Andy Braaten got his 400th career coaching win and has a chance to make it 401 tomorrow night.
The Carrington High School girls basketball team defeated Medina/Pingree-Buchanan 65-42 in game No. 3 of the opening round of the Region 3 girls basketball tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center. The Cardinals will take on Kidder County in Tuesday's semifinals at 7:30 p.m.
"It's a testament to the kids that we have had throughout the years. We've really had some great players," Braaten said on reaching the milestone. "The kids work hard, put time into the gym and it's fun to see their improvement every year. At the end of the season, these are sweet because we get to play another one."
A month and a half ago, Ryleigh Martin dished out a double-double that helped the Thunder to a 45-42 upset over Carrington in Pingree. MPB Freshman Allison Thomas scored five of her 11 in the fourth quarter in the tilt and recorded four steals and three assists.
Two days after a stellar performance against the Cards, Thomas, a three-year varsity team member suffered a torn ACL and meniscus that has sidelined her for the rest of her freshman season. It was a huge loss to the Thunder as Thomas was averaging around 18 points and seven steals per game. The freshman was also shooting more than 40% from beyond the arc.
The revenge game fell on Thomas's 15th birthday, and while Thomas wished she could ditch the crutches, the freshman was doing what she could from the bench to support her team.
"The Civic Center is my favorite place to play, so it's kind of sad to not be able to but it's fun to be here just to cheer though," Thomas said. "They think they just adapted without me really well and I am proud of them for doing that."
Unfortunately for the Thunder, the team didn't quite adapt enough Monday night.
Sydnie Grager put pressure inside, easily bypassing the Thunder's attempts at blocking her 5-foot-11 frame. Grager followed a deep 3 from Carrington's Lexus Page with a layup and a couple of foul shots to make it 7-0 Cardinals to start. Hannah Hagel extended the lead to nine before MPB's Gracie Gunderson snapped the streak with a foul shot.
"She really got some nice looks down low," Braaten said of Grager, who ended the night with a team-high of 20 points. "She was excellent. Her teammates got her the ball and we were able to isolate her and she delivered."
The Cards continued to control the field of play, recording seven more before the first quarter ended. The Thunder was given the chance to cut the lead to 10 after Hannah Hagel fouled Isabel Schmidt at the buzzer. Schmidt converted on one of her three foul shots, keeping the Cards' lead at 12.
Grager just kept drawing fouls, and the junior took advantage knocking down 6 or 7 shots from the stripe in the first half alone. Grager and Hagel were also big at the boards, nabbing 15 rebounds in the first half. Kenzie Edland ended the half with a buzzer-beating 2-point bucket that made it a 30-19 game at the half.
"It was a really nice win," Grager said. "The second half could have been better, but that's all right. I think we really passed the ball well and our defense was really good."
Lexus Page opened the second the same way she broke the ice in the first: with a shot from downtown. Martin did her best to fend off more shots from the Cardinals, knocking down eight of the team's 11 third-quarter points. Haley Wolsky countered with five of her own to keep a sizable 20-point lead intact.
"We got a little more balanced in the second half," Braaten said. "Tomorrow it will be a great opponent. We've had some great games with both these teams through the years and I wouldn't expect anything less."
Carrington 65, Medina/Pingree-Buchanan 42
CAR 16 14 21 14 -- 65
MPB 4 15 11 22 -- 42
CAR -- Sydnie Grager 20, Hannah Hagel 18, Kenzie Edland 10, Haley Wolsky 7, Lexi Page 6, Emma Rindy 2, Olivia Threadgold 2, Emma Rindy 2. Totals: 23-53 FG, 16-22 FT, 12 fouls, 21 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 turnovers, 5 steals. 3-pointers: Page 2, Edland.
MPB -- Ryleigh Martin 21, Gracie Gunderson 7, Isabel Schmidt 6, Brittney 2, Abigail Reich 2, Lilly Bohl 2, Kelsey Vandeberghe 2. Totals: 16-49 FG, 9-15 FT, 15 fouls, 28 rebounds, 7 assists, 13 turnovers, 6 steals. 3-pointers: Schmidt.
Region 3 Girls Basketball Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
(Tournament seeding in parentheses)
G1: (D6-1) Linton/HMB 60 (D5-4) Edgeley/KM 31
G2: (D5-2) Oakes 69, (D6-3) Napoleon/GS 44.
G3: (D5-1) Carrington 65, (D6-4) Medina/PB 42
G4: (D6-2) Kidder Co. 46, (D5-3) LaMoure/LM 33
G5: Linton/HMB vs. Oakes, 6 p.m.
G6: Carrington vs. Kidder Co., 7:30 p.m.
G7: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6, 7 p.m.