A little positivity went a long way Monday for the Oakes Tornadoes at the Jamestown Civic Center.
Trailing Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter by nine after one quarter in the opening round of the Region 3 girls basketball tournament, the Tornadoes reminded themselves what had got them to that point in the first place.
"We just gotta make sure we're playing as a team and we don't get down on each other," said Oakes senior standout Sadie Hansen. "Just go out there with a positive mindset (and) that we're going to go and get them the next quarter."
Hansen proceeded to pour in 14 of a game-high 26 points in the second frame, en route to a convincing 69-44 victory for Oakes. The Tornadoes will play sixth-ranked Linton/HMB in Tuesday's 6 p.m. semifinal.
Hansen finished six points shy of her career-high in single-game scoring, while also posting 15 rebounds, eight assists, and three steals. But it was the 9-11 Imperials who got the jump.
NGS buried its first three shots from 3-point range and led 21-12 after eight minutes. The Imperials' Sophie Ketterling, Courtney Thompson, and Kylie Breidenbach all splashed in 3s, while successfully navigating Oakes' pressure.
The Imperials shot 62% (13 of 21) from the field in the first half, trailing 33-30 at the break. Freshman forward Teagan Erbele -- who has averaged around 15 points and 12 rebounds per game for NGS this season -- finished with a team-high 17 points.
"We broke their press the first half, we were a little more comfortable and it helped making shots," said Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter head coach Richard Bjerklie "It gave us confidence.
"Second half, we kinda got a little razzled right away and we started throwing the ball around a little more than we'd like to and that comes with experience. But Oakes is a good ball club."
Fourteen Imperial turnovers in the second half contributed to Oakes running away 36-14 over the final two quarters. Sophomore Laikyn Roney buried a 3 and scored 10 of her 16 points in the fourth.
Hansen finished converting 2 of 3 from beyond the arc and 12 of 13 at the foul line, as the Tornadoes led by as many as 28.
"We kinda just started off slow having that week off," said Hansen, whose Tornadoes finished second to Carrington at last week's District 5 tournament. "But we got after it in that second quarter so that was good to see."
Along with Hansen, the only other senior on the floor was NGS forward Janae Weigel. Bjerklie started Erbele, Weigel, Ketterling, Thompson, and Breidenbach on Monday.
After finishing last season at 1-20, the Imperials made gains this winter and will look to develop more consistent outside shooting in the offseason to complement Erbele in the post going forward.
"It was a battle of halves and we took care of the ball in the first half," Bjerklie said. "I'm proud of them. They turned it around; 9-11 this year and made the regionals. I told them it's the halfway point. We have another half of work to do to get to where we want to be."
Hansen said the Tornadoes weren't quite ready for Linton/HMB's waves of athletes and full-court play on Feb. 4 in Linton, where the Lions topped Oakes 69-38.
The District 5 senior athlete of the year is preparing for a better showing by Oakes tomorrow.
"They run the court really well and we just weren't prepared for it, but we'll be prepared for tomorrow," Hansen said. "Just gotta play as a team, play together and be positive.
"And, have fun."
Oakes 69, Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter 44
NGS 21 9 5 9 -- 44
OAK 12 21 19 17 -- 69
NGS -- Teagan Erbele 17, Sophie Ketterling 7, Courtney Thompson 6, Kylie Breidenbach 5, Allison Zenker 3, Janae Weigel 2, Tayton McDowell 2, Jazlyn Weigel 2. Totals: 18-43 FG, 4-10 FT, 4-6 3-pointers (Ketterling, Thompson, Breidenbach, Zenker), 25 Rebounds (Jazlyn Weigel 7), 19 Fouls (Breidenbach), 23 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (Ketterling, Thompson), 9 Steals (Jazlyn Weigel 3).
OAK -- Sadie Hansen 26, Laikyn Roney 16, Emma Muggli 11, Abigail Cox 6, Brynn Dethlefsen 3, Tyler Thompson 3, Ellecia Cline 2, Paige Bakke 2. Totals: 23-54 FG, 16-23 FT, 7-15 3-pointers (Hansen 2, Cox 2, Dethlefsen, Roney, Thompson), 34 Rebounds (Hansen 15), 13 Fouls, 15 Assists (Hansen 8), 11 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (Thompson 2), 15 Steals (Roney 4, Dethlefsen 3, Hansen 3).
Records: Oakes 15-5. Napoleon/GS 9-11.
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.