Allie Heisler sank a pair of free throws with 16.6 seconds left in regulation on Monday afternoon and helped spur the North Star Lady Bearcats to a thrilling 60-58 come-from-behind win over the Midkota Lady Mustangs in the first round of the Region VI Basketball Tournament.
And to within two wins of their ultimate goal – a trip to the Class B girls’ state basketball tournament.
Lakota/Adams-Edmore, Benson County and Carrington all have the same goal in mind, too, following their first-round wins at the Devils Lake Sports Center.
None were as tough as the Lady Bearcats’ victory, though. Midkota stood toe-to-toe with North Star for much of the game. The Lady Mustangs, 15-8 overall, actually built a 13-point lead early in the game.
Midkota opened the contest with a flurry. Shaye Ronningen and Emily Berge both sank clutch shots in the first eight minutes of the contest and spurred the Lady Mustangs to a 19-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
North Star began taking control of the contest from there. The Lady Bearcats outscored Midkota in each of the next two periods and knotted the score at 41-41 at the end of the third quarter.
North Star looked as if it would complete the comeback late in the fourth when the team pushed home a shot with 37 seconds left that staked the NS girls to a seemingly safe 58-55 lead.
Ronningen proved just how unsafe a three-point lead can be 16 seconds later. The MHS standout buried a trey with 19 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 58-58.
Heisler, after unexpectedly being fouled, put North Star back on top by hitting a pair of free throws.
Midkota’s last-second attempt at a game-tying shot failed when Ronningen’s final shot banged off the rim.
Heisler was among three North Star players scoring into double figures for the Lady Bearcats. She finished with a game-high 19 points. Sarah Hagler added 14 while Kelsea Teubner added 11.
With the victory, North Star improved to 16-6 for the season and moves into tonight’s semifinal round to face off with fifth-ranked Lakora/A-E. The game is expected to tip off at approximately 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Raiders, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, easily advanced to the semifinals by pounding out a convincing 69-53 win over Rolette-Wolford.
Lakota/A-E put four players into double figures in the contest, including a game-high 23 from Ashtin Freije and 17 from Raevyn Pesek.
After battling to a slim 15-14 lead in the first eight minutes, the Lady Raiders began exerting their will. Lakota A/E outscored Rolette-Wolford by a 16-12 clip in the second and took a 31-26 lead into the half.
Page 2 of 3 - The Lakota/A-E lead grew to 10 at the end of the third, at 50-40.
Mary Haman finished the game with 15 points for the Lady Raiders. Fallyn Freije added 10.
Rae Beaver led all Rolette-Wolford scorers with 16.
The Benson County Lady Wildcats also advanced to the semifinal round on Monday. The sixth-ranked Lady ‘Cats picked up a 49-23 win over rival New Rockford-Sheyenne in the first game of the tournament.
Benson County, the tournament’s No. 1 seed by virtue of its District 8 championship, used a strong defensive effort to subdue New Rockford-Sheyenne. The Lady Cats held the Lady Rockets in single digits in all four quarters.
Offensively, Benson County wasn’t too bad, either. Backed by the play of Andrea Jorgenson and Sara Schwanke, the Lady Cats reeled off an impressive 16-8 run in the first eight minutes of play and never looked back.
An 11-4 run in the second period sent Benson County into the half holding a comfortable 27-12 advantage.
Jorgenson led all BC scorers with 23 points. Schwanke added 12, while Katherine Sears chipped in eight.
Lacey Grann led New Rockford-Sheyenne with 11.
The win sends Benson County into the top half of the Region IV tournament’s semifinals. The Lady Cats will face off against Carrington beginning at 6 p.m. tonight.
The Lady Cardinals reeled off 23 points in the third quarter and then held off a furious fourth-quarter rally by Rolla to claim a 44-41 victory on Monday.
Leading by a slim 14-11 clip at the half, Carrington’s offense hit stride in the third. The Lady Cardinals grabbed the upper hand in the third by pounding out a 23-16 run.
The third-quarter spree lifted Carrington to a 37-27 lead heading into the final frame.
Rolla attempted to rally late. The Lady Bulldogs posted a 14-7 run in the fourth but fell just shy.
Jacey Englehorn and Kayla Hochhalter paced Carrington in the win with 15 points apiece. Breana Barton added seven more.
Alli Vandal led Rolla with 17. Teammates Miranda Leas and Mary Jo Guilbert added 14 and 11, respectively.
Region 4 Basketball Tournament
North Star 60, Midkota 58
North Star 13 14 16 19 — 60
Midkota 19 9 13 16 — 58
North Star — Megan Gowan 4, Sarah Hagler 14, Allie Heisler 19, Macey Kvilvang 6, Janae Larson 2, Jessica Teubner 4, Kelsey Teubner 11
Midkota — Brooke Ronningen 5, Callie Harding 3, Shaye Ronningen 17, Saddie Harding 18, Jade Boote 4, Emily Berge 11
Lakota/A-E 69, Rolette-Wolford 53
Rolette-Wolford 14 12 14 13 — 53
Lakota-A-E 15 16 19 19 — 69
Rolette-Wolford — Katie Henry 2, Callie Brorby 11, Alyssa Graber 2, Kenady Martinson 14, Rae Beaver 16, Lexy Wittmayer 8
Lakota/Adams-Edmore — Montana Halberg 2, Mary Haman 15, Alyssa Turner 2, Ashtin Freije 23, Fallyn Freije 10, Raevyn Pesek 17
Page 3 of 3 - Benson County 49, New Rockford-Sheyenne 23
Benson County 16 11 13 9 — 49
NR-Sheyenne 8 4 7 4 — 23
Benson County — Becca Eberle 5, Andrea Jorgenson 19, Meghan Jorgenson 5, Sara Schwanke 12, Katherine Sears 8
New Rockford-Sheyenne — Lacey Grann 11, Rachel Hermanson 2, Lexie Weber 3, Sierra Wetzel 2, Ashley Ystaas 5
Carrington 44, Rolla 41
Carrington 7 7 23 7 — 44
Rolla 4 7 16 14 — 41
Carrington — Breana Barton 7, Jacey Engelhorn 15, Kayla Hochhalter 15, Hannah Lipetzky 4, Nikki Braaten 3,
Rolla — Mary Jo Guilbert 10, Alli Vandal 17, Miranda Leas 14