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Loboes edge Cards for D5 title

LaMoure-Litchville/Marion's Tasha Piehl prepares to jump as Ellendale's Rachel Herman guards Monday during the District 5 tournament in Ellendale, N.D. (John M. Steiner / The Sun)

ELLENDALE, N.D. — It was clear it was LaMoure-Litchville-Marion’s night when Tasha Piehl’s missed bonus shot found the hands of teammate Jacey Alber with less than 15 seconds left to play in the District 5 girls basketball title game here on Monday.

Clinging to a two-point 43-41 lead against Ellendale, Alber’s 12th rebound of the game gave Piehl the chance she needed to put the game away for good.

The Loboes got the ball back to the senior guard, where she was fouled and was sent to the line with 10.3 seconds remaining. This time Piehl was money, draining both free throws to help LaMoure-L-M claim the crown 45-41.

Piehl led three players in double figures with a game-high 13 points.

“It was nerve-racking,” Piehl said, “but I was glad I was able to redeem myself and we were able to ice the game.”

The Loboes held on after the Cardinals erased a 19-point, third quarter L-L-M lead. Trailing 39-20 with 3 minutes, 28 seconds left in the third, Ellendale came charging back to life, rifling off a 17-0 run to cut the deficit to just two points at 39-37 with 4:47 left to play.

“We know they’re a good offensive team. We knew they were going to score, it was just a matter of time,” LaMoure-L-M coach Mitch Carlson said. “We sort of tightened up offensively in that stretch there. It’s not that we did anything bad, it’s just they’re a good shooting team.”

The Loboes finally put some points on the scoreboard with a pair of Courtney Carlson free throws with 4:36 remaining. That put the lead back to four at 41-37, and three critical turnovers by the Cardinals sunk Ellendale’s hopes of winning its fourth district title in five years.

“You can’t just look at what happened in the last minute, but yeah it hurts,” Ellendale coach Matt Herman said. “They couldn’t miss and we couldn’t buy a bucket in the first half or the third (quarter).”

LaMoure-L-M did just enough in the final period, winning despite making just one field goal and going 4-of-8 at the free-throw line over the final eight minutes.

“You could tell the kids were a little nervous … but they came through in the clutch,” Carlson said. “When the chips were down, the girls came through — defensively and making some big free throws at the end.

“To hold Ellendale to 41 is a great tribute to our girls.”

Ellendale sharpshooters Madilyn Bommersbach and Dacey Fuller were held to just 2-of-9 and 2-of-5 from 3-point range, respectively, on their home court. Isabel Wedell and Shayna Mertz paced the Cardinals with 11 points each.

“I was kind of hoping we’d move the tournament, because all of our losses this year are at home,” Herman said. “But it’s a whole new season next week.”

The Loboes and the Cardinals now roll on to the Region 3 tournament, which begins Monday in Hazelton. L-L-M (15-6) faces Linton-HMB (12-10) in the first quarterfinal game of the tournament, while Ellendale (17-4) takes on Napoleon-G-S (10-11) in the final game of the day.

District 5 Girls Basketball Tournament

At Ellendale High School


No. 1 LaMoure-Litchville-Marion 45,

 No. 2 Ellendale 41

LaMoure-L-M 14      29      39      45

Ellendale         6       16      28      41

LaMoure-L-M — Tasha Piehl 13, Courtney Carlson 12, Anna Holen 10, Jacey Alber 5, Tanys Ulmer 4, Kennedy Witt 1. Totals: 16-35 FG, 8-16 FT, 30 Rebounds (Alber 12), 13 Fouls, 2 Assists (Carlson 2), 15 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (Alber 2), 5 Steals (Carlson 2). 3-pointers: 5-10 (Piehl 3, Holen 1, Carlson 1.

Ellendale — Isabel Wedell 11, Shayna Mertz 11, Madilyn Bommersbach 7, Dacey Fuller 6, KaLee Hack 4, Rachel Herman 2. Totals: 15-47 FG, 7-12 FT, 28 Rebounds (Mertz 7), 15 Fouls (Herman), 7 Assists (Fuller 3), 8 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (Herman 3). 3-pointers: 4-18 (Bommersbach 2, Fuller 2).

Records: LaMoure-L-M 15-6; Ellendale 17-4.

Tournament Awards

All-District Team

Kelsey Feist, E-K-M; Calby Hanson, BCN; Jacey Alber, Courtney Carlson, Tasha Piehl, L-L-M; Morgan Thomas, M-P-B; Rachel Herman, Madi Bommersbach, Isabel Wedell, Shayna Mertz, Ellendale.

Coach of the Year (tie): Cory Mack, M-P-B; Mitch Carlson, L-L-M.

District 5 Senior Athlete of the Year: Shayna Mertz, Ellendale.

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