Lady Tigers make historic run

By Ella-Kate Tomlin

Special to The Luverne Journal

In a hard-fought battle held Feb. 26 at Birmingham’s BJCC Legacy arena, the Luverne Lady Tiger basketball team faced a tough defeat against the Ider Hornets in the AHSAA Class 2A girls’ basketball state semi-final game. Despite the stinging 69-32 loss, the team’s tenacity and skill have etched a historic chapter for the girls’ basketball program, making it to the Final 4 for the first time since the school’s establishment.

Head coach Richard Dorsey, reflected on the game and season over a week after the loss, expressing his immense pride in his team’s accomplishments. 

“I’m still extremely happy and proud of what the team accomplished,” Dorsey said. “The entire basketball staff was together throughout the journey and it was just a great feeling of family as things fell into place. We are all disappointed in the loss but it will never erase what they accomplished and I hope the team realizes that as they reminisce on the previous season.”

Throughout the game, the Tigers struggled to find their offensive rhythm and five minutes into the game, the Hornets were ahead ten to zero. By the end of the first half, Ider had built a 39-10 lead while shooting 47% from the three-point line as a team. Six of Luverne’s first half points came from free throws, as Ider held the Lady Tigers to shooting 16.7% at the line.

Ider went on to outscore Luverne 30-22 in the second half. Ider took advantage of Luverne’s turnovers, scoring 24 points off of them.

Senior, Zyan Peterson reflected on the season, stressing the crucial contributors to the team’s success.

“Throughout the season I think our hard work was the biggest part of our success.” Peterson said, “In each game we never quit, no matter what. We always kept pushing and believing in ourselves, each other and our coaches. I’m proud of this team because we made history and accomplished many of our goals.”

Under the guidance of Dorsey, Luverne witnessed impressive displays from Center NiKayla Melton who led the Lady Tigers contributing 12 points and securing 10 rebounds, along withKalaiya Dixon, who added six points.

While only one week after the end of the season, the Lady Tigers are already working hard on getting ready for next season and the boys will get busy preparing a little later on. In the meantime, Dorsey plans to catch up on his rest and recharge before setting his sights on making another run for state next year. 

“I cannot say enough about how the entire school and especially the community rallied around these girls to make sure their experiences were the best as possible,” Dorsey said. “I am sincerely grateful and would like to send out a heartfelt thank you from the entire team, staff and community.”

The Ider Hornets, who last played in a state championship game in 1985, advanced to the state championship game where they defeated defending state champions Mars Hill Bible March 1 with a final score of 64-48.