Girls basketball: BOLD Warriors reach their goal: Staying connected

Mar. 14—MINNEAPOLIS — When it came to setting season goals for the BOLD girls basketball team, the Warriors decided that talking about conference or section championships wouldn't be the primary ambition.

"The only goal these girls had was to stay connected," BOLD head coach Brian Kingery said. "They wanted to have a strong chemistry and to be there for each other.

"Obviously, we want to win. But if your goal is to stay connected, you can achieve that goal. I've been very satisfied with how it has worked out."

It's worked out well enough to get the Warriors back to the state tournament for the first time since 2019. Third-seeded BOLD plays United Christian Academy of Bloomington at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Class A quarterfinals at the Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus.

It's the third state appearance for the Warriors (24-5), who also qualified in 2013 under Kingery, who has a 221-176 career record in 14 seasons.

They'll face a United Christian Academy squad that makes its second straight state appearance. The Thunder's 14-11 record may be deceiving. They played the season at one point with three starters out and went 14 games without at least one starter. They were healthy in the Section 4A playoffs and beat New Life Academy 60-21, West Lutheran 46-38 and Heritage Christian Academy 66-62 in overtime in the final.

Elizabeth Conley is a player to watch for the UCA. The junior is the Thunder's leading scorer and her father, Dan Corley, is one of UCA's assistant coaches.

Another top scorer is junior Olivia Haukoos. Juniors Kailey Smith and Megan Welch also average in double figures.

"All four of them are pretty solid players," Kingery said. "They're all capable of hitting 3-point shots."

Kingery said the Thunder remind him of Sleepy Eye St. Mary's, which also had good balance. UCA's fifth starter is sophomore Petra Bragg. Senior Elena Williams and ninth-grader Sofia Serafin are top contributors off the bench.

The Thunder are coached by Peder Eide, who is in his 10th season and has a 159-75 career record.

They'll contend with BOLD's starting five of guards Lainey Braulick (5-8, So.), Ryle Boen (5-6, Jr.) and Mari Ryberg (5-11, Sr.) and forwards Anna Moorse (5-10, Sr.) and Mackenzie Visser (5-11, Jr.).

BOLD goes into the state with a 10-player roster, which Kingery said he's fine with. The program has 14 players out in grades 9-12 and has used 17 players all season in varsity and B-squad games.

"I want you to earn a spot on the varsity," he said.

Quarterfinals Thursday

(at Maturi Pavilion)

* Minneota (21-8) vs. No. 1 Mountain Iron-Buhl (27-3), 11 a.m.

* No. 5 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (25-4) vs. No. 4 Underwood (26-3), 1 p.m.

* Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (26-3) vs. No. 2 Hayfield (28-3), 3 p.m.

* United Christian Academy (14-11) vs. No. 3 BOLD (24-5), 5 p.m.

Consolation semifinals Friday

(at Concordia-St. Paul)

* Minneota/MI-B loser vs. BBE/Underwood loser, 10 a.m.

* Badger/G-MR/Hayfield loser vs. UCA/BOLD loser, noon

Championship semifinals Friday

(at Williams Arena)

* Minneota/MI-B winner vs. BBE/Underwood winner, noon

* Badger/G-MR/Hayfield winner vs. UNC/BOLD winner, 2 p.m.

Consolation final Saturday

8 a.m. at Concordia-St. Paul

Third-place game Saturday

10 a.m. at Concordia-St. Paul

Championship Saturday

Noon at Williams Arena