Jason Adkins / Forum Communications Co., Published March 06 2010
ND Class B state girls basketball: Central Cass advances to today's championship gameMINOT, N.D. – The Central Cass girls basketball team doesn’t want its time in the spotlight to end in its first trip to the state North Dakota Class B tournament in 36 years.
The Squirrels have a championship banner in sight as they beat Standing Rock 58-52 in the semifinals Friday evening at the Minot State University Dome.
Central Cass’ big three – junior Taylor Kraft, sophomore Courtney Dixon and freshman Hannah Breske – all scored in double digits en route to the win. Kraft led the way with 17 points, and Breske and Dixon had 14 points and 12 points, respectively.
The Squirrels’ guards also factored into the equation as seniors Madison Gegelman and Kamie Roesler scored eight points each.
“We knew for 60 minutes we’d have to make good decisions, and we did,” Central Cass head coach Barb Kraft said.
While Standing Rock (20-5) had its moments, it couldn’t get closer than four points in the second half.
“We stayed really calm,” Taylor Kraft said. “We feed off of our defense. If they hit a 3 or take it to the hoop, we know we have to respond or answer.”
With 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game, Central Cass (25-2) went up 51-42 when Dixon was fouled on the way to a layup and hit the ensuing foul shot.
Kraft and Gegelman delivered the final blows. Kraft converted a three-point play and Gegelman hit a jumper that pushed the Squirrels’ lead to 12 points with less than 1:30 left.
“Their size really made a big difference for us,” Standing Rock head coach Margaret Gates said.
Central Cass moves on to play Beach in the finals at approximately 7:45 p.m. today. Standing Rock plays in the third-place game at 6 p.m.
Standing Rock’s inside game was sporadic, with few open looks when it had to rely on a half-court style of play. It didn’t help that junior forward Ryan White Bull went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter and didn’t return.
“We try to make every shot the other team makes difficult,” Barb Kraft said. “They are going to score on us, but let’s make them work for it.”
Not even junior star scorer Shauna Long’s 28-point night could help the Warriors.
“We knew one person wouldn’t be able to beat us,” Barb Kraft said.
Central Cass came out of halftime on a roll, scoring six consecutive points in quick fashion. The Warriors, however, started balancing their offense instead of relying solely on Long. Junior Sadie Agard scored six points in the third quarter. She ended the game with 12 points.
What looked to be a game the Squirrels were firmly in control of early tightened up near halftime. They led by 13 points in the second quarter before Standing Rock closed the gap.
The Warriors went on a 11-3 run to cut the Squirrels’ lead to three points before Central Cass took a 26-21 lead into the break.
Until Standing Rock’s rally, it made only two field goals until the 5:47 mark of the second quarter.
“It’s so exciting,” Taylor Kraft said of making it to the title game. “Our community is so excited. We couldn’t even imagine this at the beginning of the season.”
CC 13 26 42 58
SR 6 21 35 52
CC: Kraft 17, Breske 14, Dixon 12, Gegelman 6, Roesler 6, Voss 3.
SR: Long 28, Agard 12, American Horse 5, White Bull 5, Bachmeier 2.
Kenmare 53, Kidder County 51
Katie King had 18 points and nine rebounds as Kenmare beat Kidder County on Friday in the consolation round.
The Honkers (21-6) were outshot and outrebounded, but led at every quarter stop after a 7-7 tie to end the first quarter. They will play for fifth place on Saturday.
King was 7-for-12 from the field. She was the only Kenmare player in double figures.
Eli Benz had 20 points to lead Kidder County (23-3), which was plagued by 19 turnovers. Julia Scherbenske had 11 rebounds to go with eight points.
The Pirates were coming off a one-point loss to Standing Rock in the opening round. The 2009 champion will play for seventh place.
KC 7 17 33 51
K 7 20 37 53
KC: Ziesch 6, Benz 20, Kahl 3, Dockter 6, Scherbenske 8, Martin 8.
K: Harris 7, Miller 2, Munson 7, Zietz 7, Lemere 4, King 18, Froseth 8.
Stanley 63, Thompson 50
Rachel Mehus had 21 points and 5 assists to lead Stanley to a win over Thompson in Friday’s consolation.
Mehus was 7-for-14 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line. The Blue Jays (21-5) shot 46 percent from the field and owned a decisive 47-29 rebounding edge.
Bailey Hornberger had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Karlie Hoherz had 9 rebounds. Jasmin Pappa added 10 points.
Stanley will play Kenmare in Saturday’s fifth-place game.
Whitney Sponsler again led the Tommies (18-9) in scoring with 16 points. Taylor Broyles chipped in 10 points.
Thompson shot just 34 percent from the field and 45 percent from the line.
S 15 27 45 63
T 13 23 35 50
S: Ra. Mehus 21, Re. Mehus 7, Dauwalder 2, Hoherz 3, Hornberger 18, Meyer 2, Pappa 10.
T: Hegg 2, Ivesdal 4, Weber 7, Brorby 2, DeMoe 2, Broyles 10, Galegher 7, Sponsler 16.