Top seeds win: No. 4 Imperials roll in openerThe top seeds prevailed during the opening night of the Stutsman County Girls’ Basketball Tournament on Thursday at the Jamestown Civic Center. No. 1-seeded Napoleon brushed aside Central Prairie 80-31, and No. 4-seeded South Border got past Edgeley-Kulm 53-27. In the night games, No. 2-seeded Ellendale defeated LaMoure 42-21, while No. 3-seeded Midkota just escaped Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal 55-52.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
The top seeds prevailed during the opening night of the Stutsman County Girls’ Basketball Tournament on Thursday at the Jamestown Civic Center.
No. 1-seeded Napoleon brushed aside Central Prairie 80-31, and No. 4-seeded South Border got past Edgeley-Kulm 53-27.
In the night games, No. 2-seeded Ellendale defeated LaMoure 42-21, while No. 3-seeded Midkota just escaped Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal 55-52.
Play begins today at 3 p.m. with consolation round games between Central Prairie and Edgeley-Kulm, with LaMoure vs. P-B-K to follow.
The semifinals begin at 6 p.m. with Napoleon facing South Border and Ellendale meeting up with Midkota.
Napoleon 80, Central Prairie 31
The very first play of the game was the theme for the entire 32 minutes between the No. 4-ranked Napoleon Imperials and the Central Prairie Firebirds.
Napoleon’s senior center Shenille Laber slapped the opening tip-off to sophomore guard Kendra Weigel, and Weigel sailed a pass up the court to waiting senior guard Rikki Schmidt who tossed in the first of many points scored in transition for the Imperials.
Pressure defense and running the court was how the Imperials won last year’s Stutsman County crown, and it appears as if that could be what wins the team another one. The Imperials’ defense helped force 22 Central Prairie turnovers, and five Imperial athletes hit double digits in scoring as Napoleon ran away with it by 49 points.
“We did a good job pressuring the basketball and forcing them into a lot of quick shots, and our bench played well,” Napoleon coach Darcy Lehr said. “We haven’t got a lot of production out of our bench yet this year. As the year goes on, we’re looking to get more production there.”
Lehr substituted in five-player line changes throughout, starting with 4:05 left in the first period.
Napoleon led 17-6 after one, and the same substitution method was used halfway through the second. The Imperials led 38-15 at the half.
“We’re playing three games in a row and we want to keep everyone fresh,” Lehr said. “We’ve got a lot of talented players and we substituted early.”
The Imperials were led by sophomore forward Sheridon Dewald with 16 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Dewald is leading the team in scoring as she entered play scoring at a clip of 16.6 ppg.
Central Prairie was led in scoring by Alecia Krapp with nine points.
South Border 53, Edgeley-Kulm 27
This was probably one the Edgeley-Kulm Rebels would like to forget.
Not only did South Border limit the Rebels to just four field goals in the second half and 27 percent shooting from the field overall, but Edgeley-Kulm committed five more turnovers (35) than points as they fell to 0-4 overall on the season.
South Border was all over the Rebels defensively, racking up an eye-popping 22 team steals. The Mustang’s Kaylee Ketterling led the team with seven steals.
“We played pretty good defense,” South Border coach Jason Schmidt said. “We moved our press about 10 feet back in the second half to protect the basket more, and that seemed to turn things around for us.”
The Mustangs led 14-8 after one and 29-17 at the half, behind 15 points from junior forward Karly Wald. Wald erupted in this one, pouring in 26 of South Border’s 53 points.
“She’s a really good player for us. She’s been consistent game in and game out,” Schmidt said. “In four of our five games she’s got a double-double. She’s a complete player.”
The only area where Edgeley-Kulm outperformed the Mustangs was on the glass. E-K outrebounded South Border 38-29, which is an area Schmidt said his team needs to improve on.
Edgeley-Kulm senior center Jessa Lindgren posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“We started hitting some outside shots. If we just go out and play our game we think we are pretty tough,” Schmidt said. “We just have to rebound better.”
Ellendale 42, LaMoure 21
Offense was in short supply when the Ellendale Cardinals and the LaMoure Loboes took the floor.
But Ellendale coach Matt Herman said his team played a better game this time around than when the Cards took down the Loboes during last year’s opening round by the final of 35-19.
“I thought we came out better,” Herman said. “We were working some new defensive looks and experimenting a little defensively and I was pleased with it.
“It wasn’t the cleanest game,” Herman added. “They hung around. Their intensity is so much more, and they’re a much improved team.”
Ellendale’s Meg Martin continued her solid prep career in Ellendale, leading the Cards with 17 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and three assists. Martin’s 17 points was her highest point total so far this season.
Normally found near the key, Martin was called on to guard LaMoure junior guard Courtney Klever, and she rose to the occasion.
“She had a good game,” Herman said. “She plays good defense, but she’s not normally a perimeter defender for us. She’s a good anticipator.”
The Loboes struggled to find the hoop. LaMoure’s Sarah Holen hit a three-pointer with 3:31 left in the second period and led her team in scoring for the half with three points. Mackenzie Bickford ended up leading the Loboes with a team-high five points.
Midkota 55, P-B-K 52
The final quarterfinal game of the evening was not only the most entertaining, it was also the best played.
But that doesn’t mean it didn’t make Midkota coach Kyle Frappier a bit nervous as the Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal Rebels (1-6) wiped out a 17-point second-half lead by the Mustangs to nearly claw back and win the game.
It was Midkota’s (4-1) first action in three weeks, and the rust was evident as the Rebels used a 15-2 run that started late in the third period to cut Midkota’s lead to just 43-39 with 5:29 left in the fourth period.
Midkota, with a lineup still riddled with underclassmen, finished third at last year’s tourney and entered this year’s tournament as the No. 3 seed.
“We’ve had some of these girls playing varsity the last few years, and the expectations they’re placing on themselves might be a bit too high,” Frappier said. “We have to settle down and just play.
“We had four freshmen on the floor at times tonight, and we were rusty at times.”
P-B-K’s floor leader, junior guard Kelly Carlson, sank one of her four three-pointers in the game to cap the Rebels’ run. Carlson hit another trey in the period and a three-pointer by Morgan Thomas with 1:25 left cut Midkota’s advantage to just one point at 51-50.
Carlson finished the night with a game-high 23 points.
But four unanswered points by Midkota freshman Callie Harding — two of which came at the bonus line — sealed up the win for the Mustangs over the final minute of play.
Midkota freshman forward Shaye Ronningen had a big second half to keep Midkota around. Ronningen sank 12 of her team-high 18 points after the break and also recorded seven rebounds and three assists.
The Mustangs led 13-10 after one and extended their lead to 32-20 at the break behind nine points from freshman Caitlinn Harding in the period.
To break the trend of the evening, the Mustangs and the Rebels combined for just 13 turnovers in the game and both teams shot well over 40 percent.
Midkota faces Ellendale in tonight’s semifinals.
“Tomorrow we’re the underdogs. Maybe that will help us,” Frappier said. “They know us pretty well and we know them. If we come out and play relaxed it should be a pretty good game.”
Turn to Page B2 of The Sun for the boxscores from the opening round of the Stutsman County Tournament.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com