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Rebels ready for Stutsman

It's early, but the Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier girls basketball team has reason to be excited. The Rebels brought back all of their weapons--and then some--this season, and will be facing South Border in today's opening round of the Stutsman County ...

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It's early, but the Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier girls basketball team has reason to be excited.

The Rebels brought back all of their weapons-and then some-this season, and will be facing South Border in today's opening round of the Stutsman County tournament at the Jamestown Civic Center.

The first of four games tips off at 3 p.m. with Medina-Pingree-Buchanan facing Midkota.

E-K-M will be competing in just its second game of the season, and as fate would have it, they're once again facing the Mustangs. The Rebels defeated South Border 46-32 in Ashley on Dec. 1 in a game that had plenty of meaning for the Rebels.

E-K-M lost a pair of two-point games to the Mustangs last year.

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"I think for me, that was huge to see," E-K-M coach Megan Cleveland said. "The girls put just countless hours into basketball over the summer. Most of them did weight training, open gyms and summer camps, and they're ready to go."

The Rebels caught fire at the end of last season, winning five straight games before a pair of losses in the District 5 tournament ended their year at 11-11 overall. A younger team at the time, Cleveland pointed to mental toughness as part of the problem during last year's failure to reach the region tournament.

But it was clear many key ingredients were already in place, and this should be a year in which the Rebels turn a corner.

The two cornerstones are 6-foot senior Olivia Anderson and 5-11 freshman Katie Entzi. Anderson averaged a double-double as a junior (14.6 ppg, 11 rpg), and Entzi began developing into one of area's top players as an eighth-grader as last season progressed (12.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg).

The pair are two of the team's three captains, along junior forward Allison Giesler. Anderson and Entzi competed in AAU ball in the offseason.

"(Anderson) is a leader both on and off the court, and Katie is more of leader through what she does for us on the court, whether it be a hard drive to the basket or a block," Cleveland said. "They're fun to watch, and they work extremely well together. They're also really good friends too, so that helps."

Anderson, along with her height advantage, is also a threat to step out and hit the long ball. In the team's final game last season-a 46-42 overtime loss to Barnes County North in a Region 3 qualifier-Anderson hit three 3-pointers, on her way to 19 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks.

"People are probably going to find out sooner than later that she is probably our best 3-point shooter," Cleveland said.

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Also starting for the Rebels a week ago in Ashley were sophomore guard Katie Schiele, and sophomore point guard Tallie Hanson. Hanson is a 5-8 transfer from Bismarck Century.

"(Hanson) was a ninth-grader last year and played on Bismarck Century's freshman team," Cleveland said. "She is a welcomed addition. What we're trying to push this year is we need five people that can score, not just defend and help break the press, and she helps with that."

It won't be easy trying to find a way past South Border for a second time today, but Cleveland feels the Rebels will be up to the challenge.

"I guess it is what it is. I don't see it as a negative," Cleveland said. "You have to play who you're paired with. We'll see where they've improved and make the necessary adjustments."

The tournament atmosphere will also be the first step in finding out just how much the team grew mentally and physically over the offseason. E-K-M has designs on reaching a little further into this year's postseason.

"I'm really excited. I want to see if that mental toughness can come through," Cleveland said. "I know what my girls are capable of doing, and we're not really going to be intimidated by the teams we are up against.

"The girls are more confident than they were last year, and they're excited to play."

Stutsman County Invitational Girls Basketball Tournament
At Jamestown Civic Center
Today's opening-round games
Game 1: Medina-Pingree-Buchanan (1-2) vs. Midkota (0-1), 3 p.m.
Game 2: Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier (1-0) vs. South Border (1-1), 4:30 p.m.
Game 3: Carrington (2-0) vs. Warwick (2-1), 6 p.m.
Game 4: Napoleon (1-1) vs. Ellendale (0-2), 7:30 p.m.

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2014 Stutsman Tourney Results

Championship: Carrington 54, Medina-Pingree-Buchanan 45

Third place: Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter 51, Ellendale 47

Fifth place: South Border 50, Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 48

Seventh place: Midkota 56, Warwick 53 OT

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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