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Shanley girls reach title game with win over Century

Shanley's Emily Dietz (32) looks to the hoop while Century's Regan Dennis (33) attempts a block in a semi-final round game of the State Class A Girls basketball tournament on Friday afternoon. In back is Shanley's Hadley Huber (3). Tom Stomme / Bismarck Tribune1 / 3
Shanley's Emily Dietz (32) watches as teammate Reile Payne (5) puts up a shot in the Deacons' semifinal game against Century on Friday afternoon. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune2 / 3
Kari Dew celebrates at the final buzzer as Shanley wins a semi-final round game in the State Class A Girls Basketball Tournament on Friday afternoon in the Bismarck Events Center. Dew has a daughter Brookelyn Dew playing for the Deacons. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune3 / 3

BISMARCK—Fargo Shanley freshman Reile Payne knew the Deacons were likely to run into Bismarck Century on the way to what they hope is a fourth straight state title. Unlike the last two years, that day was Friday in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A state girls basketball tournament.

Payne scored 19 points to lead the three-time defending champions to a 70-65 win over Bismarck Century, the team they beat in the last two state title games.

"We didn't care when we met them," Payne said. "We came into this game with a lot of heart because we wanted to get back where we were and go for the four-peat."

The Deacons (21-5) won their 12th straight state tournament game through a steady march to the free-throw line. They got the Patriots (21-5) in early foul trouble in the second half and went 19-for-29 from the line in the half and made 23 of 34 free throws in the game.

Shanley was in the bonus the last 12 minutes of the game and the two-shot bonus the last eight.

Century was 8-for-11 from the line.

"We just attacked them," Payne said. "That's our goal, it helps us when we attack."

With Shanley advancing to the title game, it means either Century of Shanley have played in the last eight championship games. The two perennial contenders played to a near draw in the first half that featured seven lead changes and six ties. Neither team led by more than three points.

Emily Dietz scored all eight of her first-half points in the last 5:28 to help the Deacons to a 32-31 lead.

Dietz was one of six scorers for Shanley, five of which reached double figures. Ciara Berg had 13 points, Emily Dietz 12, Julia Vetter 11 and Hadley Huber 10.

Hannah Schwartz's jumper with one second left in the half got Century with one. She had a team-high seven points at the break.

Maddie Klein's jumper for Century with 14:45 left pulled the Patriots within 36-35. But Shanley scored nine of the next 10 points and went into the bonus. From there, the lead varied between five and 10 points the rest of the way.

Lauren Ware led Century with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots. Regan Dennis had 15, Klein 11 and Schwartz 10.

The Deacons play for their 10th state championship Saturday night. With a win, they would tie Mandan for the most state Class A titles.

BC: Selensky 4, Schwartz 10, Klein 11, Ware 17, Dennis 15, Kepline 8.

FS: Berg 13, Huber 10, Payne 19, Vetter 11, Dew 5, Dietz 12.

Halftime: Shanley 32, Century 31.