Ronningen scores 21 points, Langdon-Edmore-Munich beats Four Winds-Minnewaukan 69-41 and earns 1-seed in girls Class B state tournament.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying in part — “Truth is beautiful, without a doubt.”
The truth of the matter is that over the course of three days, No. 2 Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich made a devastatingly beautiful run through the Region 4 tournament. And despite trailing on three separate occasions Thursday, Feb. 27 for the first time all tournament long, the end result played out just as it had twice before — with no doubts.
Propelled by Region Player of the Year Callie Ronningen’s 21 points, Cardinals defeated No. 6 Four Winds-Minnewaukan 69-41 on Thursday night for their third consecutive Class B girls region championship. The 28 points was the closest margin of victory for the Cardinals in the three day tournament.
“The first two games and how they went, we didn’t get much intensity obviously and things which can hurt you in the next game when you need it because you never had too so it definitely can hurt you and I was really worried about that but I’ve been around these girls and they put in the time,” said Cardinals head coach Rob Scherr.
Against New Rockford-Sheyenne and again against St. John in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds respectively, the Cardinals (24-0) had taken full control of the game after the first eight minutes, leading those games by 18 and 12 after one quarter. On Thursday after taking the quick 4-0 lead, the Indians came back and two Latasha Bellile free throws with five minutes, 14 seconds left in the first quarter gave Four Winds-Minnewaukan the one point advantage. A Mahpiya Jackson 3-point play and a field goal on back-to-back possessions had the Indians ahead at 10-8 and 12-10 respectively.
Two Kaylee Lowery baskets and a Lexis Olson free throw later, the Cardinals were ahead by three. The first quarter ended with the Cardinals leading by a mere one point.
The Cardinals opened the second quarter on a 7-3 run and led by 10 at halftime and then went on an 9-2 run in the third that put the Indians away. The Cardinals outscored the Indians 36-18 over the final 16 minutes.
“They brought it,” said Indians head coach Sean Gourd. “Their defense was the difference in the game. We couldn’t get anything going, we couldn’t get into our offense.
“Defensively I thought we did pretty decent but they just capitalized on our mistakes and that’s a credit to Langdon. That’s what they bring. … Their defense just shut us down.”
Jackson led the Indians (20-4) with 15 points. Bellile scored eight points before fouling out a minute into the fourth quarter. It was Bellile’s final game for Four Winds-Minnewaukan but more games are coming in the Sports Center as she will continue her basketball career with Lake Region State College next winter.
“It was a very good season for us. Twenty wins, that’s pretty damn good for our program. District 7 champions. The tank isn’t empty. We’re still young. We lose two very valuable, very, very good seniors but we’ll be back,” Gourd said.
Riah Littleghost, the other senior for the Indians, scored five points. Littleghost signed to play with United Tribes Technical College.
For the Cardinals, Morgan Freije scored 15 points and Olson finished with 10 points.
“This is the game you have to win. These girls have had a special season, they went undefeated, they answered every challenge and by having the toughest schedule in the state it helped us prepare for this game but you need this game to get on to do what you want to do at the next level which is to go to the state tournament and take care of business there,” Scherr said.
The Cardinals will enter the state tournament as the No. 1 seed after defending state champion Kindred was beaten in the Region 1 championship by Central Cass. The Cardinals will play Hettinger-Scranton, the Region 7 winner, this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Chris Harris can be reached at email@example.com.
No. 6 Four Winds-Minnewaukan vs. No. 2 Langdon-Edmore-Munich box score
Langdon-E-M 15 18 17 19 — 69
Four Winds-Minn 14 9 10 8 — 41
Ronningen 21, Frejie 15, Olson 10, Lowery 9, Hetletved 7, Henderson 6, Scherr 1, Christianson 0, Badding 0, Swanson 0, Pankratz 0, Jabs 0. Totals 25 13-20 69.
FOUR WINDS-MINNEWAUKAN (20-4)
Jackson 15, Bellile 9, Dauphinais 8, R. Littleghost 5, Rainbow 3, Yankton 1, Leaf 0, N. Littleghost 0, Malnourie 0, Morin 0, Charboneau 0. Totals 15 10-14 41.