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Eric Peterson, Published March 09 2013

Wahpeton girls end state tournament drought

FARGO – The Wahpeton Huskies earned the victory of a lifetime Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena.

Senior Allie Albrecht scored a team-high 16 points, including two key foul shots, to help lift the Huskies to a 54-49 victory against Fargo North in a state-qualifying game at the East Region girls basketball tournament.

The Huskies (10-12) advanced to the North Dakota Class A state tournament for the first time since 1986.

“It’s crazy to have made it,” said Albrecht, who was born in 1994. “It’s the first time Wahpeton has made it to state in our lifetime and even farther back.”

North (15-7) rallied to tie the game in the final 90 seconds before the Huskies countered with the final five points.

“Credit Wahpeton, they played a great game,” North coach Derek Ouren said. “There were a lot of shots that I swear I’ve seen go in all year long that just didn’t go in. That’s part of tournament time.”

North junior Emma Bergeron sank a short pull-up jumper that tied the score at 49-49 with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining in the second half.

Wahpeton junior Lachelle Bumgarner countered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key that gave her team a 52-49 lead with 1:01 remaining. That proved to be the game-winning basket. Bumgarner finished 1-for-7 from 3-point range, but Wahpeton head coach Brian Watson remained confident in his 5-foot-7 guard, who finished with 11 points.

“I kept telling her that you are going to make a shot that is going to mean a lot to this team,” said Watson, who is in his third season. “When she let it go, I was like ‘It’s going in.’ “

Albrecht added two free throws with 12 seconds remaining for the final margin. The 5-7 guard shot 67 percent (6 of 9) from the floor and was 4-for-4 from the foul line. Senior forward Whitney Klosterman added 11 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the Huskies.

“It means a lot to the team and to the program,” Watson said. “These girls have done a great job.”

North trailed by nine points early in the second half, but rallied for one-point leads on three occasions in the final 12 minutes. Senior forward Kira Larson paced the Spartans with a game-high 18 points and 19 rebounds. She also added four blocked shots.

“They kept fighting and they kept coming back,” Ouren said of his team. “That’s probably what I’m most proud about.”

NORTH (15-7): Larson 8 2-3 18, Johnson 3 2-4 8, Bergeron 3 0-0 6, Dehne 3 0-0 6, Schmiess 2 0-0 6, Muellenberg 2 0-0 5, Astrup 0 0-0 0, Ross 0 0-0 0. Totals 21-68 4-7 49.

WAHPETON (10-12): Albrecht 6 4-4 16, Klosterman 5 1-2 11, Bumgarner 3 4-4 11, Differding 3 2-3 8, Irwin 2 0-0 5, Wynn 1 1-2 3, Birchem 0 0-0 0. Totals 20-60 12-15 54.

Half: WHS 21, FN 18. 3-point goals: Schmiess 2, Muellenberg, Bumgarner, Irwin. Total fouls: FN 13, WHS 11. Rebounds: FN 45 (Larson 19), WHS 28 (Klosterman 9). Turnovers: FN 14, WHS 7.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com