Kidder Co. fallsTied 38-38 after three periods, 5-foot-5 junior guard Shauna Long put the Standing Rock Warriors on her back. The all-stater buried a pair of three-pointers and racked up 15 of her game-high 28 points in the final frame, sending Standing Rock past defending state champion Kidder County 60-59 in the opening round of the state Class B girls’ basketball tournament on Thursday at the MSU Dome.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
MINOT — Tied 38-38 after three periods, 5-foot-5 junior guard Shauna Long put the Standing Rock Warriors on her back.
The all-stater buried a pair of three-pointers and racked up 15 of her game-high 28 points in the final frame, sending Standing Rock past defending state champion Kidder County 60-59 in the opening round of the state Class B girls’ basketball tournament on Thursday at the MSU Dome.
The Warriors (20-4) finished eighth in the team’s first ever appearance at the state tournament one year ago, making the win the team’s first on the state’s biggest stage.
“It’s really exciting for our whole team. We just knew we wanted it,” Long said. “We knew we needed to contain (Eli) Benz and not let anymore (Kidder County) threes go. We gave it our all and played to the end.”
Eli Benz, the Region 3 Senior Player of The Year, scored 8 points in the crucial fourth period and led Kidder County with 22 points and 14 rebounds. But after trailing 26-22 to start the second half, most of Kidder County’s heroics ran through senior Shalee Martin.
Martin sank 4 of her 5 three-pointers after the break, with two in the final period. Martin’s second trey of the fourth slashed Standing Rock’s lead to 58-57 with just 53 seconds left to play. Martin ended the night scoring 19 points and led the Pirates with 4 assists.
But Kidder County needed three-pointer No. 6 out of Martin, which wasn’t in the cards.
Following a Standing Rock turnover on the Warriors’ final possession with 20 seconds left — and out of timeouts — Benz found Martin open in the left corner. The three-attempt by Martin missed, and Kidder County’s Bailie Ziesch’s put back was no good at the buzzer as the Pirates fell by one. “Even though we were down we knew we were going to make a run eventually, and we did,” Kidder County co-coach Dan Welder said. “But we came up a little short. We got a couple of decent looks but they didn’t go in.”
Considering the Pirates converted just 8 of 34 field goals in the first half, the team was lucky to be trailing by just four points at the break. Standing Rock committed 13 of their 23 turnovers in the first 16 minutes, helping the Pirates hang around.
The Warriors closed out the first period on a 9-3 run, which was started with a Long three-pointer, and led 17-9 to start the second. Long scored 6 in the second to help the Warriors hang on to the 26-22 advantage to start the third.
Standing Rock came out of the locker room after the half, misfired on its first two shot attempts and turned the ball over twice to allow Benz and the Pirates to come charging back. A bucket by Benz gave Kidder County its first lead since early in the first period at 28-26 with 6:34 left before the fourth.
“We needed to play good defense, sandwich Benz and make her work for it, and we did that,” Standing Rock coach Margaret Gates said.
Martin extended the KC advantage to 31-27 with a trey with 6:06 remaining in the period, but a three-point play by the Warriors’ Ryan White Bull with 50 seconds to go tied the game up at 38-all heading into the fourth. White Bull scored 15 for the Warriors.
Long took over from there, drilling her first trey with 6:34 to go in the game to put Standing Rock up 43-40. The Warriors held on to the lead the rest of the way.
“We always had a chaser on (Long), pretty much face-guarding her the whole time,” Welder said. “She’s an excellent player. She made some unbelievable shots that normal girls just don’t do.”
“We had to get the basketball in her hands and let her make things happen, and that’s what she did,” Gates said.
The Pirates ended the game shooting just 36 percent from the floor (22 of 61) and recording 21 turnovers. Standing Rock made good on 24 of 55 shots for 44 percent.
The Region 5 champion Warriors role on to face Central Cass (24-2) in today’s semifinals at 6:30 p.m.
Kidder County won’t be able to win back-to-back titles, but the team will be looking to turn things around today against Kenmare (20-6) in consolation play at 1 p.m.
“The girls are taking it pretty hard right now, but hopefully we can bounce back tomorrow and get the consolation,” Welder said.
State Class B Girls’ Basketball Tournament
At Minot State University Dome
Standing Rock 60, Kidder County 59
Kidder County 9 22 38 59
Standing Rock 17 26 38 60
Kidder County — Eli Benz 22, Shalee Martin 19, Molly Kahl 11, Bailie Ziesch 5, Kelsey Dockter 2.
Totals: 22-61 FG, 9-13 FT, 21 turnovers, 15 fouls, 38 rebounds (Benz 14), 11 assists (Martin 4). Three-pointers: Martin 5, Ziesch 1.
Standing Rock — Shauna Long 28, Ryan White Bull 15, Sadie Agard 9, Jaimie Archambault 4, Rebecca American Horse 2, Shantel Bachmeier 2.
Totals: 24-55 FG, 9-17 FT, 23 turnovers, 10 fouls, 39 rebounds (Archambault 10), 13 assists (Long 5). Three-pointers: Long 3.
Records: Standing Rock 20-4; Kidder County 23-2.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com