A game like Century and Bismarck got tangled up in on Tuesday afternoon at the Event Center could be described in many ways, most of all strange.
Century, the top-ranked team in the state, won 48-43 by shooting 23 percent. The Patriots came out on top after falling victim to a 29-3 BHS run in the second half.
The losing Demons, meanwhile, shot just 24 percent, scored just nine first-half points and didn't score in the final 8:36 of the opening period.
Nonetheless, it was a win for Century in its West Region opener.
"The Demons are a really good team, and when we get a win like that we can move forward," said Century's Lilly Keplin, a sophomore guard.
BHS, with barely a detectable pulse at halftime, gamely battled back. Down 35-14 after Century's Regan Dennis rebounded her own shot with 15:07 to play, the Demons went to work.
Senior forward Ashley Davis, scoreless in the first half, came alive to lead a 13-1 Demon run that cut the deficit to 36-27 with 10:54 on the clock.
Century's Katelyn Selensky sank two free throws to make it 38-27 and then the CHS offense fell silent for six minutes. While the Patriots were in the shooting doldrums, BHS ran off 16 unanswered points to take a 43-38 lead.
A pair of free throws by Davis put Bismarck on top 39-38, the first Demon lead since the opening two minutes of the game. A 3-pointer by Coral Gillette made it 42-38, and a free throw by Davis gave Bismarck its five-point 43-38 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Demons, the BHS offense consisted of 0-for-8 shooting and four turnovers over the final five minutes.
Meanwhile, Century regained the lead at 45-43 via a basket by Selensky, two free throws by Dennis and a 3-pointer by Keplin. Three free throws in the last half minute enabled CHS to close the game on a 10-0 run.
Keplin, who grabbed five of her nine rebounds in the frantic final six minutes, said the Patriots never hit the panic button when things started to slip away.
"It was really nerve-wracking, but we're so good together as a team that we can calm each other down and do our best," she said.
Keplin said the Patriots have several versatile athletes, and the latter stages of Tuesday's game required rebounding.
"It depends. We're a well-rounded team and we need everybody to step up," she said. "... In the huddle we were definitely talking about (rebounding). You play every shot like it's going to be a miss and that's what I was thinking."
Century improved to 3-1 with the victory, 1-0 in the West Region. Bismarck lost for the first time in four starts, all regional games.
In the evening session, Century's boys used a strong defensive effort to trim Bismarck 66-41.
Century 66, Bismarck 41
Bismarck hung with third-ranked Century for much of the first half, but when the Patriots stepped on the gas, it was over.
Century held a 28-26 lead late in the first half and scored the final seven points of the period to take a 35-26 intermission break.
The Patriot momentum carried into the second half. Century outscored the Demons 13-2 to start the second period, making the score 48-28 with 10:39 remaining.
Bismarck got no closer than 15 the rest of the way. Century's biggest lead was 66-39 on a pair of Tyler Hauglie free throws with 1:30 to play.
Lucas Mayer and Josh Sipes scored 12 points each to lead a balanced Century attack. Joe Jahner was Bismarck's only double-figure scorer with 10.