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Tom Mix, Published March 06 2012

Squirrels land in title game

LISBON, N.D. – Central Cass didn’t exactly have the same start as it did on Monday.

In fact, the Squirrels trailed almost the entire first quarter against Northern Cass after being only a day removed from going on a 23-point run to start its quarterfinal win against Hankinson.

Central Cass didn’t panic and went on to top the Jaguars 66-43 in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 girls basketball tournament on Tuesday at Lisbon High School.

The Squirrels advance to the championship game against Kindred at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Northern Cass opened with a 7-2 run, but Central Cass stormed back and took a 15-13 lead in the closing seconds of the first quarter after junior Hannah Breske converted a 3-pointer.

“We had some good looks in the first quarter, they just weren’t falling,” Central Cass head coach Ryan Mears said. “We told the girls just keep shooting those, they’re going to fall. That was the key for us to keep shooting.”

Breske kept shooting all the way to a career milestone in the second quarter. She surpassed 1,000 points with the first of three free throws after getting fouled beyond the arc with 4:55 left to play in the first half.

Breske led all scorers with 17 points and added eight rebounds. Courtney Dixon and Bethany Voss each finished with 12 points for the Squirrels (22-2).

Central Cass led 28-22 at halftime. After the break, the Squirrels outscored the Jaguars 22-10 in the third quarter.

“The first half the girls stood strong and played well,” Northern Cass head coach Jody Zieske said. “In the second half we just ran out of steam. Central Cass started playing tough on defense, which started to make the girls second guessing their shots.”

Paige Verwest led the Jaguars with 13 points and was 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.

Northern Cass plays Maple Valley at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Region 1 third-place game.

The Central Cass victory sets up a rematch of the District 2 championship game with Kinded. The Squirrels defeated the then undefeated Vikings 59-47, and Mears said a lot of the things his team did well in that game will have to carry over.

“That’s the thing that really helped us the last game was handling Kindred’s pressure,” Mears said. “We did a better job of it then the first time we played them. We look to attack their press and get some baskets off that.”

Northern Cass 13 22 32 43

Central Cass 15 28 50 66

NORTHERN CASS: Johnson 2 0-0 4, Zieske 2 4-5 8, Mitzel 2 3-4 7, Olson 4 0-0 8, Verwest 5 1-2 13, McDonald 1 0-0 4. Totals 16-60 8-12 43.

CENTRAL CASS: Weber 5 1-2 11, Voss 5 2-2 12, Tronson 1 2-2 4, Titus 1 3-4 6, Morris 2 0-1 4, Breske 6 3-3 17, Dixon 5 2-2 12. Totals 25-55 13-16 66.

Halftime: CC 28, NC 22. 3-pointers: Verwest 2, McDonald, Titus, Breske 2. Totals fouls: NC 13, CC 13.

Rebounds: NC 34 (Verwest 10), CC 32 (Breske 8). Assists: NC 5 (Zieske 3), CC 14 (Voss 6). Turnovers: NC 13, CC 16.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 451-5651

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