Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier's Jocelynn Madcke said the Rebels tried to keep it light playing for their season lives Monday at the Jamestown Civic Center.
The strategy worked. A focused squad of Rebels qualified for next Monday's Region 3 tournament with a 45-31 victory over Ellendale in the semifinals of the District 5 girls basketball tournament. EKM will play No. 5-ranked Kidder County in the regional quarterfinals back at the Civic Center at 6 p.m.
"Just have fun, play our hardest and go after every ball," Madcke said of EKM's mindset against the Cardinals.
A stifling third period defensively by the Rebels made the difference. EKM limited Ellendale to just a Sarah Young 3-pointer in the frame, as the Rebels increased a 22-15 halftime lead to 32-18 after three quarters. Madcke led the Rebels scoring nine points, converting 7 of 13 shots at the foul line.
Madcke explained EKM coach Rory Entzi's halftime speech helped set the tone defensively in the second half.
"He said we can't let them set their feet set," Madcke said. "Just keep working hard on defense and keep our hands up."
A Calli Hauck 3-pointer helped Ellendale get to within eight points at 36-28 with 3 minutes, 40 seconds to play, but the Cards were unable to reach the 32 points that the Rebels had already rung up after their 10-3 third-quarter run.
Ellendale converted 10 of 35 from the field and was led by Hauck's 11 points.
EKM has a tough draw Monday against the defending Region 3 champion Kidder County Wolves. KC soared past the Rebels 67-18 on Dec. 20 and ended EKM's season last year in the regional quarterfinals, 68-40.
"We're going to have to slow our offense down and just be smart," Madcke said. "Just like coach told us. We have to be mentally tough and be ready to play defense."
District 5 Girls Basketball Tournament
Region 3 qualifier
Edgeley/Kulm/Montpelier 45, Ellendale 31
ELL 8 7 3 13 -- 31
EKM 13 9 10 13 -- 31
ELL -- Calli Hauck 11, Sarah Young 9, Kali Norton 4, Taylor Krege 3, Chloe Bollinger 2, Jada Henningson 2. Totals: 10-35 FG, 3-8 3-pointers (Young 2, Hauck), 8-13 FT, 24 Rebounds (Norton 6), 19 Fouls, 2 Assists, 17 Turnovers, 5 Steals (Henningson 2).
EKM -- Jocelynn Madcke 9, Emily Kinzler 8, Kiara Jangula 8, Jacy Entzi 6, Keyana Musland 4, Maren Berntson 4, Norah Entzi 4, Mataeya Mathern 2. Totals: 16-40 FG, 1-6 3-pointers (N. Entzi), 12-21 FT, 26 Rebounds (Kinzler 7), 10 Assists (Berntson 3, N. Entzi 3), 11 Turnovers, 6 Blocks (Berntsrom 4), 8 Steals (Kinzler 3).
Records: EKM 11-11. Ellendale 6-16.
District 5 Awards
All-District Team: Addison Hoornaert, Carrington; Kiera Eli, Carrington; Hannah Hagel, Carrington; Nicole Schmitz, Oakes; Sadie Hansen, Oakes; Maren Berntson, EKM; Brenna Anderson; Midkota; Hunter Petersen, Midkota; Ellie Holen, LaMoure/LM; Molly Musland, LaMoure/LM; Kaylynn Siedschlag, LaMoure/LM.
Senior Athlete of the Year: Ellie Holen, LaMoure/LM.
Coach of the Year: Andy Braaten, Carrington.
Athletic Director of the Year: Shari Christenson, Oakes.
Region 3 Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
G1: LaMoure/LM vs. Strasburg/Zeeland, 3 p.m.
G2: Medina/PB vs. Oakes, 4:30 p.m.
G3: Kidder Co. vs. Edgeley/KM, 6 p.m.
G4: Carrington vs. Linton/HMB, 7:30 p.m.
G5: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2, 6 p.m.
G6: Winner G3 vs. Winner G4, 7:30 p.m.
G7: Loser G5 vs. Loser G6, 6 p.m.
G6: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6, 7:30 p.m.