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Girls drub JCC to advance to South Section 3AA title game

Lead Summary
John Rittenhouse

The Luverne girls’ basketball team earned the right to play in a postseason championship game for the first time in 40 years Thursday in Worthington.
That became a reality during the South Section 3AA semifinals, where the top-seeded Cardinals knocked off No. 4 Jackson County Central 66-45 to earn their first appearance in a postseason title tilt since 1980.
Luverne, 19-9 overall, met No. 2 Windom for the South Section 3A championship in Worthington Tuesday (March 3).
The Cardinals had to overcome a slow start to top the Huskies in the semifinals.
JCC scored 10 unanswered points in the first 2:54 of play to put the Cards in an early hole.
The final 33:06 of the game belonged to the Cardinals, who outscored the Huskies 66-35 to secure a convincing 21-point victory.
Luverne battled back to knot the score at 14 when Averill Sehr canned a three-point shot with 6:01 remaining in the opening stanza.
Another three by Sehr gave the Cards their first lead of the game (18-16) at the 2:34 mark of the half, and the advantage swelled to five points (25-20) when Elizabeth Wagner converted a field goal with six seconds remaining to cap the scoring in the first half.
Luverne proceeded to pad its lead during the game’s second half.
The Cardinals scored the first four points of the half as a part of a 24-11 run, ending with a field goal by Brooklynn Ver Steeg that gave LHS a 49-31 cushion with 6:31 left to play.
JCC took advantage of some three-point field goals and two technical fouls drawn by LHS coach T.J. Newgard to trim the difference to nine points (51-42) with 5:04 remaining.
The Cardinals answered the challenge with authority.
Luverne scored 15 consecutive points to open a 24-point lead (66-42) when Mallory Thorson buried a field goal at the 1:33 mark.
JCC scored the final three points of the contest to make it a 21-point difference at game’s end.
Ver Steeg (22 points, five rebounds and five steals), Sehr (18 points) and Thorson (17 points, seven rebounds and four steals) played key roles in the win.
Elizabeth and Christina Wagner chipped in eight and seven rebounds to the cause respectively.
Box score
C.Wagner 1 0 0-0 2, Beyer 0 0 0-0 0, Ver Steeg 7 1 5-11 22, Sehr 4 3 1-1 18, E.Wagner 3 0 0-0 6, Thorson 5 2 1-2 17, Hart 0 0 0-0 0, Ferrell 0 0 1-2 1.
Team statistics
Luverne: 26 of 55 field goals (47 percent), eight of 16 free throws (50 percent), 32 rebounds, 12 turnovers.
JCC: 12 of 42 field goals (29 percent), 19 of 26 free throws (73 percent), 36 rebounds, 24 turnovers.

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