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Thunder top BCN for third

Medina-Pingree/Buchanan's Lindsey Saxberg looks to shoot as Barnes County North's Samantha Wieland applies pressure Monday during the District 5 tournament in Ellendale, N.D.(John M. Steiner / The Sun)

ELLENDALE, N.D. — The last time the Medina-Pingree-Buchanan and Barnes County North girls met on the court, the game was decided in overtime.

Overtime wasn’t needed on Monday night.

M-P-B senior Courtney Heupel scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the first half, helping the Thunder top the Bison 58-28 in the third-place game of the District 5 tournament.

“They just played loose tonight,” Thunder coach Cory Mack said of his team. “Saturday night they were tight, and the score I think showed it. This is what we expected Saturday night out of them.”

The Thunder survived loser-out play on Saturday with a 44-36 victory over Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier.

On Monday, what could go wrong did go wrong for the Bison, and it started early against an aggressive Thunder defensive attack. BCN went just 4-of-23 from the field and turned the ball over 22 times in the opening 16 minutes, as M-P-B forged ahead 32-10 at the half.

“I think we had them shook, and that’s what we wanted,” Mack said. “We wanted a fast-pace game, because that’s where we get it going.”

BCN immediately started the second half with turnover No. 23, and the Thunder led by as many as 33 points. The most glaring item on the stat sheet was the Thunder scoring 33 of their 58 points off 35 BCN turnovers.

“They are a very aggressive team defensively,” BCN coach Brett Thielges said of the Thunder. “But I was more disappointed in us because I didn’t think we should have had that many issues with it. We have to be able to be in the game both mentally and physically, and if we’re not that’s what’s going to happen.”

Both teams are heading to next week’s Region 3 tournament, which starts Monday in Hazelton. Medina-P-B (13-9) faced Kidder County (17-4) in the second quarterfinal game on Monday.

“Anything can happen once you get there, and we’ll prepare for whoever we have to play,” Mack said.

BCN (6-16) will square off against South Border (14-7) in quarterfinal game No. 3.

“That’s probably the one thing that we’re at least excited about. Making the regional tournament is big not only for our seniors but for our younger girls to get that experience,” Thielges said. “If you’re not excited about making the regional tournament, you shouldn’t be playing the game of basketball.”

District 5 Girls Basketball Tournament

At Ellendale High School

Third place

No. 3 Medina-Pingree-Buchanan 58,

 No. 5 Barnes County North 28

Medina-P-B             7       32      45      58

Barnes Co. North     2       10      22      28

Medina-P-B — Courtney Heupel 14, Jordan Thomas 9, Jenna VanRay 8, Jaycee Moldenhauer 8, Morgan Thomas 7, Lindsey Saxberg 4, Brooke Krapp 4, Madi Moldenhauer 4. Totals: 20-57 FG, 16-28 FT, 34 Rebounds (VanRay 6, M. Thomas 6), 15 Fouls, 6 Assists (Saxberg 3), 20 Turnovers, 18 Steals (J. Moldenhauer 5, VanRay 4). 3-pointers: 2-7 (Heupel 1, M. Thomas 1.

Barnes Co. North — Kayla Scott 6, Hannah Willson 4, Tess Scott 4, Jayda Haugen 4, Sam Wieland 3, Kayla Erker 3, Calby Hanson 2, Abigail Undem 2. Totals: 12-44 FG, 3-10 FT, 31 Rebounds (Wieland 6), 19 Fouls, 3 assists (Haugen 2), 35 Turnovers, 9 Blocks (Scott 5), 9 Steals (Hanson 3). 3-pointers: 1-6 (Erker 1).

Records: Medina-P-B 13-9; Barnes Co. North 6-16.

Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at