North Star advances to the semifinals of the regional girls basketball tournament.
By Harry Lipsiea
The game of basketball isn't a sprint, instead it's a marathon in many regards. So, there was no panic in the eyes of North Star players when the squad was down late in the first quarter Monday afternoon. Down 7-6 to Four Winds-Minnewaukan in quarterfinal action of the Region 4 girls basketball team, the Bearcats outscored its opponent 40-9 the rest of the way.
"All season long, we have stressed the girls that you don't win or lose a game in two minutes," second-year North Star head coach Jill Vote told the Journal. "We feel we are conditioned to play in those grueling 32-minute games. So when things don't go your way, you just need to play through it. The girls did a nice job of that today."
Leading 10-7 after one quarter of play, the Bearcats led 23-10 and 34-14 at quarter breaks on the way to a 46-16 victory. With the win, North Star advances to the semifinals Tuesday against District 7 runner-up Warwick. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
One quality that served North Star well Monday was its focus. No matter what happened, the Bearcats never got too high or low.
"Sometimes we tell the girls to show more emotion," Vote said. "They do a great job of realizing that a game takes 32 minutes to play out."
A big second quarter was key in opening up the contest for the Bearcats. Stephanie Miller nailed a three and Macey Kvilavng hit an eight-footer to help the state's top team take a 23-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Miller, Peyton Halverson and Kvilvang each added buckets to make the score 34-15 in favor of North Star. A three by Kvilvang and excellent defense helped the Bearcats close out the 46-16 triumph.
Despite strong defense by Four Winds-Minnewaukan, North Star was able to find a way by countering with a consistent defensive effort of its own.
"We really focus and pride ourselves on our defense," the coach added. "When the shots aren't falling, our defense is the only thing that can keep us in games. You can't always control if shots are going, but you can always control effort on defense."
The Bearcats were paced by Miller with 14 points. Kvilvang had 13 points and 15 rebounds. Madison Borstad and Peyton Halverson, who added 10 rebounds, scored seven points each. Mya Halverson added three points while Kelli Jo Huschle scored two points.
Latasha Bellile led the way for the Lady Indians with seven points. Hailey Keo scored four points while Jazmine Lohnes and Riah Littleghost added two points. Kadja Guy rounded out the scoring with a point.
North Star is now looking forward to advance to the semifinals.
"I'm very happy," Vote commented. "It's always nice to get that first game under you."