Asked what he talked to the Holy Family Catholic girls basketball team following a Class AA State Quarterfinal loss March 13, Head Coach Adrian Turner said he reminded them they were champions.
Two days later, the Fire were just that, winning on back-to-back days, a 47-33 decision over Proctor clinching a consolation championship for Holy Family Catholic.
The Fire, a 2-1 record in the program's second state appearance, finishes with a 25-6 mark; the most wins in a season in school history.
It was an emotional end to the year for Holy Family Catholic; five seniors that came from different communities, but came together as classmates for 13 years, first at St. Hubert's in Chanhassen, the last four years at the Victoria high school.
Walking off the court in the final minute, the victory sealed, one-by-one, each walked to the end of the bench where all-state honorable mention and all-tournament team selection Leigh Steiner sat. Her hurt left knee elevated and stabilized.
Steiner, a Division I lacrosse commit with Marquette University, named a Miss Basketball finalist as well, was hurt in the first half of the final game. A steal and driving lay-up attempt, Steiner collided with a Proctor player, falling to the court.
They hugged. They cried. They laughed. They came together for a remarkable season.
Holy Family Catholic, starting five non-seniors, grabbed the lead at 14-12, never trailing the rest of the way.
A 6-1 run late in the first half, four straight from Nicole Bowlin, a running floater from Grace Elander before the buzzer, gave the Fire a 23-15 lead at the break.
A 12-5 run out of halftime pushed the Holy Family Catholic advantage to 15. A 3-pointer from Abbey Fink followed by a Grace Conroy putback capped the stretch.
The Fire trailed by double digits the rest of the way, holding Proctor to 12 total field goals with 25 turnovers.
Ten different Holy Family Catholic players scored and had at least one steal led by Bowlin with nine points and Steiner with eight points in 13 minutes.
"Fire finish the season with another team win!" Turner said on Twitter. "The love for each other was truly on display. When facing adversity with a player going down, the girls got stronger and took over the game! Can’t find a tighter group in the state! #oneteam #onedream #onegoal #onewin #GoFire"