When it comes to basketball, a strong finish is important, eh?
The Century Patriots have needed strong second halves to survive in the West Region girls basketball tournament. At this time of the year, that’s all that matters.
The No. 1-seeded Patriots used their time well in the final 20 minutes on Thursday to get by No. 8 St. Mary’s. Century did the same on Friday afternoon in the semifinals against the No. 4 Legacy Sabers in a 64-55 victory at the Civic Center.
Century (22-1) made its way into tonight’s title game against Mandan and punched its ticket into next week’s Class A state tournament at the Civic Center. Legacy (13-9), meanwhile, will need to win today’s state qualifier. Century will appear in its eighth straight region title game and will try to win its second straight.
“At halftime, we don’t worry about it so much and put ourselves under so much pressure,” said Century post Regan Dennis, a 5-foot-11 junior. “In a close game we come out and have that mindset that you have to work harder in the second half.”
Dennis led Century with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jenna Fitterer added 15 points and Kourtney Selensky contributed with 12.
Brita Feland paced Legacy with a double-double, netting 19 points and snagging 12 rebounds. Mercedes Baumgartner added 10 points while Whitney Thomas pulled down 10 rebounds to go with six points.
Century escaped the first half with a 28-27 advantage. Hannah Holtz hit Century’s lone 3 of the contest and it came at the right time when she uncorked one with 21 seconds to go in the half to give the Patriots the lead at intermission. Century has shot a paltry 2 of 26 from the 3-point stripe in the region tournament.
The Patriots opened the second half with a 12-2 run to go up 40-31 with 13:03 to play. From there, Century put the contest away.
“In the beginning, I felt we gave up way too many offensive rebounds,” Dennis said. “In the second half, we definitely adjusted. We boxed out and got the rebounds. I feel like with all the depth we have it’s hard to keep up with all of us. We have so much more energy on and off the court.”
Legacy coach Jim Petrik said it was tough for his team to match Century in the second half with Dennis and Selensky down low.
“Their length gave us some struggles early on,” he said. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds and second-chance points. Their playmakers made the plays when they had to. We had some defensive breakdowns and some bad closeouts. They had too many points in the paint again.”
The Sabers struggled from the free-throw line, hitting 12 of 24 shots.
< h3> Mandan 55, Minot 46
When Abby (Schafer) Thomas played girls basketball for Washburn, getting to the Class B state tournament was pretty much a given.
Now that she’s a head coach for Mandan, in the West Region, advancing isn’t so easy. Thomas, in her second year at the helm, will finally know what it’s like to coach in the big show. The No. 2-seeded Braves picked up a 55-46 victory over No. 6 Minot in a semifinal contest on Friday afternoon at the Civic Center.
Mandan (15-8) secured its place in next week’s Class A state tournament at the Civic Center and will play Century tonight for the region championship. Minot (11-12) will need to win a state-qualifier today to advance.
Thomas and the Braves were disappointed after missing out last year and having to watch.
“Ever since our loss last year to Turtle Mountain (in a state-qualifier), it’s been our goal to go to state,” Thomas said. “We set a goal at the beginning this year to be a top two team, not only in the WDA but in the tournament. I’m so proud of the girls for reaching that goal. We have one more tomorrow that we want to win too. Even though our goal was to get to the state tournament, the girls want more.”
The Minot Majettes didn’t make it easy for the Braves to advance. Mandan led 27-15 at halftime. A quick 9-0 run narrowed the deficit to 31-26 with 12:03 to play. Mandan did some bending but did not break.
“They hassled us defensively and got us out of our rhythm,” Thomas said. “They took some of the looks away we were looking for. Their physical presence is difficult for us. We got into a little bit of panic for a minute. We did a good job of settling down after awhile.”
Minot came as close as three points and two points, but guard Kennedy Harris answered the bell each time with 3-pointers to thwart any Minot run. Harris came off the bench and finished with a team-high 15 points. Teammate Mackensi Higlin added 14.
‘Kennedy has the green light to shoot,” Thomas said. “We encourage it later on in the shot clock if she’s having trouble in the game. If she’s feeling it, she has the go ahead to shoot. She’s a kid that has so much confidence that you just let her go. If she’s feeling it, she’s going to stroke it.”
Cassie Askvig provided the majority of the punch for Minot. The senior post finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“We had to exert so much energy to get back into it,” Minot coach Bernie Wasser said. “ We don’t have a really deep bench. Those long minutes were adding up for a lot of the players. I’m proud of our girls for getting ourselves back into it. We had a couple missed shots and some defensive breakdowns. It was one of those games where we couldn’t play two halves.”
Century 64, Legacy 55</&hspag4>
LEGACY (55): Whitney Thomas 2-11 2-4 6, Mercedes Baumgartner 3-17 3-8 10, Kennedy Mueller 1-1 0-0 3, Brita Feland 7-12 5-6 19, Ashley Hulm 2-3 0-0 4, Kailey Weigel 0-1 2-4 2, Courtney Hanson 1-4 0-0 3, Megan Fields 0-0 0-0 0, Brenna Hanson 0-0 0-0 0, Kyla Schock 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 19-61 12-24 55.
CENTURY (64): Lexi Brown 3-10 0-0 6, Jenna Fitterer 7-9 1-2 15, Kourtney Selensky 4-11 4-5 12, Hannah Holtz 1-1 0-0 3, Regan Dennis 8-16 4-8 20, Josie Anderson 1-5 0-0 2, Hannah Schwartz 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Klein 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 26-58 11-17 64.
Halftime: C 28, L 27.
3-pointers: L 5 (Murphy 1, Mueller 1, Baumgartner 1, Schock 1, Hanson 1), C 1 (Holtz 1). Rebounds: L 42 (Feland 12, Thomas 10); C 41 (Dennis 11). Assists: L 9 (Thomas 3), C 8 (Selensky 4). Steals: L 9 (three with two), C 11 (Selensky 3). Turnovers: L 17, C 16. Fouls: L 15, C 18. Fouled out: L, Murphy; C, Brown. Technical fouls: None.
Records: L 13-9 overall; C 22-1.
< h4> Mandan 55, Minot 46
MINOT (46): Evie Reynolds 4-10 0-0 9, Kayla Budeau 1-6 0-0 2, Kali Askvig 2-7 3-4 7, Cassie Askvig 7-12 4-5 20, Annika Arnold 3-6 0-0 6, Taylor Benno 0-1 0-0 0, Paige Argent 1-2 0-0 2, Riley Irmen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-44 7-9 46.
MANDAN (55): Mackensi Higlin 4-10 5-5 14, Courtney Olson 1-3 3-3 5, Miranda Lowman 1-1 0-0 2, Hannah Hanson 2-7 4-4 9, Alicia Weiand 2-7 1-2 5, Kennedy Harris 6-12 0-3 15, Megan Zander 2-8 0-0 5. Totals 18-48 13-17 55.
Halftime: Mandan 27, Minot 15.
3-pointers: Minot 3 (C. Askvig 2, Reynolds 1), Mandan 6 (Harris 3, Zander 1, Higlin 1, Hanson 1). Rebounds: Minot 29 (C. Askvig 10), Mandan 31 (Hanson 7). Assists: MInot 11 (Arnold 3, C. Askvig 3), Mandan 13 (Higlin 4). Steals: Minot 5 (Reynolds 2), Mandan 12 (Olson 5). Turnovers: Minot 14, Mandan 11. Fouls: MInot 17, Mandan 14. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.
Records: Minot 11-12 overall, Mandan 15-8.