State girls basketball: Providence Academy repeats as Class 2A champions

Down by one point starting in the second half, Maddyn Greenway and her Providence Academy teammates quickly made sure the final result would never be in doubt.

And it showed just how good she and the Lions have been all season.

Greenway finished with 31 points to lead Providence Academy to its second straight Class 2A girls basketball title, beating Albany 74-60 on Saturday in Williams Arena.

Grace Counts, a Minnesota-Duluth commit, added 17 points and 16 rebounds in her final high school game. Eighth-grader Emma Millerbernd finished with 12 points and sophomore Hope Counts had 10 rebounds.

Transitioning out equals success for Providence Academy. Albany’s coaches and players knew it, too.

“We’re not used to being down at halftime. So we’re like, you know, ‘Let’s get it,'” Greenway said. “… We want to take away their defense or mix up their offense and then get layups.”

That’s what they did.

Greenway showed a little bit of everything with six points, a couple of assists and forced a turnover during a 15-2 run to quickly give the top-seeded Lions some breathing room.

She missed after a change of business in the paint; Grace Counts scored on a putback after a steal and run by Greenway; Grace Counts scored off a feed from Greenway; Grace Counts made a block on defense and Greenway scored on a layup; Greenway fed Millerbernd for a 40-33 lead.

“She sees things that aren’t there,” Lions coach Conner Goetz said. “I kind of relate to (Iowa’s) Caitlin Clark. She is very good at getting the ball up the floor in transition. Maddyn has the same thing, so if a teammate sneaks around the floor, Maddyn will find her.”

Alyssa Sand made two free throws for Albany before Greenway got a long defensive rebound, drove and scored; Grace Counts made another block; Greenway forced a turnover near the corner and fed Hope Counts for a 3-point play before Greenway added another steal and layup. Suddenly it was 47-35 and the Providence Academy team picture was set for the championship trophy.

“Providence is so explosive in their transition game; it really goes up and down. Unfortunately, we had some periods where you really saw their transition game come alive,” Albany coach Aaron Boyum said.

The Huskies finished with 21 turnovers that led to 26 Lions points. Albany scored just two points on nine turnovers at Providence Academy.

Alyssa Sand dominated the interior for the Huskies (30-2), finishing with 29 points, 21 rebounds and likely some new bruises from often battling multiple Lions in the paint.

“He’s 6-3 and long and he gets every rebound, but for us he kept fighting it was a lot of fun. They rose to the challenge,” Goetz said.

On her way to becoming one of the most decorated high school basketball players in state history, Greenway has 18 games of at least 30 points this season, including a 60-point outing. Her season averages were 31.8 points, 7.3 assists and 7 rebounds.

She also had five of her team-high 15 steals Saturday, a shade above her season average.

Earlier this season, she became the first freshman in state history to eclipse 2,000 career points. Her first college offer came from the Gophers in October 2021, and the list of colleges that want Greenway continues to grow. Just this Christmas he received offers from UCLA, Florida, Tennessee and Maryland.

How dominant has Providence Academy been this season? The Lions were 1-2 from the field before going on to win 29 straight. All but seven wins have been by at least 20 points, with the two closest coming against top-seeded Becker (10 points) and Hopkins (7 points) in the Class 3A and 4A state tournaments.

MIB beats BOLD for the 1A crown

​North Carolina Commit Jordan Zubich scored ​15 points and grabbed eight rebounds and top-ranked Mountain Iron-Buhl (30-3) beat BOLD 52-21 for the Class A championship. Gabby Lira had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, and Hali Savela added 10 points and nine rebounds.

In the school’s first championship appearance, third-seeded BOLD (26-6) shot just 17.4 percent from the field. Lainey Braulick scored eight points and Mari Ryberg had 10 rebounds.

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