Ronningen fights foul trouble, scores 18 to pace Langdon Area-Elmore-Munich’s win over Central Cass.

GRAND FORKS — If you need a halftime motivational speaker, try giving Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich head coach Rob Scherr a call. He seems to have a knack for it.

For the second time in as many North Dakota High School Activities Association Class B girls state tournament games, the Cardinals used a dominant third quarter to take control of a game that was close for a first half in beating Central Cass 62-42 Friday, March 6 from the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on the campus of the University of North Dakota. The victory put Langdon into the championship game for the first time since 2005.

It will be the first time ever since the program merged with Edmore and Munich.

“I don’t like having to have these halftime speeches,” Scherr said with a laugh. “We do a lot not just Xs and Os but we get them refocus on who we are, what we do, why and what went wrong and then we talk about what we’re going to do that work.”

What was working for the Cardinals (26-0) early on was Callie Ronningen. Ronningen scored 10 first quarter points, outscoring the Squirrels by herself as Langdon-E-M led 18-8 after one period. However, Ronningen got her third foul of the half with 5:39 left on the clock and was sent to the bench. The Squirrels took advantage and went on a 9-3 run that turned a nine point Cardinals advantage down to just three with 2:49 remaining after a Jaylin Cotton basket.

“Right away, the girls fell apart with Callie on the bench,” said Scherr. “But after the timeout, the girls came out ready to play.”

The Cardinals responded with their own run, reeling off an 8-0 run to end the half and go into the locker room ahead by 11.

The Cardinals opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run to go up by 21.

Ronningen finished with 18 points, seven steals and four rebounds. Morgan Freije had 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks and Lexis Olson had eight points and nine assists as the Cardinals held Central Cass to 28 percent shooting from the field (12 percent below their season average) and a 38-point difference from their quarterfinal win over LaMoure-Litchville/Marion.

The Cardinals set up a rematch with Grafton which defeated Trenton in its semifinal game. The Cardinals defeated the Spoilers by seven back on Feb. 7. It was one of only three losses for Grafton.

“They’re very talented team inside and out. A lot of players that they can bring in and they shoot the 3. They are a very tough team that is a defensive coach’s nightmare. We have to come ready to play,” Scherr said.

Isabelle Linnard and Cotton each finished with 11 points for the Squirrels (20-5).

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com.

Central Cass vs. Langdon-Edmore-Munich box score

Central Cass 8 14 9 11 — 42

Langdon-E-M   18 15 16 13 — 62

CENTRAL CASS (20-5)

Linnard 11, J. Cotton 11, Smith 6, Holzer 5, Lee 3, K. Cotton 3, D. Cotton 2, McKinnon 1, Richter 0, Lee 0. Totals 13 12-15 42.

LANGDON-E-M (26-0)

Ronningen 18, Freije 14, Scherr 9, Olson 8, Henderson 6, Lowery 5, Badding 2. Totals 23 11-16 62.