In a matter of four minutes, a 16-point lead was cut to one.
With four minutes to play and the game on the line, the Bismarck High girls were unfazed.
The Demons answered a late Legacy charge, finishing the game on a 10-4 run to post a 61-54 West Region victory over the Sabers on Tuesday at the Karlgaard Gym.
A big West Region victory over a Legacy team that was receiving votes in the latest Class A poll and entered the night just a game back in the West Region standings was a mark of how much the Demons have progressed.
“They’re a tremendous team,” BHS coach Bill Shetler said. “They have skilled players all over the place, so we knew they were going to make a run. We didn’t want it to be that quick, just a blink of an eye and boom, it’s to one. But two weeks ago, I don’t know if our girls would have hung on and found a way to win that one so I’m super happy with the steps we took forward tonight.”
Bismarck used runs of 15-4 and 10-2 in the first half to build a 13-point lead and was up 27-20 at the half. A 10-2 second-half run gave the Demons a 16-point advantage at 47-31 with 8:05 remaining.
Then Legacy caught fire, using a 19-4 run to trim it to 51-50 on an Alyssa Eckroth jumper with 4:00 to go.
“We made shots for a stretch, just like they made shots when they made their run,” Shetler said. “But we have skilled players that just need to trust each other and trust our system and move the ball. When we were moving it, when we reversed it, we got any shot we wanted. Then when they made a little run we kind of panicked and took the first available one, which wasn’t what was giving us our success. I was happy with the way that we moved it until their little spurt.”
With the Sabers charging late, the Demons answered.
Peyton Gerving hit a jumper and Sydney Gerving sank a pair of free throws to make it 55-50. After Breena Sand’s bucket brought the Sabers within 55-52, Mandie Picard hit a jumper and Sydney Gerving hit one of two free throws to make it 58-52.
Sand hit another jump with 23 seconds left, but the Demons iced the win with free throws from Peyton Gerving and Picard.
“We have three losses and two of them were by a combined three points,” Shetler said. “So to hang on to this one was monumental for our progression because we’re playing the way I want us to play and the way that we need to play to be successful. I’m glad that this one rewarded us because we put a heck of an effort out there tonight.”
Jilee Golus led three Demons players in double figures with 17 points. Miyah Holzworth added 11 and Sydney Gerving 10. Nine different players scored for BHS (5-3).
“We play a lot of girls but we trust a lot of girls,” Shetler said. “I’m not going to put somebody on the floor that I don’t trust. Hopefully that kind of wears off on them, that I’m out here for a reason, I have the confidence to go and make this shot or I can go make this free throw. I’m happy with everybody who stepped up today.”
Jaiden Baker led the Sabers (7-3) with 15 points. Eckroth added 12 and Arianna Berryhill 11.
Legacy hosts St. Mary’s on Friday at 6 p.m. Bismarck visits top-ranked Century on Saturday at 4:15 p.m.