Midkota upsets Carrington in Region 4 tourney semifinalsThere’s normally one defining moment in every game, where the momentum swings for the final time and everyone in the gymnasium knows it.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — There’s normally one defining moment in every game, where the momentum swings for the final time and everyone in the gymnasium knows it.
With just one shot Midkota sophomore guard Callie Harding swung the hammer that struck the nail home, helping the Mustangs of Midkota pull off the unthinkable during semifinal night of the Region 4 Girls’ Basketball Tournament at the Devils Lake Sports Center on Tuesday night.
A mere 23 seconds after Carrington’s 6-foot-1 and second team allstate center Emily Thompson fouled out of the game in the fourth period, Harding — listed at a generous 5-5 in the program — buried an enormous threepointer from the right wing, handing the Mustangs their first lead (45-44) since the opening seconds of the game.
The shot came with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining and Midkota led the rest of the way, derailing the No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Carrington Cardinals by the final of 49-46.
“I was just trying to put us in the lead and help our team out as much as I could,” Harding said. “There’s no feeling like this. It feels like we just won state.”
The fact that Midkota was even in position to win the ball game in the final period was a bit puzzling. The Mustangs struggled mightily from the field in the first half, which included missing three straight bunnies in the paint in the second period, and converted just 8 of 31 buckets for 26 percent in the opening 16 minutes.
Midkota trailed Carrington 29-20 at the break, behind 14 of Thompson’s game-high 23 points. The Cardinals were shooting 62 percent (12 of 21) as they went into the locker room.
“We talked about it at halftime. We said, ‘Guys, if we make those layups and easy shots we’re p r o b a b l y ahead,’” Midkota coach Kyle Frappier said. “It was just a matter of we had nothing to lose.
“They’re the defending state champions. Let’s go out and play, relax and get those shots and try to take advantage of some of those opportunities that we have down in the post with Shaye (Ronningen) and Emily (Berge).”
Ronningen, a 5-10 sophomore, and Berge, a 5-8 junior, both had monster games for the Mustangs. The duo combined for 21 of Midkota’s 29 points in the second half, with Ronningen finishing with 20 points and Berge ending with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 5 steals.
Meanwhile, Carrington couldn’t buy a bucket after a blistering first two periods. Carrington clanked 23 of 29 field goals over the final 16 minutes, and ended the game converting just 2 of 17 attempts from three-point land.
The Cardinals did extend their halftime lead to a game-high 14 points in the third (39-25), behind seven more points from Thompson. But Midkota ended the quarter on a 9-3 run, capped by a Ronningen three-pointer with five seconds left to cut the deficit to 42-34 to start the fourth.
“Our shooting percentage was down, especially in the second half,” Carrington coach Andy Braaten said. “That’s high school sports. When you’ve got a team down by 14, you’ve got to make it 15, 16 and you’ve just got to keep on rolling. We couldn’t get the job done.”
The Mustangs rallied for eight straight points to start the final eight minutes, knotting the score at 42-42. Thompson was able to put the Cards back on top with another twopointer, but shortly thereafter she picked up her fifth foul (3:32) and Harding’s deep dagger followed.
Midkota outscored the Cards 14-4 in the final quarter.
“We told (Harding) in transition if she had an opportunity to shoot the three, shoot it because that might be the only open opportunity you get. And, she drained it,” Frappier said. “But the girls’ defensive effort was just so good. That’s what won the game for us and I’m really, really happy with that.”
The last time the Mustangs and the Cardinals met up — in Binford back on Feb. 2 — the story was much different. Carrington senior guard Becca Scherr drilled six threepointers and scored 24 points to help the Cards win handily, 73-44.
On Tuesday night, Scherr went 1 of 7 from behind the arc and finished with seven points. Midkota also held Carrington’s athletic Sierra Rosenau to just two.
“We knew we had to forget about the first game, because we didn’t play our game,” Shaye Ronningen said. “We just had to come out and take it to them.”
“Credit Midkota,” Braaten said. “They were patient and hit the boards pretty well. They got a lot of second opportunities and hit the big shots at the end.”
The Mustangs (20-3) will now face Lakota-Adams-Edmore (20-4) on Thursday with a trip to the state Class B tournament hanging in the balance, and if history has any say in the matter the Mustangs could be in good shape.
Back in November, Midkota took down the defending state champs on the volleyball court in the semifinals of the Region 4 tourney. The next night, they punched their ticket to state by defeating none other than Carrington in the title tilt.
“I said, ‘I hate to burst your balloon, but we still have one more game left,’” Frappier said. “This is kind of the same route they took in volleyball. They took down the defending state champion in Langdon in the semifinals, and then they bounced back the next night against Carrington. So, Thursday night we’re hoping they bounce back.
“If they play like they did tonight and defend like they did tonight, we’ll be a handful for anybody.”
Lakota-A-E 62, North Star 56
Lakota-Adams-Edmore 5-11 freshman center Fallyn Freije was nearly unstoppable in the second semifinal game vs. the North Star Bearcats.
Freije lit up the net for 24 points and pulled in 13 rebounds, as her doubledouble lifted the Raiders over the Bearcats by six points.
Kelsey Teubner and Alexandra Heisler paced North Star with 16 and 15 points, respectively. North Star will face Carrington in the third-place game at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Region 4 Girls’ Basketball Tournament At Devils Lake Sports Center Tuesday’s semifinals Midkota 49, Carrington 46 Midkota 8 20 34 49 Carrington 13 29 42 46
Midkota — Shaye Ronningen 20, Emily Berge 17, Callie Harding 8, Kallie Frappier 4.Totals: 19-52 FG, 8-10 FT, 11 Fouls, 33 Rebounds (Berge 11), 5 Assists (Frappier 2), 18 Turnovers, 11 Steals (Berge 5). Three-pointers: (3-9) Harding 2, Ronningen. Carrington — Emily Thompson 23, Becca Scherr 7, Kayla Hochhalter 5, Breana Barton 4, Hannah Lipetzky 4, Sierra Rosenau 2, Nikki Braaten 1. Totals: 19-50 FG, 6-10 FT, 13 Fouls (Thompson 5), 33 Rebounds (Scherr 7), 10 Assists (Rosenau 3), 21 Turnovers, 10 Steals (Rosenau 5). Three-pointers: (2-17) Hochhalter, Scherr.
Records: Midkota 20-3; Carrington 21-2.
Lakota-Adams-Edmore 62, North Star 56 North Star 12 31 37 56 Lakota-A-E 22 35 50 62
North Star — Kelsey Teubner 16, Alexandra Heisler 15, Morgan Peters 8, Jessica Teubner 6, Sarah Hagler 6, Megan Gowan 4, Jenifer Swanson 1. Totals: 18-50 FG, 20-26 FT, 19 Fouls (Heisler 5, J. Teubner 5), 28 Rebounds (J. Teubner 7, Peters 7), 3 Assists (Peters 2), 23 Turnovers, 9 Steals (Heisler 3, Peters 3). Threepointers: (0-3).
Lakota-A-E — Fallyn Freije 24, Erica Anderson 12, Holli Lee 9, Ashtin Freije 6, Mary Haman 4, Katie Hoime 4, Raevyn Pesek 3. Totals: 24-50 FG, 13-18 FT, 22 Fouls (A. Freije 5), 33 Rebounds (F. Freije 13), 15 Assists (A. Freije 4), 22 Turnovers, 1 Block (F. Freije), 13 Steals (Haman 6).Three-pointers: (1-9) Anderson. Records: Lakota-A-E 20-4; North Star 18-5.