Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier began the Class B girls basketball season knowing it would be without one of the state's best players.
There'd be no relying on senior Katie Entzi's per-game averages of 17.9 points and 9.6 rebounds, after the Edgeley career-record holder in points (1,590) and boards (885) suffered a torn ACL during the high school volleyball season on Sept. 29.
It would take an entire team effort for E-K-M to produce a winning regular season (10-9), and the Rebels continued that theme on Friday, Feb. 8, at the Jamestown Civic Center.
E-K-M had three players contribute to a game-changing 7-0 run in the fourth quarter against Midkota to open the District 5 girls basketball tournament. Senior guard Payton Brandenburg kicked off the spurt with a 3-pointer from the right wing with less than 3 minutes to play, and the Rebels advanced 41-34 over the Mustangs.
E-K-M will play seventh-ranked Carrington (16-2) in Saturday's semifinals at 6 p.m. Midkota (4-14) will play in a Region 3 tournament qualifier on Monday at 4:30.
"It has to be a whole team. Katie was a lot," said Brandenburg, who has led E-K-M in scoring this winter with 10.7 points per contest. "It's been an adjustment but we're working with it."
After Brandenburg's dagger broke a 32-32 tie with 2:46 remaining on the game clock, senior forward Bailey Anderson and junior forward Maren Berntson put the contest out of reach with back-to-back buckets in the lane. Berntson's 13 points led all scoring, while Brandenburg finished with 12 points.
Anderson (6-foot) and Berntson (5-11) have combined to produce nearly identical rebounding numbers this winter. Berntson grabbed a team-high six boards to give her 115 on the season, while Anderson has corralled 118 total rebounds in Entzi's absence.
"If you look at our statistics, we've got a little of everything," said E-K-M coach and Katie's father, Rory Entzi. "We've got several girls rebounding and several girls scoring. It's not one girl blowing you off the charts with 20 points per game, it's like 10, and 8, and 8.
"With 4 minutes left I wasn't real sure what was going to happen. But we have three or four seniors that just needed to step up and they did."
A late first-half 3-pointer scored by E-K-M senior Avarie Carlson helped the Rebels produce a 19-13 lead at the intermission. But Midkota's Brenna Anderson and Tara Otto each answered from beyond the arc in the third, helping the Mustangs take over by as many as four at 25-21.
After going 0 of 5 from the field in the first half, Brandenburg finally got it going offensively to end quarter No. 3. The senior buried a 3 and scored five straight to give the Rebels a 26-25 advantage heading into the fourth.
"We were stuck offensively in the beginning, so it was really just knowing what we were doing and looking for the good shots to take," Brandenburg said. "Our defense was there, it was mainly offense we had to work on."
Rebounding will arguably have to be more of a priority in the semifinals against Carrington. Midkota outrebounded E-K-M 27-20 and beat the Rebels 11-3 on second-chance points. Freshmen Emma Kollman and Hunter Petersen each finished with 8 points to pace the Midkota offense.
"I think in every game you emphasize certain things and maybe we should've emphasized rebounding more in this game than we did," coach Entzi said. "We just can't get pushed off our spots, and we've just got to hold our own and make an effort."
Carrington defeated E-K-M in a low-scoring, 41-28, affair in Carrington on Jan. 25. Brandenburg said getting out to defend the perimeter will be key.
"Offense will come from defense," Brandenburg said. "Mainly get outside on their 3-pointers. They've got good 3-point shooters."
Oakes, LLM advance
Oakes and LaMoure-Litchville-Marion will clash in Saturday night's second semifinal beginning at 7:30. Oakes defeated Barnes County North 66-52 and L-L-M got past Ellendale 38-30 during Friday's quarterfinals.
Oakes' Sadie Hansen and Nicole Schmitz were just too much for the Bison. Hansen erupted for 31 points and 10 rebounds, while Schmitz produced 21 points and eight boards. The Bison, who will play Ellendale on Saturday at 4:30 in a loser-out contest, were led by Ashley McFadgen's 18 points and eight rebounds.
L-L-M junior guard Ellie Holen's 15 points and eight steals helped the Loboes hold off the Cardinals by 8 points. Ellendale's Katelyn Dathe just missed a double-double, finishing with team highs of 11 points and nine rebounds.
District 5 Girls Basketball Tournament
Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 41, Midkota 34
MID 8 5 12 9 -- 34
EKM 7 12 7 15 -- 41
MID-Hunter Petersen 8, Emma Kollman 8, Brenna Grandalen 7, Brenna Anderson 6, Tara Otto 3, Nicole Beckley 2. Totals: 12-39 FG, 3-9 3-pointers (Anderson, Grandalen, Otto), 27 Rebounds (Otto 8), 14 Fouls, 4 Assists, 20 Turnovers, 6 Steals.
EKM-Maren Berntson 13, Payton Brandenburg 12, Bailey Anderson 8, Avarie Carlson 5, Jocelyn Madcke 3. Totals: 15-35 FG, 3-11 3-pointers (Brandenburg 2, Carlson), 8-15 FT, 20 Rebounds (Brandenburg 5), 9 Fouls, 10 Assists (Carlson 6), 18 Turnovers, 2 Blocks, 9 Steals (Carlson 4, Madcke 3).
Records: EKM 11-9. MID 4-14.
Oakes 66, Barnes County North 52
BCN 6 14 13 19 -- 52
OAK 18 21 17 19 -- 66
BCN-Ashley McFadgen 18, Bailey Soupir 14, Claire Wieland 11, Courtnie Fick 9. Totals: 21-60 FG, 8-25 3-pointers (McFadgen 4, Fick 3, Wieland), 2-4 FT, 30 Rebounds (Wieland 8, McFadgen 8), 13 Fouls, 2 Assists, 17 Turnovers, 10 Steals (Kenra Greshik 3, McFadgen 3).
OAK-Sadie Hansen 31, Nicole Schmitz 21, Jaida Seyer 8, Laikyn Roney 4, Lynsey Schmitz 2. Totals: 26-64 FG, 3-14 3-pointers (Hansen 2, Roney), 11-14 FT, 40 Rebounds (Hansen 10), 11 Fouls, 12 Assists (Hansen 3), 14 Turnovers, 1 Block, 13 Steals (Claire Wagner 5).
Records: OAK 16-4. BCN 4-14.
LaMoure-Litchville-Marion 38, Ellendale 30
ELL 10 4 4 12 -- 30
LLM 11 16 5 6 -- 38
ELL-Katelyn Dathe 11, Morgan Barton 7, Calli Hauck 6, Kiley Larson 4, Abigail Peterson 2. Totals: 10-36 FG, 2-7 3-pointers (Barton, Larson), 8-11 FT, 28 Rebounds (Dathe 9), 15 Fouls, 5 Assists, 20 Turnovers, 2 Blocks, 8 Steals.
LLM-Ellie Holen 15, Olivia Bliss 6, Molly Musland 6, Allie Hebl 4, Alyssa Ragan 4, Kaylynn Siedschlag 3. Totals: 15-46 FG, 2-13 3-pointers (Siedschlag, Holen), 6-7 FT, 32 Rebounds (Ragan 8), 10 Fouls, 3 Assists, 15 Turnovers, 1 Block, 11 Steals (Holen 8).
Records: LLM 16-4. ELL 6-13.