Top players to watch in 2021 Minnesota (MSHSL) girls basketball state finals

The 2021 Minnesota high school girls basketball state finals take place Friday at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Here’s a look at the top players to watch across all four state title games.

Top players to watch in MSHSL girls basketball state finals

Class A: Belgrade Brooten Elrosa vs. Minneota, 1 p.m.

G Abby Berge, so., Belgrade Brooten Elrosa

A bench player for the first portion of the season, Berge has emerged as a two-way standout. The 5-foot-10 sophomore is averaging 17.2 points through six postseason games. 

F Allisa Knight, sr., Belgrade Brooten Elrosa

The 6-foot Knight, a 1A all-state pick and Minnesota State-Moorhead signee, recorded 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in the semifinals, helping Belgrade Brooten Elrosa clinch its first trip to a state final.

G Abby Hennen, sr., Minneota

Hennen, a 1A all-state selection, sank the go-ahead free-throw with 2.1 seconds remaining in Minneota’s 54-53 semifinal victory over Mt. Iron-Buhl. The 5-foot-9 senior is averaging 17.8 points per game and has more than 2,000 points for her career.

F Natalee Rolbiecki, jr., Minneota

A 1A all-state selection, the 5-foot-11 Rolbiecki scored her 1,000th career point in the semifinals and is averaging 15.4 points this season. Minneota won the 2019 state title and was in the semifinals when last year’s tournament was canceled. 

Class AA: Albany vs. Providence Academy, 3 p.m.

G Abbie Christen, sr., Albany

Christen nearly matched her season average of 10.9 points by scoring 10 in Albany’s 72-49 rout of Glencoe-Silver Lake in the 2A semifinals. The 5-foot-7 guard has been a steady performer for the Huskies all season. 

G Paige Meyer, sr., Albany

A South Dakota State signee, Meyer netted her 2,000th career point in January and is averaging 19.7 points as a senior. The 5-foot-6 all-state point guard piled up 27 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and three steals in the semifinals. 

F Grace Counts, so., Providence Academy 

The 6-foot sophomore is averaging 13.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.5 steals and two blocks per game. The Lions won their first state title in 2012 and are looking to add another. 

F Maria Counts, jr., Providence Academy

Older sister of Grace, the 5-foot-11 Maria Counts earned honorable mention all-state honors and is averaging 11.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.7 blocks. The Counts’ grandfather is Mel Counts, an All-American at Oregon State who played in the NBA for 12 seasons. 

G Maddyn Greenway, seventh grade, Providence Academy

Only a seventh-grader, Greenway is averaging a team-leading 21.1 points along with 4.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 3.5 steals. The 5-foot-6 point guard is the daughter of former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro linebacker Chad Greenway. 

Class AAA: Marshall vs. Becker, 6 p.m.

F Emily Meier, sr., Marshall

The 5-foot-9 Meier, a 3A all-state honorable mention pick, had a strong game in the interior as Marshall knocked off Academy of Holy Angels 75-58 in the semifinals. The Tigers are trying to win their first state title since going back-to-back in 2001-02. 

G Jordyn Hilgemann, sr., Marshall

One of the state’s most dangerous offensive players, Hilgemann netted her 2,000th career point in early February and became the school’s all-time leading scorer later in the month. The 5-foot-10 Northern State signee was a 3A all-state selection.

F Megan Gamble, sr., Becker

Gamble is averaging 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.8 blocks as a senior. The 5-foot-10 all-state forward will play college basketball for Concordia-St. Paul.

G Adeline Kent, jr., Becker

A University of Tampa commit, Kent is averaging 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.1 steals. The 5-foot-8 all-state junior has helped lead Becker back to the state championship game after the team shared last year’s 3A title with DeLaSalle.

G Julia Bengtson, sr., Becker

A 3A all-state selection, Bengtson surpassed the 2,000 career points mark this season. The 5-foot-10 Eastern Illinois signee is averaging 15.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.1 steals. 

Class AAAA: Chaska vs. Rosemount, 8 p.m.

G Kennedy Sanders, so., Chaska

Sanders is a talented 5-foot-8 sophomore point guard who is averaging 16.5 points per game. She netted 20 points in the semifinals for the Hawks, who are one win from their first state title. 

F Mallory Heyer, jr., Chaska

Heyer, a 4A all-state selection, is putting up a team-leading 21.8 points per game for Chaska. The 6-foot-1 Minnesota commit had 24 points and 13 rebounds as Chaska defeated Hopkins 67-62 in the semifinals, ending the Royals’ 78-game win streak that began early in Paige Bueckers’ junior season.  

G Kaylee Van Eps, sr., Chaska

Van Eps is third on the team in scoring behind Heyer and Sanders at 11.1 points per game. The 5-foot-11 shooting guard signed with Lehigh in November. 

P Tayah Leenderts, jr., Rosemount

Leenderts is averaging a team-leading 9.9 points for defensive-oriented Rosemount, which defeated Centennial 40-33 in the semifinals. The 6-foot junior had eight points and seven rebounds in the victory. 

G Nicole O’Neil, so., Rosemount

The 5-foot-10 senior filled the stat sheet with 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in the semifinals. The big performance helped lift Rosemount to the program’s first title game appearance since 1988. The Irish have never won a state championship. 

F Helen Staley, sr., Rosemount 

Rosemount’s all-time leading rebounder, Staley also surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career this season. The 6-foot Oakland signee put up seven points, nine rebounds and five assists in the semifinals.

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