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Scooter Pursley / Associated Press, Published March 23 2013

Bismarck Century senior Hannah Larson named ND Miss Basketball

BISMARCK – Bismarck Century senior Hannah Larson has been collecting awards and championships for years. So what’s one more trophy?

Larson, the new North Dakota Miss Basketball, has been on four championship teams in the past 12 months: two Class A basketball squads, a volleyball team and a track team.

She is the first girl from Century to win the Miss Basketball award, which is presented annually to the top senior player in the state by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

The 6-foot forward was the runaway winner, receiving 11 first-place votes and 70 points in the voting. She averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and three blocks while leading Century to its second straight state championship.

For Larson, being one of five up for the award was enough. “I thought it was cool just to be nominated,” she said.

Century coach Ron Metz wasn’t surprised.

“She has such a great attitude and just goes to work. I’m just real happy to have had a player like that returning with that kind of experience,” Metz said. “She met and exceeded all our expectations. Her success comes from her ability to keep everyone involved. Coming into the season, she was our best player and hardest worker.”

With Larson at the helm, the Patriots got their title and Larson was named West Region and State Class A Senior Athlete of the Year.

Those honors came one season after Larson led Century in kills and blocks on the way to a state volleyball championship. And last spring, she earned two individual third-place finishes to help her track team get a title.

That success has carried over to the basketball court. Larson was recently named Gatorade Player of the Year and Powerade Player of the Year.

“All those awards ... it’s cool to be recognized,” she said. “But I don’t think I could get those by myself. My teammates made me look better.”

Metz said Larson is one of those athletes who paid her dues, and waited her turn. Then she led her team as she knew how.

“I’m not much of a vocal leader. I tried to work on that,” Larson said. “But that’s not who I am. All through the years I’ve played with other girls who were older (leaders).”

She has received several offers to play basketball and volleyball in college, and has decided to stick with hoops.

For the Miss Basketball award, she beat out four other finalists: Kira Larson, Ashley Bentz, Taylor Henningsgard and Kyra Dewald.

Kira Larson, a 6-3 forward for Fargo North, received one first-place vote and 26 points. She averaged 16 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Bentz, a 5-10 guard-forward for Grant County, and Henningsgard, a 5-7 guard for Hillsboro-Central Valley, each finished with two first-place votes and 24 points. Bentz averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals, and Henningsgard averaged 14 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals.