saturday at Williams Arena. 

The Huskies led by one point with 20 seconds remaining in the game, and Albany senior guard Savanna Pelzer had to shoot a 1-and-1 free throw.

Pelzer missed a free throw, and the Lions' Maddyn Greenway sprinted up the floor for the layup to give the Lions the one-point lead with nine seconds remaining.

"I saw that they were kind of on their heels, and I saw that it was [Callie Holthaus], and she won’t block me like Alyssa Sand, so I was like, ‘I just need to take it.’"

Albany did not score on it's final possession, and the Lions took home their third straight state title and fourth in school history.

The Lions trailed by as much as 13 in the first half, and they did not have the lead until Greenway's shot in the final seconds. 

"It’s a story book kind of finish," Providence Academy coach Connor Goetz said. "We’re all excited. This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve seen them in the state tournament. I realistically believe that if it wasn’t for us, they’d be a four-time state champion. … They pushed us to the absolute brink, so for us to come back, that’s really special."

Albany's offense clicked in the first half. The Huskies shot 51 percent from the field and 8-of-13 from 3-point range. 

"I think we shared the ball well," Albany head coach Aaron Boyum said. "I think our court spacing was as good as it's been. Our movement without the ball, I thought, was really good as well."

Providence Academy got a break when Sand was called for her fourth foul with 14 minutes remaining in the game. She stepped forward for the charge, and it was called a charge, but an official on the baseline overruled the call because a toe was on the line. 

"I think it was a charge," Sand said. "I looked at the replay, and I was pretty much set. … I just wanted to step in and see if I could get a charge and I thought I was outside the arc.”

Sand, a 6-foot-3 center who is both the offensive and defensive leader on the team, had to sit for three minutes in the second half.

"She’s a special talent," Goetz said. "… Being able to get her off the defensive end, it opens up the middle a bit more. And offensively, it’s one less dynamic scorer to worry about. It changed the tide of the game."

Greenway finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and 10 turnovers. Sand finished with 29 points and 17 rebounds.

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- Jack Butler | | @Butler917