When searching for an adjective to describe the 2013 class AA championship game between New Richland-H-E-G and Braham there are many. The easiest way to describe the 60-59 Panthers win over the Bombers is easy.
It will simply be remembered as "The game".
You could make the argument that Rebekah Dahlman is the greatest girls player in MN high school history. She became the first player to reach 5,000 career points and did so with an intensity and grit rarely seen. On so many nights Dahlman played psychological warfare with her opponents with her physical play. She single handedly took Providence Academy off their game in the semi-finals leading to the three Lions top players fouling out of the game. She might have gotten in her own head in her fifth championship game.
With 7:26 left in the first half, Dahlman picked up her third personal foul which sent her to the bench for the duration. At the time, the Bombers offense was struggling, trailing the Panthers 17-7. That was the bad news for the squad, the good news was they were able to keep pace trailing by 12 at half. Dahlman failed to hit a field goal in the first half and two lone field goals kept her from being shut out. She also turned the ball over six times in just 10 minutes of play.
On the flip side, there was Carlie Wagner. One night earlier, the scoring machine tied her tournament record with 48 points against Washburn. In her duel with Dahlman, Wagner won the first half as she scored 19 points.
The second half saw Dahlman and Wagner combine for 61 points as the two waged in a epic battle for the ages. After Wagner gave her team a 14 point lead, the Bombers quickly went on a 15-2 run to cut the defecit to a single point at 31-30. The teams exchanged leads over the course of the next 11 minutes. Braham led by as many as two, NH-R-E-G led by as many as seven with 2:15 to go. A left handed Dahlman layup with 1:04 left made it a two point game but when the Panthers tried to salt away the clock, Dahlman was forced to foul Hannah Lundberg with :37 seconds left in the game. The foul was Dahlman's fifth and forced the all-time leading scorer to the bench after scoring 32 points in the game. Lundberg missed both freethrows but Wagner snared the offensive rebound and dribbled out to what she assumed was safe territory. Braham's Kayla Nickles had other thoughts. In a dead sprint, Nickles stole the ball as Wagner had her back to the defense. Nickles drove the floor and finished the transition layup to tie the game at 59 with 26 seconds left.
That left the heroics to Wagner who prior to Dahlman fouling out, broke her own record for points scored in a state tournament game when she made the second of two free-throws to give her 49 points on the afternon. With the ball in her hands and the clock under 10 seconds, Wagner drove right was tripped up and fouled with six seconds left. She stepped to the free-throw line with the state championship separated by 10 feet and a black line. She calmly burried the first, but missed the second giving her team a one point lead as the Bombers spent their final time out.
With their leading scorer on the sidelines, the Bombers inbounded the ball to Nickles who began her trek up court. Just prior to the half court line, she had the ball stolen by Wagner sending her team to their first ever state championship.
Wagner set five records during her second March trip to Minneapolis.
Most field goals attempted in a tournament - 110
Most field goals made in a tournament - 48
Most points in a tournament - 128
Most field goals attempted in a game - 43
Most points in a game - 50
All Tournament Team