Shiloh Christian's perfect season continued on Monday night.
Grant County made the Skyhawks work for No. 21 in a row, but seniors Amber Stevahn, Paige Murray and Brittan Grubb had the goods. The trio combined for 54 points as Shiloh claimed the District 9 tournament title on its home floor, 65-56.
"This was one of our goals when we started the season," said Stevahn, who poured in a game-high 23 points. "We knew it'd be a challenging game because we know how good Grant County is. We're happy about this, but now we have to get ready for the next one."
The Skyhawks never trailed Monday night, jumping out to an early 9-2 lead.
Grant County, the defending district and region champions, never went away, however.
The Coyotes trailed by 15 early in the second half after a putback bucket by Murray, but the Coyotes began chipping away.
Back-to-back baskets by Alexis Bentz and Coral Alt capped a 12-2 run and it was a game again at 38-33 late in the third quarter.
"Once we got our legs under us and kind of settled down, we played really well," Grant County coach Nicole Bentz said. "Obviously, being on their home floor they were comfortable. They are a good team, no doubt, but we can take a lot of positives out of this game. We make a couple more shots, get a couple breaks to go our way, and who knows?
"It was a fun game. I'm proud of the effort the girls gave."
A fast start to the fourth quarter proved key for Shiloh.
Stevahn, showing the form that earned her District 9 Player of the Year honors, splashed home a 3-pointer, then knifed all the way to the rim on a drive to put the Skyhawks up 54-40 two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Stevahn and Murray also proved a handful inside with four blocked shots each. Murray rang up 17 points while Grubb accounted for 14. All three earned all-district honors.
"Those seniors are a special group of girls," said Shiloh Christian coach Darryl Bearstail, who was named coach of the year. "We have a really nice group of seniors and so does Grant County. There were a lot of really good ballplayers on the court tonight."
Grant County surged late.
Taylor Roehl hit nothing but net on a triple from the top of the key to make it 61-56 with 47 seconds to go. Roehl and promising sophomore post Camryn Alt led the Coyotes with 13 points apiece. Bentz added 12.
Roehl, Bentz and Coral Alt earned all-district honors. Camryn Alt and Isabelle Boyer earned honorable mention honors. For Shiloh, Brooke Emmel was named honorable mention.
The Skyhawks had two 20-point quarters in the win, but Stevahn said it started on the other end.
"I think our defense pulled us through, and always working hard," she said. "If we play to our potential defensively, we feel like we'll always have a chance to win.
"Especially at tournament time, you really have to focus on playing great defense. That's the key for us."
A third meeting between Grant County and Shiloh potentially looms in next week's Region 5 tournament at Mandan High School. The Skyhawks have won the first two meetings.
"Coming into this game and being competitive and in it to win it, that gives us a little pep in our step," Nicole Bentz said. "We have some things we need to clean up, but we have a little time here to see if we can work out some of the kinks and then get after it again next week."
The Region 5 tournament starts at 3 p.m. on Feb. 19 with Shiloh taking on Center-Stanton. Other first-round games feature Solen vs. Underwood, Flasher facing Wilton-Wing and Grant County against Garrison.
SOLEN 68, NEW SALEM-ALMONT 51
Astacia Conica's big game powered Solen to regionals.
Conica drilled seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 33 points for the Sioux, who defeated New Salem-Almont, 68-51.
Tosha Thunder Hawk added 10 points for Solen.
Brenna Hoger's 13 points paced the Holsteins.
FLASHER 50, STANDING ROCK 49
Flasher's big comeback kept its season alive.
Down 25-11 after one quarter and 35-26 at the break, Flasher held Standing Rock to 14 second-half points in the come-from-behind victory, 50-49.
Emma Marion's 18 points paced Flasher. Faith Marion added 15.
Keisha Bailey pumped in a game-best 22 points for Standing Rock, which entered as the tournament's No. 3 seed.