GRAND FORKS — The Thompson girls basketball team handled business so quickly that fans were able to start thinking pretty early about an appealing semifinal matchup.
The No. 3-seeded Tommies led 16-1 after the first quarter, 38-7 at halftime and finished with a 67-23 victory over Shiloh Christian in the North Dakota state Class B semifinals at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Thompson, 22-2, plays unranked Kindred in the state semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
The Skyhawks, 18-7, play a consolation game against Langdon-Edmore-Munich at 1 p.m.
The Tommies, who lost in the state semifinals last year before finishing fourth, have never played in a state title game.
“I’m excited,” Thompson senior forward Carrie Nistler said. “I really want to play (Kindred) again. When we played in Kindred, it was a great atmosphere. They’re a great team and those are the games you get most excited for -- the ones you know are going to be a battle.”
When Kindred and Thompson met in Kindred in mid-January, the Tommies won 78-76 in triple overtime.
“They’re a heck of a basketball team,” Thompson coach Jason Brend said. “I expect a slugfest. They have a lot of length and athleticism. They’re battle-tested.
“We need to do two things. We have to handle that 1-3-1 defense. With their length and quickness, they make you make poor decisions and passes. We also have to keep the ball out of (Abby) Duchscherer’s hands.”
Duchscherer, a standout 6-foot freshman, scored 39 points in the first meeting between Thompson and Kindred.
Thompson set up the rematch with Kindred thanks to a strong shooting game against Shiloh.
The Tommies were 7-for-10 from the 3-point line and shot 48 percent from the field compared to the Skyhawks’ 18 percent from the field.
Mackenzie Hughes led the balanced offense with 12 points. Macy Jordheim added 11 points, while Nistler and Kaia Sorby each had 10 points.
The Tommies’ defense forced Shiloh into 20 turnovers, leading to an advantage in points off turnovers of 18-0.
Shiloh was led by Grace Kelly’s nine points. The Skyhawks were just 2-for-13 from the 3-point line.
Rugby 47, Kidder County 39
GRAND FORKS - Unranked Rugby cruised to a big first-quarter lead, increased it by halftime and held on to beat top-ranked and unbeaten Kidder County 47-39 in the first round of the North Dakota Class B girls state basketball tournament on Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
By all appearances, it was an upset in the classic sense. Rugby coach Jen Brossart, however, isn’t so sure.
“I’ve got four seniors who weren’t going to let it go down,” Brossart said. “I’m immensely proud of these girls. I know what they can do. Our underclassmen stepped up, too.”
The win pushes Rugby (21-4) into Friday’s semifinal round.
Kidder County, which falls to 24-1, finished the regular season atop the Class B poll and likewise was seeded No. 1 in the tournament bracket. But those regular-season accolades didn’t mean much Thursday, as Rugby pulled ahead 13-3 after the first quarter.
Kidder County could only muster one basket in the opening eight minutes - a 3-pointer from Hailey Pfaff. It was more of the same in the second. The Wolves did score on back-to-back baskets by Brittany Rath and Madelyn Schmidt early in the quarter, but Rugby wouldn’t let the Wolves do much more than that.
Rebounding was instrumental. At one point, Rugby grabbed three straight offensive rebounds under the basket, the final one coming to one of the shortest players on the floor - 5-foot-6 sophomore Sarah Blessum, who hit a short jumper under the basket to put the Panthers up 21-7.
Kidder County was just 3-of-21 from the field in the first half while Rugby was 10-of-24.
Down 23-7 at halftime, Kidder County cut it to 30-18 to start the fourth. With 3:31 left, the Wolves trailed 35-26 after four consecutive free throws from Jaslyn Magstadt. A free throw by Kidder County’s Brittany Rath and a 15-footer by Teanna Binder made it 35-29 before a media timeout and two free throws by Rugby’s Karsyn Hager.
Then came a series that clinched the game for Rugby. Maria Blessum got a rebound and made two free throws after being fouled, followed by a Maria Blessum steal and pass to Jordan Senger, who made the layup. Forty seconds later, Maria Blessum found Brooke Blessum on a nice pass for a short basket. That made it 43-33 with a minute to play.
Stier fouled out early in the fourth quarter, creating an opportunity for others. Brossart said Senger “stepped up.”
“She’s a girl that’s overshadowed, underestimated and has a will like none other. She is the glue of that team and she showed it tonight,” Brossart said. “I’m very proud of her and very proud of the girls who made the free throws down the stretch.”
“I think when we started the last quarter, we were playing not to lose,” Brossart said. “We called a timeout and told the girls we can’t do that. That’s not what got us here. We play to win. We won one of the toughest regions around by attacking.”
Kindred 58, Langdon-Edmore-Munich 43
GRAND FORKS -- The Langdon-Edmore-Munich girls basketball team entered the North Dakota state Class B tournament with a reputation of a high-pace, harassing style of defense.
But so did Kindred.
And on Thursday the Vikings did it better.
Kindred gave the No. 2-seeded Cardinals a taste of their own medicine by forcing 17 turnovers to spark a 58-43 win in the quarterfinals at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
“It was almost like looking in the mirror,” Kindred coach Sam Brandt said.
Kindred 6-foot freshman Abby Duchscherer led the way with 23 points (8-for-11 shooting), 10 rebounds, six assists, six steals and two blocks.
Kindred (21-3) advances to play No. 3 Thompson in the state semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday night.
Langdon-E-M (21-3), which had a 20-game winning streak snapped, will play Shiloh Christian in a consolation game at 1 p.m.
Kindred lost 78-76 in triple overtime to visiting Thompson during the regular season.
“I think we’re ready,” Duchscherer said. “We worked super hard all year after that loss. We know now what we did wrong, and we’re ready.”
Against the Cardinals, Kindred trailed 7-6 after one quarter and led 19-16 at halftime thanks to a late corner 3-pointer from Jordyn Burner.
The Vikings slowly pulled away in the third quarter, which ended with Kindred leading 39-33.
Kindred, sparked by the overall play of Duchscherer, outscored Langdon-E-M 19-10 in the fourth quarter.
“She’ll do anything for the team to win,” Brandt said. “If it’s diving on the floor or if it’s only rebounding all game, that’s what she’ll do and she’ll do it to a perfect T. She’s a competitor. That’s her MO.”
Joining Duchscherer, who already has surpassed 1,000 career points, in double figures were freshman Terryn Johnson (14 points) and junior Burner (13 points).
Kindred was only the second team to score at least 58 points against the Cardinals this year.
“We played our hearts out,” Duchscherer said. “We prepared for (their press) at practice. We know they were just as good of a defense as us, and I think we were ready for it.”
Langdon-E-M was led by Callie Ronningen’s 16 points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Kaylee Lowery added 14 points and eight rebounds.
“Kindred came out and really was aggressive and in your face,” L-E-M coach Rob Scherr said. “That didn’t allow us to get into offensive movement.
“(Duchscherer) is a very special player. She’s tall and lanky and can do a lot of things.”
Hettinger-Scranton 48, Trenton 44
GRAND FORKS – Samantha Oase scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to help Hettinger-Scranton to an overtime victory over Trenton in the late game.
Alyssa Andress added 11 ponts and Abbie Kludt also posted a double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds.
Alyssa St. Pierre, Alexa St. Pierre and Kaity Hove each finished with 12 for Trenton.