Legacy dethrones three-time Class A girls state champion Shanley
BISMARCK — Fargo Shanley has been the standard in North Dakota Class A girls basketball in recent history. This year, the Deacons ran out of time to complete a furious comeback that would have made them four-time state champions.
In just its second year as a varsity program, Bismarck Legacy dethroned three-time defending state champion Shanley with a 52-50 victory Saturday, March 11, at the Bismarck Event Center.
Legacy won its first championship.
"It's hard. We're used to winning," Shanley head coach Steve Jacobson said. "Second place is still pretty darn good I think."
Shanley (21-6) trailed by as much as 13 points near the midway point of the second half. That's when the Deacons began showing the heart of the champion when they scored six points, four coming from Reile Payne, within about 25 seconds to get Shanley within three.
Payne, a freshman guard, scored nine of her team-high 16 points in Shanley's 13-1 run over the course of four minutes that gave the Deacons a one-point lead with about 1:30 to go.
"We just knew we had to protect the ball because they were quick," Payne said. "We just weren't able to do it."
In the closing moments, Legacy (20-7) appeared to be the team with championship experience and scored six unanswered points — including a three-point play by Brita Feland — that gave the Sabers the lead for good.
The Sabers controlled the pace defensively and forced the Deacons into 31 turnovers and scored 24 points off those turnovers. The Deacons also scored 10 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds.
"They're posts got some looks because they're great players," Legacy head coach Jim Petrik said. "Give Shanley credit with the run they had. The kids they have are very talented. We knew it was going to be a dog fight."
Feland scored a team-high 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field with 10 rebounds. For the game, Shanley limited Legacy to shooting 18 of 60 (30 percent) and 3 of 18 (16.7 percent) from the 3-point line. Shanley ended the game shooting 20 of 56 (35.7 percent) from the floor.
North Dakota State commit Emily Dietz grabbed a game-high 22 rebounds and three blocks to go with six points. Dietz said the loss doesn't take away from what the Deacons accomplished. She said she's proud to leave the program in a good place now that her Deacons career is over.
"It's going to sting with all of us a little bit, especially with all the younger girls. They're going to come in next year and the years after this and want that revenge," Dietz said. "I don't think the Shanley legacy is over."
Jacobson, in his first year as head coach, said he reminded his team in the locker room after the game that life goes on. He added some didn't expect Shanley to get back to the state title game after the coaching change and with Dietz being the only returning starter.
"A two-point loss, it hurts," Jacobson said. "But we'll wake up and start over."
BL: Weigel 2, Schock 8, Thomas 9, Baumgartner 4, Mueller 3, Feland 17, Murphy 9.
FS: Berg 10, Huber 9, Payne 16, Vetter 6, Dew 3, Dietz 6.
Half: BL 20, FS 19.
Bismarck Century 68, Mandan 53
M: Harris 19, Assel 6, Zander 9, Leingang 2, Higlin 11, Olson 6.
BC: Selensky 5, Schwartz 3, Klein 8, Ware 16, Dennis 25, Keplin 11.
Half: BC 30, M 30.
Bismarck 78, Devils Lake 72
DL: Mertens 16, Johnson 3, Windjue 6, Vetsch 20, Palmer 4, Toso 2, Ziegler 18, Martinson 3.
B: Mosolf 10, Steckler 2, Haussler 5, Gillette 24, Davis 24, Henderson 7, Kerzman 6.
Half: B 41, DL 30.
Mercedes Baumgartner, Bismarck Legacy; Ashley Davis, Bismarck; Reile Payne, Fargo Shanley; Whitney Thomas, Bismarck Legacy; Kennedy Harris, Mandan; Tylee Irwin, Wahpeton. Unanimous selections: Emily Dietz, Fargo Shanley; Megan Zander, Mandan; Lauren Ware, Bismarck Century; Regan Dennis, Bismarck Century.
Class A senior athlete of the year: Tylee Irwin, Wahpeton
Class A coach of the year: Brian Watson, Wahpeton