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Eric Peterson, Published March 08 2012

Bismarck rolls into Class A state girls semifinal

FARGO – Bismarck ruled most of the second half Thursday at the Bison Sports Arena, especially on defense.

The Demons held Grand Forks Central without a field goal in the final 11 minutes. That effort helped Bismarck pull away for a 62-34 victory in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class A state girls basketball tournament.

“We struggled to find any rhythm offensively in the second half and you have to give Bismarck credit for that,” said Central head coach Brent Hintz. “They had something to do with it. … They kept playing hard and kept making things tough for us.”

The Demons (16-7) play No. 1-ranked West Fargo tonight in the state semifinals at the Fargodome.

“We were working hard the first half,” said Demons head coach Dallas Hinderer. “I don’t think it changed the second half as far as our effort. We just started to clean things up. We just got those jitters out of our system.”

The Knights trimmed the Bismarck lead to 32-27 after junior Taylor Hammer scored and inside basket with 13 minutes, 30 seconds remaining. The Demons countered with an 18-4 run that pushed their lead into double digits for good. Sophomore guard McKenzie Kiefer capped that game-changing surge. Her 3-pointer gave Bismarck a 50-31 lead with 6:15 remaining.

“We just got going … from there that kind of crushed them with some of the big plays we had as a team,” said Demons junior Naomi Rust, who scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Bismarck scored 30 of the game’s final 37 points. The Knights’ last field goal came with 11:15 remaining when sophomore Katelyn Olson scored an inside basket. Central sank five foul shots over the final 11 minutes for its only points during that cold stretch from the floor.

Central shot 14 percent (3 of 21) from the field in the second half. The Knights finished with 27 turnovers, including 17 after halftime.

“We kind of got a little frustrated and we started pressing a little bit, the trying too hard thing,” Hintz said. “We just couldn’t calm down or settle down in the second half.”

CENTRAL (9-14): Hammer 3 5-5 12, Olson 4 2-3 10, Bacon 2 0-0 5, Fennell 1 2-2 4, Johnson 0 2-2 2, Hart 0 1-2 1, Medrano 0 0-0 0, Burgard 0 0-0 0, Becks 0 0-0 0, Reller 0 0-0 0, Ray 0 0-0 0, Shirek 0 0-0 0, Lindsay 0 0-0 0. Totals 10-46 12-14 34.

BISMARCK (16-7): Rust 7 1-3 15, Engelhardt 4 0-0 8, Meier 3 1-2 8, Kiefer 3 1-1 7, Haugen 3 0-0 6, Feeney 2 0-0 5, Trolliey 2 1-1 5, Hilzendeger 1 1-2 4, Schmidt 1 0-0 2, Mann 1 0-0 2, Bergrud 0 0-0 0, Leingang 0 0-0 0, Brown Otter 0 0-0 0, Henry 0 0-0 0, Hellebust 0 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 5-9 62.

Half: BHS 31, GFC 23. 3-point goals: Hammer, Bacon, Meier, Feeney, Hilzendeger. Total fouls: GFC 14, BHS 13. Rebounds: GFC 22 (Fennell 6), BHS 29 (Rust 8). Assists: GFC 7 (Hammer 4), BHS 11 (Hilzendeger 3). Turnovers: GFC 27, BHS 15.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com