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Chris Aarhus / Forum News Service, Published March 13 2014

Bismarck tops Valley City at ND Class A state girls basketball

MINOT, N.D. – Valley City made Bismarck sweat out every minute on Thursday.

But the top-seeded Demons finally found their transition offense in the final six minutes, securing a 60-50 quarterfinal win at the North Dakota Class A state girls basketball tournament at Municipal Auditorium.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” said Bismarck senior guard MacKenzie Kiefer, who finished with 14 points including two 3-pointers in the win. “We went down and played their game. They wanted to set up their offense and we like to transition. We did not play our transition game.”

But the Demons did just enough to advance to today’s 1 p.m. semifinal against Minot at the Minot State Dome.

“The last six minutes, it seemed like every little tip and bounce was heading Bismarck’s way,” said Valley City coach Waylan Starr. “We couldn’t offset that. We’d get a good steal, turn around and let them get a tip on the ball. Then deflect it and it would go back the other way.”

Keisha Engelhardt had game highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Courtney Trolliey added 13 for the 20-2 Demons. Bismarck never trailed in the game and led 28-22 at halftime.

“In the first half, our spacing was really bad,” Kiefer said. “It was better in the second half and we moved the ball well. We just couldn’t finish in the first half.”

Valley City was within two points a few different times, but its best opportunity was a four-point margin after Dierra Diegel scored three straight buckets with 10 minutes, 32 seconds remaining. She had a team-high 18 points in the loss.

The Hi-Liners also narrowed the deficit to six with 1:17 to go, but Bismarck answered with six straight points to nail down the win.

“Bismarck pushes the ball really well, but I thought we mirrored them both in the physical aspect and on the defensive end,” Starr said. “They adjusted in the second half. ... A little bounce here or there, it could have been a closer game.”

VC: Di. Diegel 18, Olson 10, Dieterle 9, Taylor 7, Denholm 4, Da. Diegel 2. Totals: 21-54 (FG), 8-16 (FT).

B: Engelhardt 20, Kiefer 14, Trolliey 13, Leingang 5, Schmidt 3, Mann 2, Hilzendeger 2, Fisher 1. Totals: 24-56 (FG), 9-19 (FT).

Halftime: Bismarck 28, VC 22. 3-pointers: Kiefer 2, Schmidt. Rebounds: VC 41 (Da. Diegel 9, Olson 9), B 37 (Engelhardt 12). Assists: VC 12 (Olson 3), B 18 (Hilzendeger 7). Fouls: VC 15, B 16. Fouled out: Da. Diegel 5. Turnovers: VC 23, B 15.


Chris Aarhus writes for the Jamestown (N.D.) Sun