Created: March 11, 2020 10:52 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Four years after falling short in the section title game, the Fillmore Central girls basketball team made program history last week and punched their ticket to state for the first time ever.
"Freshman that I worked with my first year are now here as seniors," Falcons Head Coach Levi Olstad said. "So, it's very special that we've been on this journey together and I'm very proud of these three seniors who have kind of stuck it out this whole way and have that reward now to experience this."
But getting to this point wasn't easy. After a close call in the semifinals against Grand Meadow, the Falcons held on, won and advanced to face top-seeded,and state-ranked, Blooming Prairie in the Section 1A title game last week.
"I preached to the kids all year, and make sure they're aware of, they have what it takes," Olstad said.
As the Falcons geared up for their championship game, a realization settled in.
"I went over to my teammate and I was like, the first time we ever played on this court, we got second," senior Emma Breitsprecher. "Now, it's our last time playing on this court and we want it."
The Falcons came out of the gate ready to prove they were meant to be in this game.
"I think we had confidence at the beginning when we went out there at first because we're the underdogs, we were hungry for it," senior Kandace Sikkink said.
FC took their double digit lead at halftime and ran with it in the second half.
"The fast paced game that we had been playing all season long, we knew Blooming Prairie couldn't really handle it," sophomore Lauren Mensink said.
When the Falcons mixed their speed and tough defense together, they were able to pull off a huge upset. FC defeated Blooming Prairie 69-56 to claim the section title.
What followed was a mix of emotions that still have not truly settled with some of the team.
"I can't even find the words to say it, senior Kassidy Broadwater said. "It was a great feeling."
Mensink added that the team is still getting recognition almost a week after their win which has been really nice for them.
Even though this team is the first to break through to state, it is also a testament to the years of hard work that came before them.
"It doesn't mean the teams before were any less talented," Olstad explaind. "The girls are talented and have always worked hard. It's just everything culminates to this moment and this opportunity that the girls took advantage of."
Now, the Falcons are state-bound and looking to make an impact.
"We want to keep going, we don't want to just settle for making FC history, we want to keep and make something even better," Broadwater said.
Hungry for the next phase of their game, "these girls are ready to just take this big step for our program and our community and show everything they've got," Olstad added.
The Falcons run for a state title begins Thursday when they face No. 3 Henning at Maturi Pavillion. Tip-off set for 5:00 p.m.
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