Park Center Starting Lineup:
5- Danielle Schaub 5’4″ Freshman Guard
11- Ann Simonet 5’5″ Freshman Guard
22- Mikayla Hayes 6’1″ Freshman Center
23- Cayla McMorris 5’10″ Senior Forward
24- McKenna DuBois 5’5″ Junior Guard
Simley Starting Lineup:
1- Abby Kain 6’1″ Sophomore Forward
10- Maria Paulsen 5’9″ Senior Guard
15- Maya DeLao 5’7″ Senior Guard
21- Katie Atkins 5’10″ Junior Guard
33- Kylie Brown 6’3″ Senior Forward
A quick start for Simley, as they jumped to an early 8-2 lead forcing a quick time from Park Center just 2:49 into the ball game behind a pair of threes from Kain and Paulsen. Park Center would respond, as they went on their own 10-2 run to take a 12-10 lead behind a pair of Hayes scores, including a nice catch and score in transition and a pair of scores from All-Stater Cayla McMorris. Simley would answer, and quickly, regaining the lead on a Kain score, which started the Spartans on their own run, this one a 13-2 run with 5 different players scoring and recapturing the lead for Simley at 23-14 after Brown completed an and 1. Hayes for Park Center and Simley’s Brown would exchange hoops leading up to a time-out by Simley with 5:18 to go and 25-16 lead. Park Center responded as McMorris scored, Schaub hit a three and Simonet’s steal and score brought them to within 27-23 before Simley’s Kain and Brown combined for 3 free throws. A late 3 from DuBois kept Park Center within 30-26 at the half.
DuBois started the second half the same way she ended the first, knocking down two more threes (one via the bank) and a drive to give Park Center the lead back at 36-33. Cayla McMorris would score Park Center’s next 8 points, but the lead would actually shrink to 44-42 as DeLao and Paulsen had jumpers and Brown had 2 more buckets. The Mc run continued for Park Center, but it was a pair of hoops from Camille McCoy and a driving layup from McMorris that forced a time-out for Simley, as Park Center had gained a 50-44 edge with 6:41 in regulation. The lead blew up to 10 as Mikayla Hayes made a quick one-dribble baseline move and McMorris got a steal and transition hoop to go up 54-44 and increasing the run to 8-0. A Brown free throw with 4:30 to play would end the run and pull Simley within 9 again. With 3:35 to play Simley would use their 4th time-out following free throws down 56-49. Up 9 and with possession, Park Center went to work on the clock. With 1:45 to play, McMorris snuck back door and got a lay-up to put Park Center in control 60-49. Simonet’s free throws would extend it to 62-49, before Simley’s Maria Paulsen hit a three and cutting it back to 12 with 1:19 left. McMorris would hit two free throws and Park Center would begin to put the finishing touches on a 68-53 win and advancing to the Class AAA Semis.
Park Center Leading Scorers: McMorris 24, Hayes 16, DuBois 13
Simley Leading Scorers: Brown 14, Kain 12, M.Paulsen 12
Key Stats: Park Center had only 9 turnovers, compared to 18 for Simley. Park Center won the battle on the boards 38-33.
Cayla McMorris, Park Center 5 State Hoops Player of the Game
Mikayla Hayes, Park Center
Abby Kain, Simley
Cayla McMorris, Park Center: Didn’t have her shot going at times, but was still able to find ways to score throughout and was strong on the glass. Her perimeter defense gave fits to Simley’s guards and led to easy scoring chances for the Pirates.
Mikayla Hayes, Park Center: Emerging as one of the best young posts in the State. Has great feet and is only going to continue to grow. Uses length to corral rebounds and is good at getting inside position. Strong shot-blocking instincts.
McKenna DuBois, Park Center: Her 8-0 run in the second half gave Park Center the lead as they started to establish their tempo. Makes big plays on the offensive end. Had many stretches where she guarded Brown, and despite huge size disadvantage did a great job on her.
Abby Kain, Simley: One of the top sophomores in Minnesota. Had a nice all-around game for the Spartans including 12 points, 13 rebounds (team-high) and 6 assists (also team-high). Will be counted on for even bigger production moving forward.
Maria Paulsen, Simley: Gave Simley much-needed outside scoring, hitting on 4 of her 8 three point field goals. Did a solid job defensively as well chasing the quick Park Center guards.