After graduating seven seniors and getting a new coach for this season, the Barnes County North girls basketball team has had plenty of new faces, and with them, a few struggles along the way.
But on the final day of the 2013 Barnes County Girls Basketball Tournament Saturday at W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse, the Bison felt the joy of victory for the first time this season, beating Griggs County Central 34-31 in the seventh place game.
"Obviously when you get your first win, it's always a good thing, especially for them, because they've been working so hard." said Barnes County North coach Brett Thielges. "I told them that I knew this day would come if they just kept working hard, improving on what they should be, and doing what they should be, we shouldn't have any problems picking up our first win, and it finally came, so I'm proud of them more than anything."
It was a win that had its ups, downs, and nail biting moments as the Bison opened a day full of games that were all decided by three points or less.
Barnes County North struggled early and shot 18.5 percent from the field in the first half, hitting 5-27 shots from the floor but it was enough to take a 16-15 lead into halftime.
After the break, the Bison immediately got the momentum going in their favor, scoring 14 points in the first six minutes of the third quarter while holding Griggs scoreless until the fourth.
The quarter opened with a layup from Calby Hanson, then included shots from around the court as Sam Wieland, Kayla Erker and Kayla Scott all contributed points to give the Bison a 30-15 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"It's funny how once one (shot) goes in, they all start going in," Thielges said. "Finally we were on the best end of that."
It wasn't until a minute into the fourth quarter that Griggs broke their scoring drought, but once they did, BCN had to work to hold them.
The Cougars broke the drought with a layup from Alexis Savre, then had points from Presley Painter, two 3-pointers and a layup from Savre, then a 3 from Tristin Loge Johnson to make it 33-31.
A free throw from BCN's Kayla Erker with 4.6 seconds of the game extended BCN's lead to 34-31, and on the inbounds, the Bison kept the Cougars from finding an open pass, causing a turnover.
Wieland and Hanson led BCN with 10 points each. Hanson finished one rebound short of a double double, grabbing nine boards. Erker had five steals.
Griggs was led by Savre with 13 points, and Loge Johnson had 10. Painter had 10 rebounds and eight points.
Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page 38, LaMoure/Litchville-Marion 37
The fifth place game between Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page and LaMoure/Litchville-Marion went back and forth, but ultimately was decided on one final free throw that gave FSHP a 38-37 win in a performance that left the Loboes wanting more.
"We've got to step forward. We've got to pick our heads up and we've got to learn from this game and move ahead," said LLM coach Mitch Carlson said. "I thought we took a step backwards today and we've got to take two steps forward in practice on Monday."
The deciding free throw came from from FSHPâ€™s Lexi Archer, who was fouled going up for a layup with one second left. Archer hit one of her two free throws on the possession, allowing time to expire after missing the second.
The free throw ended what was a close game throughout with neither team leading by more than six points.
In a low-scoring first quarter, LLM led 7-4 and held on to lead 15-14 at halftime. Many of the early points were on second-chance baskets. The Loboes had nine offensive rebounds in the first half.
FSHPâ€™s Madison Koenig came out in the third quarter hitting shots. She scored five of FSHPâ€™s 10 points in the third quarter.
The Spartans got their first lead of the game on a layup by Kendra Breckheimer to make it 20-18 with four minutes left in the third quarter. FSHP finished the third with a 24-22 lead.
LLMâ€™s Courtney Carlson found her stride in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of her teamâ€™s 15 points in the quarter, but the Spartans had shots from Koenig that kept it close. The Loboes had the lead up to the final 18 seconds, but FSHP narrowed it with free throw shooting.
Breckheimer hit a free throw with 17.9 seconds left in regulation to tie it 37-37. Archerâ€™s game-winner came on an inbounds play shortly after.
Mitch Carlson said he felt his team needed to improve on its turnovers (the Loboes finished with 29) and getting to the free-throw line. The Loboes finished with only three foul shot attempts, compared to the 16 that FSHP drew.
Koenig led FSHP with 16 points. Archer had seven and Breckheimer had 6.
Carlson led LLM with 15 points and got contributions from Abby Warcken and Tasha Piehl, who had six points each.
Sargent Central 47, Enderlin 44
Late shooting by Cayla Enderson gave Sargent Central a 47-44 win in the tournamentâ€™s third place game.
Enderson hit two key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that helped the Cadets break away late in a game they led early in, while fending off a pesky Enderlin team that ended the game with a missed 3-pointer that would have tied it.
The Cadets got first quarter scoring from all around the court, led by Hannah Schlecht, to go up 16-6 in the first quarter.
But Enderlin didnâ€™t lie down, limiting Sargent Central to two points in the second quarter to narrow the lead to 18-15 at halftime, most of the points behind Megan Johnson and Kelsey Laufenberg.
The score stayed close the rest of the game, with Sargent Central getting a lead, but Enderlin working to tie it up.
Sargent Central went ahead six points at the end of the third on a buzzer beater by Hannah Schlecht, but Enderlin kept pushing, narrowing the lead to one point in the final four minutes. Endersonâ€™s 3-pointers gave the Cadets buffer room and free throws by Schlecht scored the final points of the game to make it 47-44 with 20 seconds left.
Enderson led Sargent Central with 12 points and Schlecht had a double double, scoring 11 points and nabbing 10 rebounds.
Megan Johnson continued her strong play for Enderlin, getting 16 rebounds and scoring 21 points. Kelsey Laufenberg had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles.