By Ray Maloney
Journal Sports Editor
LEEDS, N.D. — Janae Larson would be hard-pressed to describe a more important shot she has taken in her young high school basketball career. But, Larson can bask in knowing the results of that shot were just what her team needed.
Larson’s 3-pointer midway through overtime gave North Star a six-point cushion and proved to be the crushing blow as Larson and the Bearcats handed Benson County its first loss of the season with a 71-65 overtime win on Thursday.
The win improved North Star to 7-2 on the season and 1-0 in District 8 play. Benson County, which was ranked No. 7 in this week’s state poll, is now 7-1 on the season after dropping its district opener.
Larson’s long-range dagger was not the only one the Bearcats needed to pull out the victory.
Sarah Hagler’s 3-pointer with just seven seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 55-55 to force the extra session.
Hagler and Larson’s heroics set the stage for a brilliant overtime performance by North Star senior Kelsey Teubner.
After being held to just eight points through the first 32 minutes of Thursday’s game, Teubner stepped up and delivered 11 points in the four minute extra period and finished with 19 points and was one of three Bearcats to reach double figures.
Hagler led the way with 25 points and Allie Heisler added 11 points.
Benson County, which tied North Star and Rolla last season for the district championship, jumped to a 14-10 lead after the first quarter as the Bearcats struggled in hitting just three field goals in the first eight minutes of play. Jessica Teubner’s 17-footer with less than four minutes remaining in the first period was the first field goal by North Star and pulled the Bearcats to within 6-3.
A 3-pointer by Hagler closed the deficit to 10-8 with just over one minute left in the period and Heisler’s field goal seconds later tied the game 10-10.
It was the first of 10 ties in the contest.
Benson County got four point from Becca Eberle to close the quarter to grab the lead at the first break. The Wildcats maintained that four-point advantage at halftime.
Eberle, who fouled out with 2:06 to go in overtime, and teammate Sara Schwanke both scored 19 points to pace the Wildcats.
North Star is scheduled to entertain Rolla on Tuesday in Cando. Benson County, meanwhile, will entertain Langdon that same night in Leeds.
North Star 10 15 14 16 16 — 71
Benson County 14 15 7 19 10 — 65
North Star (71): Sarah Hagler 25, Kelsey Teubner 19, Allie Heisler 11, Jessica Teubner 9, Janae Larson 5, Megan Gowan 2.
Benson County (65): Sara Schwanke 19, Becca Eberle 19, Katelynn Engh 9, Katherine Sears 8, Meghan Jorgenson 6, Annie Jorgenson 4.