MOORHEAD-The last home game in the brilliant high school girls basketball career of Sam Haiby came to a close on Tuesday night the way it was meant to be. She scored in every way possible and the Moorhead Spuds advanced to the Minnesota Class 4A, Section 8 semifinals.
The 78-65 quarterfinal win over Rogers at the Spuds gym was a tribute to Haiby, the only senior on the team. She scored 40 points, the fourth time she's reached the 40 mark this season. If there was any doubt that she was recovered from a knee injury earlier this season, she looked 100 percent healthy against the Royals.
"She's the real deal," said Rogers head coach Greg Amundson. "We did everything on defense. A triangle-and-2. A box-and-1. Man. Zone. Front her and back her. And she still gets 40."
Moorhead, the third seed, will play No. 2 seed Maple Grove Saturday at a time and location to be determined. Certainly, Haiby will be the focus.
"To play here four years, it was special to go out that way," said Haiby, who has committed to play at the University of Nebraska.
But there wasn't much finality for her. There are better ways to go out in a career, she said, like making a state tournament.
"She was tremendous," said Moorhead head coach Jed Carlson. "She scored in a variety of ways. She pushed the pace for us offensively. Her abilities were on display for sure."
She wasn't the only one. Sophomore guard Rylie Polomony added 19 points in a nice back court complement to Haiby.
The Spuds threatened early to run away and hide, hitting seven of their first eight shots in a stretch that saw them take an 18-5 lead. The Royals didn't go away, however, and kept the Spuds in sight trailing 42-35 at halftime.
"They shot tremendous, they don't go away," Carlson said. "But our kids handled everything they threw at us."
Haiby put it into overdrive in the first minutes of the second half. With the Spuds leading 43-39, she scored nine of her team's 11 points in a surge that made it 54-41 with 13:35 remaining. She did most of the damage, too, against a box-and-one defense that had four Rogers players playing a zone and one player assigned to Haiby.
"You think you've got her and she hits a 3," Amundson said.
It was a slow crawl to the finish with the lead for the Spuds, who had trouble scoring in the late going. So did the Royals. Rogers cut the margin to 69-63, but couldn't slice it further.
Carlson was able to take Haiby out of the game in the closing seconds.
"She means so much to this program," he said. "We're going to try and ride it as far as we can."
ROGERS: Swan 6, Orth 4, Hanauska 9, Rubbelke 24, Buzzelle 2, Yelich 11, Karels 9.
MOORHEAD: Haugo 2, Haiby 40, Blythe 9, Polomny 19, Carney 4, Hulst 4.
Halftime: Moorhead 42, Rogers 35.