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PAIGE PETERSON: Jamestown’s first Miss Basketball

The third time was a charm for Jamestown High School and senior center Paige Peterson.

Peterson, the third-ever Jamestown girl to be named a Miss Basketball finalist, was a runaway winner of the award, presented annually to the best senior in the state in voting by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Peterson, a traditional 6-foot-1 center whose strength was her inside play, received 12 first-place votes and 80 points in the voting. It was presented to her Saturday night at the conclusion of the Class B state girls basketball tournament.

She’s the first Miss Basketball in school history. Previous Jamestown finalists were Morgan Dale in 2009 and Kyra Dewald in 2013. Jamestown also has one Mr. Basketball winner — Brian Flam in 1987.

Peterson will play college basketball at Augustana (S.D.) in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

“It’s been my goal since fifth grade, that I wanted (Miss Basketball) in my senior year,” Peterson said. “There’s a lot of good players, I was just excited when I heard I was a finalist.”

Jamestown coach Andy Skunberg said Peterson was a throwback to the dominating inside post.

“She commanded a lot of attention inside,” Skunberg said. “Whenever she touched the ball, there was always a couple of girls on her. She did a good job finding other girls and posted up big inside.”

She came up biggest against Mandan when she notched a career-high 34 points and 20 rebounds at home. She led the West Region in scoring (19.2) and rebounding (14.2).

“I usually go down low end to end getting rebounds and doing the dirty work,” Peterson said. “I like playing outside, I just don’t get the opportunity to do that much.”

Peterson had 21 double-doubles in 24 games while leading the Blue Jays to their second straight Class A state tournament.

“My major goal was getting to state,” Peterson added. “After state was over, it came across my mind that it would be nice if I won it.”

Other finalists were Central Cass center Faith Dooley, Thompson post Shannon Galegher, Bismarck forward Keisha Engelhardt and West Fargo guard-forward Cassidy Thorson.

Dooley, a 6-3 center, averaged 21 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.1 blocked shots. She received four first-place votes and 46 points.

Galegher, a 5-10 post, averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds. She received 25 points.

Engelhardt, a 5-9 forward, averaged 17.9 points and 10.8 rebounds. She received one first-place vote and 21 points.

Thorson, a 5-11, forward, averaged 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. She received five points in the voting.