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Tom Mix, Published March 11 2014

Fairmount-Campbell-Tintah tops Maple Valley in ND Region 1 girls BB semifinals

WAHPETON, N.D. – Fairmount-Campbell-Tintah’s Harmony Burns has had a knack for placing herself in situations to give her team a boost at the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 girls basketball tournament.

On consecutive days, Burns has helped propel the Rebels. Tuesday, the freshman guard turned a timely steal into a go-ahead layup with 35 seconds left helping F-C-T to a 37-33 win over Maple Valley in the semifinals.

The Rebels entered the fourth quarter up 29-28 after closing the third quarter on a 9-0 run. The No. 4-ranked Raiders answered with a 5-0 run to begin the final eight minutes of play, forcing the Rebels to play catch-up.

With 1:03 remaining Burns sunk two free throws to cut Maple Valley’s lead to 33-32. On the Rebels’ next possession, Burns drove to the basket and had a shot rim out, but without delay she immediately got into defensive position, swiped the ball and once again attacked the basket.

This time Burns found her mark.

“I knew we needed points, and I knew whose hands they wanted to get the ball to,” said Burns, who finished with nine points. “I stepped in front and was able to get the ball. Since I was close to the basket I put it up. It was exciting.”

The Rebels (22-2) advance to play in the Region 1 championship set to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Ed Werre Arena. Maple Valley plays in the third-place game at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Following its run to begin the fourth quarter, Maple Valley’s offense fell quiet. Lexi Berntson’s 3-pointer with 6:05 remaining marked the last points of the game for the Raiders (21-3).

On top of that, Maple Valley’s standout sophomore guard Rylee Nudell fouled out with 2:53 remaining. Maple Valley was up 33-30 at the time.

“We run a lot of our offense through Rylee so when she’s gone it definitely impacts us,” Maple Valley head coach Jeff Miller said. “But even before that, we were up by eight points and they were able to come back. We lacked the poise needed to hold onto the lead and just didn’t finish the game strong. (F-C-T) wanted it and they are a good team.”

The largest lead of the game was when the Raiders held a 28-20 edge over the Rebels midway through the third quarter. F-C-T head coach Brenda Dahlgren called a timeout with 4:41 left in the third, and sophomore forward Madison Kaehler said that was the turning point.

“It helped us refocus,” said Kaehler, who paced the Rebels with 11 points and nine rebounds. “It also made us realize that we could still pull it out.”

The Raiders had two opportunities to tie the game or take the lead in the final 30 seconds of the game, but both attempts came up empty.

Kaehler hit three free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

MV 7 19 28 33

FCT 7 18 29 37

MV (21-3): Tinjum 1 0-1 2, Punton 1 0-0 2, Berntson 2 0-0 6, Kasowski 1 0-3 2, Nudell 5 3-3 14, Pautz 2 0-0 5, Ja. Von Bank 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13-46 3-7 33.

FCT (22-2): Grefsrud 4 0-0 8, Burns 3 3-6 9, Rittenour 1 0-0 3, Meyer 2 0-0 6, Kaehler 4 3-6 11. Totals: 14-42 37.

3-point goals: Nudell, Berntson 2, Pautz, Meyer 2, Ritternour. Total fouls: MV 16, FCT 12. Fouled out: Nudell. Rebounds: MV 34 (Nudell 8), FCT 35 (Kaehler 9). Turnovers: MV 18, FCT 20.

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