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Girls basketball playoffs: Injuries sink Agates again

Two Harbors senior Tori Bott tries to drive past Mesabi East's Ava Hill during the Agates' 66-34 loss first round of the Section 7AA tournament Thursday, Feb. 28, in Aurora. (Photo by Sue Bott)

For the third time in time in four years, Two Harbors bowed out of the Section 7AA tournament, this time with a 66-34 loss to Mesabi East in Aurora.

Senior Tori Bott led Two Harbors with 16 points, but not other Agate player reached double digits and the team managed just 14 second half points.

Two Harbors' season was, for the fourth time in as many years, derailed by injuries. Each year an important player for the team has missed significant time due to injury. Three years ago, Ayla Lemke, who now plays at Concordia-St. Paul, was suffered a major knee injury just before the regular season began. The next season, after starting with 11 straight wins Lemke suffered less severe knee injury and point guard Brianna McGrath, now playing at Wisconsin-Superior, was lost for the season with her own knee injury. The Agates won a school-record 20 games in the 2016-17 season, but lost in the Section 7AA quarterfinals to International Falls.

Last season, Bott sprained her ankle and missed significant time. In 2019, junior Emily Olson's season ended with an ACL tear in a blowout win over Silver Bay.

Next season, the Agates will be with loaded experience as the team returns nine juniors from this year's squad, but none of those players has carried the scoring load like Bott has the past two seasons. In addition, sophomore Morgan Beardsley emerged as a solid option a point guard this season with a real knack for finding the open player.

Bott, who was named to the All-Polar League first team, will continue her playing career next year at Bemidji State.

Two Harbors 20-14—34

Mesabi East 35-31—66

Two Harbors — Kate Thomasen 2, Laura Erickson 6, Morgan Beardsley 2, Elise Poe-Johnson 3, Tori Bott 16, Jillian Hooper, Tricia Osbakken 4. Totals 11 10-16 47.

3-point goals — Erickson, Bott.

Mesabi East — Not available

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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