Allie Hebl and LaMoure/Litchville-Marion found out three weeks ago the type of potential the Loboes could bring to the Class B girls basketball postseason.
Hebl unleashed a massively impressive 3-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation against the No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Kindred Vikings on Jan. 25 at the University of Jamestown's Harold Newman Arena. The shot forced overtime in a game eventually won by Kindred 64-61, but the Loboes didn't walk away empty-handed.
The belief that LLM could return to the Class B state tournament for a second time since 2015 was firmly instilled. The Loboes checked the first postseason box Friday at the Jamestown Civic Center, defeating Ellendale 70-32 in the opening round of the District 5 tournament.
LLM (15-5) will play Oakes (15-5) in today's (Saturday) semifinals at 7:30 p.m.
"I think that night for us was kind of a confidence builder," said Hebl, one of three LLM seniors along with all-state guard Ellie Holen and sharpshooter Kaylynn Siedschlag. "We knew that we had it in us, but that was just kind of proving that we could hang with any team in the state when we play how we can."
The Loboes shot 53% (27 of 51) against Ellendale and forced the Cards (5-15) into 27 turnovers, leading 37-15 at the half and winning the third quarter 25-7. That was the end of the night for LLM coach Mitch Carlson's regulars.
Siedschlag scored a game-high 18 points, while Holen ended with 11 points and four steals, and 5-foot-9 sophomore forward Molly Musland produced 13 points, three assists and three steals. The win was the Loboes' fifth straight, which includes victories over both fifth-ranked Kidder County and Oakes.
LLM is the defending District 5 tournament champion, but the Loboes lost last year's Region 3 title game in Jamestown to Kidder County by eight points.
"I think we've really just been hitting our stride," Hebl said. "I just really think that last year, obviously, how we ended, we kind of had a bitter taste in our mouth and we feel like we have some unfinished business.
"This whole postseason is what we've been waiting for."
LLM ended a string of three consecutive District 5 tournament championships won by top-seeded and seventh-ranked Carrington, who will play Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier in today's semifinals at 6 p.m. EKM defeated Midkota 46-38 in Friday's opening quarterfinal pairing.
Ellendale will need to snap an eight-game losing streak today against Midkota in order to keep its season alive. The Cardinals have lost twice this season to the Mustangs by no more than six points.
Oakes was playing Friday without standout senior Nicole Schmitz, who said she rolled an ankle earlier this week in practice but should be in uniform against the Loboes. The Tornadoes topped Barnes County North 63-19.
LLM ended Oakes' postseason run in the semifinals of last year's regional, 61-57, behind five second-half 3-pointers pushed through the hoop by Siedschlag.
"Just playing together as a team," said Hebl, when asked what keys will be needed moving forward. "When we're moving well and passing the ball well, everything is just kinda falling into place for us then. If we just focus on doing what we do, we're completely fine."
District 5 Girls Basketball Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier 46, Midkota 38
EKM 9 21 34 46
MID 10 17 28 38
EKM -- Maren Berntson 18, Jocelynn Madcke 15, Emily Kinzler 8, Norah Entzi 3, Kiara Jangula 2. Totals: 16 FG, 12-21 FT, 17 fouls. 3-pointers: Madcke 2.
MID -- Brenna Anderson 17, Emma Kollman 6, Tara Otto 6, Hunter Petersen 4, Nicole Beckley 2, Meanda Rickford 2, Josie Johnson 1. Totals: 15 FG, 5-14 FT, 21 fouls (Beckley). 3-pointers: Anderson 2, Kollman.
Records: EKM 10-10. MID 7-13.
(RV) LaMoure/Litchville-Marion 70, Ellendale 32
ELL 8 7 7 10 -- 32
LLM 20 17 25 8 -- 70
ELL -- Chloe Bollinger 6, Morgan Fischer 5, Jada Henningson 5, Kali Norton 5, Abby Peterson 3, Ella Miller 3, Calli Hauk 3, Sarah Young 2. Totals: 10-26 FG, 5-8 3-pointers (Bollinger 2, Fischer, Henningson, Miller), 7-12 FT, 20 Rebounds (Hauk 6), 9 Fouls, 27 Turnovers, 2 Steals.
LLM -- Kaylynn Siedschlag 18, Molly Mulsland 13, Ellie Holen 11, Rose Wendel 8, Natel Rodin 6, Allie Hebl 6, Mollie Robbins 5, Risa Rasmusson 3. Totals: 27-51 FG, 7-21 3-pointers (Wendel 2, Sidschlag 2, Robbins, Musland, Rasmusson), 9-9 FT, 18 Rebounds (Siedschlag 3, Musland 3), 14 Fouls, 10 Assists (Musland 3), 6 Turnovers, 1 Block (Holen), 11 Steals (Holen 4, Musland 3).
Records: LLM 15-5. ELL 5-15.
Oakes 63, Barnes County North 19
BCN 0 10 3 6 -- 19
OAK 21 14 16 12 -- 63
BCN -- Courtney Fick 5, Ashley Weiss 5, Kendra Greshik 4, Jayden Samek 3, Ashley McFadgen 2. Totals: 8 FG, 0-3 FT, 18 fouls (Fick). 3-pointers: Samek, Weiss, Fick.
OAK -- Sadie Hanson 18, Emma Muggli 8, Abby Cox 9, Claire Wagner 2, Allison Jepson 4, Jaida Seyer 7, Laikyn Roney 6, Tyler Thompson 2, CeCe Hoelscher 7. Totals: 21 FG, 17-26 FT, 8 fouls. 3-pointers: cox 2, Jepson, Hanson.
Records: Oakes 15-5. BCN 2-15.