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Girls' Basketball: New Life Academy falls in section play

Eighth grader Bethany Brocker goes up for a shot Thursday. Brocker scored 14 points against Trinity in the section playoffs. (Photo by John Molene)1 / 4
Sydney Gunderson of the Eagles drives around the defense of Trinity's Anna Frenz. (Photo by John Molene)2 / 4
New Life Academy's Hannah Nelson goes up for two of her 15 points in the first half against Trinity Thursday in the section playoffs. (Photo by John Molene)3 / 4
New Life's Carly Hager has the ball knocked away as she goes up to the basket in the second half of Thursday's game at Trinity. (Photo by John Molene)4 / 4

Host Trinity School at River Ridge used a decisive run midway through the second half to end New Life Academy's season 66-59 Thursday in the first round of the Class 2A, Section 4 tournament.

Trinity led just 40-39 with 8:31 to play but outscored the visitors 18-6 over the next five minutes to take a commanding 58-45 lead with 2:50 remaining. Turnovers and cold shooting doomed the Eagles' chances in the second half.

"It was tough for us to find points, and they did a good job of taking away some of the things we like to do and force us into second or third options and made it a little bit of a grind to score," New Life head coach Greg Wilson said. "We had a pretty long drought in the first half and then a pretty long drought in the second half where they kind of stretched it from a three- or a five-point lead out to 10, 11 and that kind of dug us a bigger hole than we could come back from."

New Life Academy ended the season with an 11-16 record.

Trinity (13-14) will play at top-seeded Minnehaha Academy Saturday in the section second round.

New Life leading scorer Hannah Nelson tallied 15 points in her final game for the Eagles. Ninth-grader Carly Hager had 13, eighth-grader Bethany Brocker scored 12 and junior Alexis Webb nine.

New Life led 26-24 at the half and trailed by just one with 10 minutes to play. But the lid went on the basket for the Eagles for the next six minutes. Meanwhile, Trinity started taking more advantage of New Life turnovers which led to easy baskets.

"That (turnovers) has really been our Achilles heel all year long," said Wilson. "If we've taken care of the ball we've played really well and beaten some good teams. When we've turned it over 20-plus times in a game, which I'm sure we did tonight, then we just have trouble scoring enough points to compete. And a lot of our turnovers are leading directly to layups on the other end."

The Eagles closed to within 50-44 with 5:29 to play before Trinity went on an 8-1 run to re-establish control.

The Eagles will graduate post players Hannah Nelson, Ally Hullet and Rebekah Lenhart, but return everyone else on the 12-person roster for next season.

"We started an eighth-grader tonight, we started a ninth grader tonight," said Wilson. "We're losing our two senior post players, but we've got everybody else coming back that played significant minutes. So there's a lot to look forward to, a lot to build on."

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