Viborg-Hurley completes repeat title run in Class B, defeating Wall
Third-seeded Cougars defeated fifth-seeded Wall for the Class B state title on Saturday night at the Huron Arena.
HURON -- There was more pressure on the Viborg-Hurley girls basketball team this time around.
Ranked No. 1 all season, no sneaking up on anyone as the 8-seed in the state tournament.
It didn’t matter, as the third-seeded Cougars defeated fifth-seeded Wall 71-61 for the Class B state title on Saturday night at the Huron Arena.
Senior Coral Mason scored 28 points and scooped up 16 rebounds, while fellow senior Denae Mach had 16 points to power Viborg-Hurley.
They are the first repeat champions in Class B since Sully Buttes won in back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017. The win was also the Cougars’ 28th in a row against Class B competition, including 18-0 this season.
“Last year felt like a Cinderella story, almost unexpected,” Viborg-Hurley’s Coral Mason said. “This year, it felt like we were here, we’re here for a reason. We’re No. 1 and we can finish it out as No. 1.”
After a fiery 17-all first quarter, Viborg-Hurley scored the final seven points of the first half with Estelle Lee’s go-ahead layup, a 3-pointer from Shelby Lyons and a Mason two-pointer to lead 34-27 at halftime. Viborg-Hurley barely broke stride in the early minutes of the second half, outshooting Wall 10-2 to start the half and bring the lead to 15 points.
Wall whittled the lead down to as few as four late in the quarter but never got closer in the rest of the half, as the Cougars sank 10 free throws in the final eight minutes to seal a second-straight state championship.
The Cougars’ Charley Nelson had 14 points and Lee finished with eight points, plus five points from Lyons, with all 71 points coming from V-H’s five starters.
It was not a perfect night on the stat sheet for the Cougars, who finished shooting 33.3%, including 27.3% in the second half and were 5-for-22 on 3-pointers. But V-H finished with a 43-31 rebounding edge, including 17 offensive boards and converted 22 of 28 free throws in the win.
“We really had to pull out our defense,” coach Molly Mason said. “Wall played a complete game and really made us work for the championship.”
For Wall (20-6), Paige Kjerstad had 21 points, Nora Dinger scored 13 and Alexis Stephan had 11 points for the Eagles, who locked up their best finish in school history at the tournament.
“My girls battled and battled,” Wall coach John Hess said. “(Viborg-Hurley’s) a heck of a ball club. The returning champions with all of the firepower. They made a lot of free throws and I think we were tired. We just weren’t moving our feet like we were on defense earlier in the weekend and I think some of that just caught up to us.”