GBB Out & About: 8th Grade Championship: Elk River v STMA


#1 Seed Elk River 8 Black lived up to their pre-tournament seed and beat what will be a familiar rival in the section 8AAAA world, #7 seed St. Michael-Albertville 8 Gold 38-34. They also repeated as state champ from the 7th grade year where they beat Armstrong/Cooper 48-39. This was a back and forth game with both teams holding leads forcing comebacks in the second half by both teams. ER timed their rally well. The Elks trailed at the break 19-18 which soon grew to 26-20 two and a half minutes into the second half. A put back by Kayla Christy, who had a game high 12 points, put ER up 30-29, a lead they would not relinquish. This was a part of four straight scores by the Elks. The Knights offensively had trouble finding the bottom of the basket during this stretch. The Elks would continue to score. It was a dozen unanswered points while STMA suffered through 13 scoreless possessions. It looked like a comfortable 36-29 lead with 2:09 left for ER, but STMA reached back and found their shooting eye once again. They scored on three straight possessions to cut the margin to 36-34 with one minute left. Right after a free throw by Daysia Simmons, who tied for high STMA scoring honors with Ave Haus with eight each, ER quickly transitioned down the court and found Christy on the right block for an easy two insurance points. The attempted 3s by STMA on their last two possessions missed the mark. ER took over 30 seconds off the clock between those two possessions and missed a front end of a free throw.

ER reached the title game with wins over Prior Lake (59-42), Albany (58-53) and East Ridge (48-40). #7 seed STMA took down Roseville 33-30 and then caught fire. They upset #2 Osseo Maple Grove 48-31 in the quarters and then #3 Chanhassen Blue 41-27 in the semis to get to the spotlight game.

Elk River has had a history of winning 8th grade titles. In 2013 the Elks beat Shakopee 65-36. That group was the foundation for the 2017 AAAA state undefeated champs with Gabi Haack, Sidney Wendland, Ava Kramer and Danielle Lachmiller. ER 8th grade won again in 2016 over Eastview 47-43. That team featured the 2020 class with Lydia Haack, Abby Barschdorf, Mikayla Kanenwisher and Alexa Engebretson. That same calendar year, at the 7th grade level, ER beat Osseo-Maple Grove (most of the players now at Maple Grove) 30-27. That team, the current 2021 class, had Johanna Langbehn, Ellie Bahr and Sophie Tobin. Kendall Cox was also part of that team but moved over ironically to STMA.

POINTS 38 34
REBOUNDS/OFF 39/12 39/18
2FGA/% 41/41.46 26/26.92
3FGA/% 9/0.00 26/15.38
FTA/% 8/50.00 12/66.67
PP100 70.4 64.2
TOP SCORER Kayla Christy 12 Two with 8

TRENCH PLAYER: Elk River’s point guard Britta DeMar with 10 points, 90.9 pp100, game high 9 d stops, a game high 15 set up passes and a 24 in the 31 Club.

This was one of seven 8th grade title games put on by Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS). The biggest grade levels were 7th and 6th with nine separate tournaments.

Here are the last four state championships in 8th grade

2016 (2020): Elk River over Eastview 47-43

2017 (2021): Farmington over Osseo Maple Grove 37-30

2018 (2022): Wayzata over Osseo Maple Grove 47-44

2019 (2023): Wayzata over Edina 46-25


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