ROCHESTER — Of Red Wing's six losses this season, only three have come against Section 1AAA opponents. And two of those were to Northfield. On Thursday, the second-seeded Wingers will get their third opportunity to beat the top-seeded Raiders after a 53-35 victory over third-seeded Faribault in the Section 1AAA semifinals on Saturday.
The Falcons provided some early drama to the semifinal with a 3-pointer from Rachel Hanson pulled Faribault to within four at the 10-minute, 15-second mark of the first half. But Kyli Nelson hit a 3-pointer to answer, and Reps added another 3-pointer after a couple of Falcon free throws.
That distance remained through the rest of the first half and Red Wing went into the break up 25-18.
"I thought it was a great defensive effort," said Red Wing head coach Jesse Nelson. "It's always a grinding game against Faribault. But it makes it a lot easier when you shoot well."
Then, Nelson and Reps hit from behind the arc to open the second half, sparking a 13-5 run. Faribault made it a 10-point game with five quick points, but back-to-back 3s from Tayzha Buck quieted a vocal Faribault crowd. From there, the Wingers hit 6 of 7 free throws while holding the Falcons to s single field goal over the final 5:31.
Buck, who did not score in the first half, hit three second-half 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 11 points. Reps added 10 points, Nelson nine and Dani Deming eight. Grace Amacher had a game-high 12 points for Faribault.
Now the Wingers' (22-6) attention turns to fourth-ranked Northfield (24-3). The Raiders beat Red Wing, 63-46, in their last meeting back on Jan. 18. That came after a 46-45 Raider win in the fourth game of the season. The Wingers know what they have to do.
"We have to get middle touches and kick it out to our shooters," Reps said. "And we have to bring it harder than ever."