No. 6 Indians survive Dragons upset bid; sets up championship showdown with No. 2 Langdon-Edmore-Munich
Lake Region State College signee Latasha Bellile made two crucial plays in the closing minutes that helped No. 6 Four Winds-Minnewaukan ward off Dunseith’s attempt to spoil a rematch a year in the making.
Bellile’s 3-pointer with two minutes, six seconds remaining and free throw over a minute later was enough for the Indians to outlast the Dragons 59-53 Tuesday, Feb. 25 in the Region 4 semifinals. After grinding out a 15 point win against North Star in the quarterfinals on Monday, the semifinal was a little more of a close call.
“I think the effort was there at times but I think we were lost. I don’t think we played to our potential again,” said Indians head coach Sean Gourd, Jr. “There were a lot of little things we didn’t do.”
Bellile, who finished with 14 points, put the Indians (20-3) ahead 50-45 with a field goal with 4:01 remaining in regulation. However four consecutive free throws by Dunseith’s Rozalind Strong and Gracie Peltier respectively cut the Indians margin to one. One the Indians ensuing possession following the Peltier free throws, Bellile connected on the 3 that pushed the Indians lead to four. With 32.8 seconds left, she made two free throws that gave the Indians the six point cushion to come away from the game with the win.
Myona Dauphinais, who eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau Monday night, led the Indians with 15 points. Mahpiya Jackson, who seven point second quarter helped the Indians build a 12 point lead, ended the game with 13 points.
“We finally made a couple of free throws down the stretch there and got a couple of defensive stops but credit Dunseith, they played well tonight and they have a lot of potential. They’re going to be a team we’ll have to reckon with for the next few years.
“We showed a lot of heart at the end and we did what we needed to do to win,” Gourd said.
The Dragons (12-11) were led by Strong’s 32 points. Strong, a sophomore, scored 20 in the first half and scored all 14 of the Dragons’ second quarter points, single-handily bringing back Dunseith from a 12 point deficit with 6:48 left to down to just three heading into halftime.
Brailyn Davis scored eight points for Dunseith.
The Indians advanced to tonight’s region championship game where they will play rival and defending region champion Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich. The No. 2 Cardinals won their first two region tournament games by 46 and 62 points respectively.
“We are where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year — to be in the region championship game. We just have to go and get it now,” said Gourd.
Chris Harris can be reached at email@example.com.
Dunseith vs. No. 6 Four Winds-Minnewaukan box score
Dunseith 10 14 15 14 — 53
Four Winds-Minn. 14 13 19 13 — 59
Strong 32, Davis 8, Short 5, Tuttle 4, Poitra 2, Peltier 2. Totals 20 9-12 53.
FOUR WINDS-MINNEWAUKAN (20-3)
Dauphinais 15, Bellile 14, Jackson 13, Rainbow 10, Littleghost 7, Yankton 0, Morin 0. Totals 22 11-21 59.