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Jason Adkins / Forum Communications Co., Published March 05 2010

ND Class B state girls basketball: Central Cass gets past Kenmare

MINOT, N.D. – Central Cass’ big three came up huge in its North Dakota Class B state girls basketball tournament quarterfinal game against Kenmare on Thursday afternoon at the Minot State University Dome.

Junior forward Taylor Kraft scored a game-high 17 points, and sophomore Courtney Dixon and freshman Hannah Breske had 16 points each in the Squirrels’ 58-43 win. Breske added 14 rebounds.

The Honkers, the Region 6 champions, led early in the fourth quarter before Central Cass, the Region 1 champion, pulled away.

Kenmare’s leading scorer, junior Katie King, scored nine of her 14 points late in the third quarter and early in the fourth as part of a 10-4 run that cut the Squirrels’, kept within reach lead to seven points for a short time. Sophomore Macie Harris shared a team-high 14 points for Kenmare.

Dixon and Kraft, however, helped keep the Honkers at bay with three buckets midway through the fourth. Their shots gave the Squirrels (24-2) a 15-point lead with four minutes left.

Kraft – the Squirrels’ leading scorer averaging 16.6 points per game – started slow, scoring only four points in the first half before heating up in the third quarter. She scored six consecutive points for the Squirrels in a 10-2 run to start the second half that pushed their lead to 15 points.

“The girls look to her to do that,” Central Cass head coach Barb Kraft said of Taylor Kraft. “She’s improved at either taking that shot or finding someone who’s open.”

Central Cass plays Region 5 champion Standing Rock in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. today.

The Squirrels led 30-21 at halftime, using their size advantage inside to get easy looks. Their size also helped on the boards as they outrebounded Kenmare 32-21, including 12 offensive rebounds.

The Honkers’ (20-6) main issue throughout the game was their inability to string consecutive scoring possessions together as the Squirrels’ defenders clamped down inside.

“Because our defense was not very good today, it really did affect us offensively, too,” Kenmare head coach Jason Schwarz said. “And that’s kind of how it’s been all year. When things go extremely well for us, it carries over to the other end of the floor.”

CC 14 30 40 58

K 7 21 30 43

CC: Kraft 17, Breske 16, Dixon 16, Gegelman 4, Roesler 4.

K: Harris 14, King 14, Munson 6, Zietz 3, Lemere 2, Miller 2, Wheeling 2.

Standing Rock 60, Kidder County 59

Standing Rock became the Cinderella story at the state Class B girls basketball tournament after dethroning defending champions Kidder County 60-59 in the quarterfinals Thursday at the Minot State University Dome.

The Warriors held off a furious last-second attempt by Kidder County to win the game as Pirates guard Shalee Martin missed a 3-pointer and a rebound shot by senior Bailie Ziesch at the buzzer failed to go in.

KC 9 22 38 59

SR 17 26 38 60

KC: Benz 22, Martin 19, Kahl 11, Ziesch 5, Dockter 2.

SR: Long 28, White Bull 15, Agard 9, Archambault 4, American Horse 2, Bachmeier 2.

Jason Adkins is a reporter for The Dickinson (N.D.) Press, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.