Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published March 18 2014
Several Thompson girls basketball players have made the state tourney in more than one sportTHOMPSON, N.D. – The bundle of nerves Karleigh Weber felt in her first state tournament experience is still a vivid memory.
Weber was one of the five Thompson players trotting onto the court during pregame introductions of starting lineups during the 2010 North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball tournament.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Weber said. “I was a little eighth-grader out there. You go onto the court and see all the people there, the big building, finally getting to state – so many things running through your mind.”
Since then, she’s played in three state softball tournaments, one state volleyball tournament and, this week, will be making her third state basketball appearance.
Through all those experiences, some things haven’t changed for the Tommies senior.
“The nerves will be gone,” Weber said. “But the excitement is still there. Getting to play at a state tournament is always exciting.”
After winning the Region 2 tournament, Thompson will be in the Class B state basketball tournament for the second straight season, and third time in the past five seasons.
Thompson’s first-round opponent at the Fargodome at 1 p.m. Thursday is Beach – a team that edged the Tommies in overtime in the quarterfinals of the 2010 tournament en route to the state title and an undefeated season.
For several Tommies regulars, the state tournament experience has become commonplace.
Averi Olson has competed in state events in volleyball, track and cross country as well as basketball. Several have competed at state in three sports – Weber, Emily Overby, Bethany Ivesdal and McKenna DeMoe in basketball, volleyball and softball, while Shaice Marx has been to state in track, volleyball and basketball.
“That says that we’re all-around athletes,” Weber said. “We’re pretty competitive. We concentrate on the sport we’re in at the time, then you do the same for the next season and the next.”
Shannon Galegher is a two-sporter, having played at state in volleyball and basketball. She also was in track, but a foot injury derailed her in that sport a few years ago.
“I like playing different sports,” Galegher said. “It seems like when you do different sports, you can get a break, taking your mind off one sport for a while when you switch to another. Then you re-focus for the next season.”
While Thompson has a number of scoring options, the big offensive threats have been Galegher and Weber.
Weber, who has signed to play basketball at Mayville State, averages 13 points. Galegher, who has made a verbal commitment to play basketball at MSU Moorhead, averages 16.8 points and 9.7 rebounds.
Weber has 1,418 points for her career. Galegher is at 1,504 points and 1,064 rebounds for her career.
“We focus on balance,” Tommies coach Jason Brend said. “But they seem to be the two who have consistently scored for us.
“This group has always been able to score. This season we’ve really stepped up our defense. I think they’ve focused on it more. They’re older. They understand the defensive concepts better. And our strength has really improved. That’s been a key to better defense.”
Ivesdal (7.1 ppg), Overby (7 ppg) and Marx (6.9 ppg) round out the starting five. Weber (3.7 steals per game), Marx (3.4 spg) and DeMoe (2.1 spg) lead a pesky, aggressive defense.
“They’re good athletes, and they’ve cared about getting better,” Brend said. “They’ve put in the time in the weight room. They’ve worked at all their games in the offseason. These girls don’t take anything for granted.”
DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald