Midkota repeats: Mustangs hand No. 3 Napoleon first lossMidkota’s Shaye Ronningen had a premonition that Monday night’s championship game of the Stutsman County Girls Basketball Tournament might be decided by a few simple shots.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Midkota’s Shaye Ronningen had a premonition that Monday night’s championship game of the Stutsman County Girls Basketball Tournament might be decided by a few simple shots.
So the 5-foot-10 junior standout did something about it.
“We could not afford to lose this game,” Ronningen said. “I went to the gym yesterday and I shot my free throws in case something like this would happen.”
Ronningen hit the first pair of 6 straight free-throws converted by the Mustangs in the final 56 seconds of the game, helping Midkota replace a 55-54 deficit to the No. 3-ranked Imperials with a 60-55 Midkota victory, en route to back-to-back Stutsman titles inside the Jamestown Civic Center.
The clutch free throws were a nice turnaround for Midkota, after the Mustangs went just 2-for-6 at the charity stipe in the final minute of Saturday’s semifinal game vs. Ellendale.
The Mustangs barely held on to win that one by the final of 57-55.
“Actually, every girl we put on the floor is a good free-throw shooter,” Midkota coach Kyle Frappier said. “We were a little frustrated the other night because we couldn’t hit one to save our life, but tonight when we needed them they were lights out like they normally would be at the end of the game, so we’re proud of them.”
The rematch of last year’s title game started out decent for the Mustangs. The team was able to handle Napoleon’s trademark full-court pressure at the start, taking a 14-9 lead after period No. 1 behind 6 points from both Ronningen and 5-8 forward Emily Berge.
Ronningen led the Mustangs with 18 points, while Berge finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Berge had a monster tournament, as she posted a double-double in each of the three games to finish the tourney with 48 points and 37 rebounds.
But Napoleon’s Kendra Weigel put her team on her back in the second period, breaking loose for all 12 points in 12-2 Imperial run to close out the half. Napoleon led 30-26 at the break, and it seemed as if the state-ranked Imperials had finally taken control of the game.
“We were trying to get to halftime,” Frappier laughed. “We were tired and we were trying to decide whether we should save timeouts for the second half or use one. We thought maybe could get to the half, and it almost cost us the game.”
Weigel finished with a game-high 19 points, and also led the Imperials with 7 assists and 4 steals.
“The pressure really started to bother them there in the second quarter. We got them to play our game,” Napoleon coach Darcy Lehr said. “The story of the second half is they were able to handle our pressure, they were able to run their stuff and they’re such a big team they’re a tough team to match up with inside.”
Ronningen knocked in 8 more points in the third, complemented by a Callie Harding 3-pointer, but Napoleon still held a slim 44-43 advantage at the end of three. Second team all-state performer Sheridon Dewald came to life for the Imperials in the quarter, drilling a trey of her own and scoring 9 of her 15 points in the game.
Dewald and Weigel — both 1,000-point scorers — however, were almost completely taken out of the game by the Mustangs over the final 8 minutes of play.
“We knew who was going to get the ball. We said if we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down with the other girls scoring and not those two,” Frappier said. “We cheated and we helped on them, we did everything we could to defend them.
“Give credit to our girls, they were tired too. We play five girls with a little bit of help off the bench, but they mustered it up at the end and defended well.”
Napoleon’s Kecia Ellison missed 3 field goal attempts late in the fourth, while Brianna Wolf had two open looks at the basket from 3-point range, and Weigel had another, in the final minute. But none found the mark, as Ronningen, Callie Harding and sophomore Brooke Ronningen combined to go a perfect 6-for-6 at the bonus line to close it out.
Weigel hit one trey in the fourth, while Dewald scored just one field goal.
“We got some good open looks there at the end, they just didn’t knock down,” Lehr said. “They were really trying to take away Kendra and Sheridon, so our other girls were looking to get a little offense there at the end … we just couldn’t hit one when it counted.”
Midkota ended the night going 15-for-18 from the line. Midkota defeated Napoleon 64-58 in last year’s title tilt.
“I think it’s a really good confidence builder,” Shaye Ronningen said. “It feels really good to win this tournament again.”
It marked the first loss of the season for the Imperials (6-1), but coach Lehr knows his team’s season is far from over.
“We win or lose this game, it wasn’t going to make or break our season. We knew Midkota’s a good team,” Lehr said. “It’s a great game for us to play. We don’t get to play a lot of big teams like this, and we’re just going to learn from it.
“We’re going to learn how we can establish our game when teams are still breaking and handling our pressure, so that’s what we need to do.”
After losing his daughter, senior forward Kallie Frappier, to a season-ending knee injury before the basketball season even started, coach Frappier was pleased with outcome of the tournament.
“With where we are at with losing Kallie and trying to march on with these five girls, it’s a big win for us,” Kyle Frappier said. “We’re going to use this as a stepping stone and we’ll see where it takes us.”
South Border 47, P-B-K 39
The Mustangs of South Border avenged an earlier loss to P-B-K this season by defeating the Rebels by 8 points in the Stutsman County tourney consolation championship game.
Junior Madison Schnabel posted a team-high 13 points and 8 rebounds to lead the Mustangs. P-B-K took the earlier contest between the two teams by a final of 29-27 way back on Dec. 15 during the Linton Shootout.
Eighth-grader Morgan Schnabel drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to help the Mustangs take an 11-6 advantage after one period. South Border would hold a 19-14 lead at the half, as P-B-K senior center Amanda Beckley sat the remaining 6 minutes, 12 seconds of the half with three fouls.
Beckley made an impact upon returning in the third, scoring 5 of her team-high 13 points during an 11-2 P-B-K run to help the Rebels take a 25-21 lead with just under 3 minutes left in the quarter. But the Mustangs closed out the period on a 6-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back 15-foot baseline jumpers by Madison Schnabel to lead 27-25 at the end of three.
P-B-K’s Morgan Thomas hit a pair of treys in the game and finished with 11 points.
Stutsman County Tournament
South Border 47, Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal 39
South Border 11 19 27 47
P-B-K 6 14 25 39
South Border — Madison Schnabel 13, Kalli Scherbenske 12, Morgan Schnabel 7, Blaire Schnabel 6, Raechelle Salzer 5, Olivia Weber 4. Totals: 18-40 FG, 10-22 FT, 28 rebounds (Madison Schnabel 8), 18 fouls (Salzer), 14 assists (3 with 3), 21 turnovers, 6 blocks (6 with 1), 10 steals (Weber 3, Scherbenske 3). 3-pointers: (1-4) Morgan Schnabel 1.
P-B-K — Amanda Beckley 13, Morgan Thomas 11, Jenna Van Ray 7, Lindsey Saxberg 4, Callie Neys 2, Shantel Albrecht 2. Totals: 14-37 FG, 9-25 FT, 33 rebounds (Beckely 7), 23 fouls (Jordan Thomas), 11 assists (Saxberg 3), 24 turnovers, 3 blocks (3 with 1), 14 steals (Neys 4). 3-pointers; (2-3) M. Thomas 2.
Records: South Border 3-4; P-B-K 3-5.
Midkota 60, Napoleon 55
Midkota 14 26 43 60
Napoleon 9 30 44 55
Midkota — Shaye Ronningen 18, Emily Berge 15, Callie Harding 11, Saddie Harding 10, Brooke Ronningen 6. Totals: 19-49 FT, 18-25 FT, 30 rebounds (Berge 10), 15 fouls, 16 assists (S. Harding 7), 17 turnovers, 2 blocks (Berge 1, S. Ronningen 1), 7 steals (C. Harding 3). Three-pointers: (4-15) C. Harding 3, S. Harding 1.
Napoleon — Kendra Weigel 19, Sheridon Dewald 15, Mariah Jangula 10, Mikayla Young 6, Brianna Wolf 4, Shania Gross 1. Totals: 20-47 FG, 12-17 FT, 33 rebounds (Weigel 7), 18 fouls, 16 assists (Weigel 7), 21 turnovers, 4 blocks (Jangula 2), 11 steals (Weigel 4). Three-pointers: (3-11) Dewald 1, Weigel 1, Wolf 1.
Records: Midkota 4-2; Napoleon 6-1.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com