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Tom Mix, Published March 20 2013

Division I skills help push Squirrels to state

Casselton, N.D. - The Central Cass girls basketball team has benefitted this season from ability that many North Dakota Class B programs never get to experience.

The rarity the Squirrels possess is having two athletes on their roster that are committed to play a sport at the Division I level.

Senior Hannah Breske – a 5-foot-11 guard committed to play basketball at North Dakota State – and junior Faith Dooley – a 6-foot-3 center committed to volleyball at the University of North Dakota – have flourished on the court for Central Cass this season.

Breske and Dooley helped power the Squirrels to a Region 1 championship and a 22-3 record entering the North Dakota Class B state tournament set to begin today at the Fargodome. Central Cass – ranked No. 8 – plays Grant County at 3 p.m. in the quarterfinals.

“It has to be rare,” Central Cass head coach Ryan Mears said of Dooley and Breske being future D-I athletes. “It can’t happen at too many places, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be in the situation to coach those two girls and the rest of the girls on the team as well.”

Breske, an all-state second-team selection as a junior, averages 17.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Dooley, who played primarily junior varsity last year, has averages of 13.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in her first season as a starter.

Breske and Dooley were members of the Squirrels’ 2011 state volleyball championship team.

Central Cass is making its first trip to state in basketball since 2011. The Squirrels were state runners-up in 2010 and 2011.

“It feels good to be back,” said Breske, who was a member of the 2010 and 2011 teams. “We have a lot of unfinished business that we didn’t get a chance to take care of last year. Hopefully we can fulfill our goals.”

Dooley said playing alongside Breske has been beneficial.

“We both know we are expecting a lot of challenges in the future, so we have to push ourselves more and more now,” Dooley said. “I think that helps our whole team push themselves more too.”

When Breske and Dooley step on the court, mismatches usually are ripe for the taking. Breske creates from the perimeter and Dooley controls the Squirrels’ inside game.

“She brings a lot of talent to the team,” Breske said of Dooley. “Just her height and her ability to create down low help us out a lot. Using her height down low and my height up top creates a lot of chaos for teams.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562