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Late charge: West Fargo’s Thorson catches fire, as Class A beats Class B in overtime

BISMARCK — Recent West Fargo graduate Cassidy Thorson was merely a spear carrier for most of Tuesday’s Lions All-Star game at the Civic Center.

When duty called, however, Thorson, a 5-11 guard-forward, answered the call.

With Class A down 61-56 and a minute and one-half on the clock, Thorson took charge, eventually helping her team to a 79-68 overtime win.

She fired in a 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining in regulation time and she was on her way.

Thorson knotted the game at 61 with a pair of free throws with 46 seconds on the clock. And that’s the way it stood at the final buzzer. Class B missed a 3-pointer and turned the ball over once and Class A missed its only shot down the stretch.

In the 5-minute overtime, Thorson became even more of a force.

A pair of free throws by Dierra Diegel of Valley City gave Class A a 63-61 overtime advantage and then Thorson personally outscored Class B 9-3.

She traded 3-pointers with Karleigh Weber of Thompson to make it 66-64 and followed up with a trey and a 3-point play. When she had finished her blitz, Class A had a hefty 71-64 lead with 1:36 left of overtime.

“We did a good job of driving and kicking, which opened the 3-point shot,” Thorson said. “And we knocked the (3-point) shot down.”

Thorson said the closing rush that enabled Class A to tie the game at 61 worked to the large-school team’s advantage in the extra period.

“We knew it was coming down to crunch time and the momentum was on our side. We had to keep pushing and not let up,” she said.

Class A had the best of it in the first 20 minutes, opening a pair of nine-point leads and taking a 30-24 advantage into the break.

Class B drew even at 37 on a pair of free throws by Kennedy Henningsgard and from that point on the issue was in doubt. Two lead changes and three ties later the game was headed into overtime.

Thorson said when Class B went ahead 61-56 it became a must-win situation. She said she didn’t want to see the first-half lead go down the drain.

“We started pretty well and then we had a dry spell when we couldn’t score. I think we stopped communicating,” she said.

Both teams struggled offensively. Class A shot 30 percent from the field, including 10-for-31 from outside the arc, and 81 percent at the line. Class B hit just 29 percent from the field for the game and 61 percent on free throws. They were just 6-for-22 from long range.

Julie Stewart of Minot Ryan, the Class B girls coach, said Thorson had too much room to operate when she turned the game around.

“We just had to identify the shooters and contest the shots,” Stewart said.

Stewart said the shooting percentages could be traced to the fact that it was an all-star game.

“It takes a while to adjust to each other,” she said. “We had a much better flow in the second half, but we had some breakdowns defensively that allowed (Class A) to come back.”

Thorson took game-high scoring honors with 19 points. Keisha Engelhardt of Bismarck added 13 and Diegel tallied 11. Paige Peterson of Jamestown chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Weber led Class B scorers with 18 points. Henningsgard followed with 14 and Hailee Farstveet of Beach added 11.

The two teams play a rematch tonight in Fargo.

CLASS A (79): Paige Peterson 2-6 6-7 10, Keisha Engelhardt 3-9 5-7 13, Macy Lynch 3-12 1-2 9, Jen Benz 1-3 0-0 2, McKayla Howling Wolf 1-7 0-0 2, Cassidy Thorson 5-9 6-7 19, Kaitlin Langerud 0-3 0-0 0, Brook Hildre 1-4 0-0 2, Madison Walford 2-9 0-0 6, Lachelle Bumgarner 2-7 0-0 5, Kate Astrup 0-3 0-0 0, Dierra Diegel 4-7 3-3 1. Totals: 24-79 21-26 79.

CLASS B (68): Hailee Farstveet 2-5 7-8 11, Anika Rovig 0-5 0-0 0, Shannon Galegher 2-9 3-6 7, Gabby Wilkinson 2-9 2-2 6, Bailey Waldal 1-3 0-0 2, Allie Heisler 1-3 0-0 2, Karleigh Weber 7-13 2-3 18, Kennedy Henningsgard 4-13 2-2 14, Ashley Werner 0-5 0-2 0, Mattie Schmitt 2-5 0-3 4, Karlie Schroeder 2-2 0-0 4, Kayla Hochhalter 0-6 0-0 0. Totals: 23-78 16-26 68.

Halftime: Class A 30, Class B 24. Regulation: 61-61

3-pointers: Class A 10-31 (Thorson 3, Lynch 2, Engelhardt 2, Walford 2, Bumgarner 1); Class B 6-22 (Henningsgard 4, Weber 2). Rebounds: Class A 66 (Peterson 12, Diegel 8, Thorson 7); Class B 59 (Galegher 11, Schmitt 6, Farstveet 6). Fouls: Class A 20, Class B 22. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: Class A 22, Class B 20.

Records: Class A leads series 40-27.