TOWER CITY â€” It may be almost February, but the Maple Valley girls basketball hasn't had much of a chance to see teams from its district.
Friday in Tower City, the No. 4 Raiders got a reminder of the challenge ahead in a 70-51 win over Oak Grove.
Despite leading by at least nine points at the end of each of the three quarters, the Raiders got little breathing room as the Grovers constantly worked to narrow the lead, which resulted in one tie in the third quarter, but no lead changes.
"Even when we got ahead at the beginning, we knew what kind of team Oak Grove is," Maple Valley coach Jeff Miller said. "They're a good shooting team. They have a lot of girls who are able to knock down their shots, so whenever you're playing a team like that, you can't let up, and we didn't."
The closest it got was immediately after halftime, when Maple Valley seemed to bend but not break.
The Raiders led 35-23 at the midway point, but simply struggled to drop baskets in the first few minutes of the third quarter. Meanwhile, at the other end, the Grovers opened the half with a combination of post play from Hannah Kelley, 3-point shooting from Tatum Holt and Rachel Osmundson to narrow the Raider lead to 37-35 with 5:17 left.
A 3-pointer from Maple Valley's Abbie Tinjum got the lead back up to 40-35, but the Grovers tied it on a 3-pointer from Holt, followed by a steal and layup from Osmundson with 3:45 in the quarter.
From there, the Raider girls got back into gear with Rylee Nudell, Cassie Pautz, Tinjum and Megan Kasowski all chipping in a few poings each to end the quarter on an 11-4 run and up the lead to 52-43 entering the final quarter.
The Raiders allowed only eight points the rest of the game to close it out.
Maple Valley had started the game playing quickly. Right from the opening tipoff, Cassie Pautz had a 3-pointer, and free throws by Tinjum made it 5-0 in the first minute.
By the time Holt scored Oak Grove's first points with 4:39 left in the first quarter, the Raiders were up to 12, getting contributions from Nudell and Kasowski.
Miller said the quick-pace offense wasn't in the initial game plan, but was happy with how it worked out.
"If they're on fire, we'll shoot away," he said.
The Raiders led 24-15 at the end of the first quarter, then limited Oak Grove to eight points in the second quarter to go up 35-23.
Nudell led Maple Valley with 24 points. Tinjum and Pautz had 14 each, and Kasowski had 12.
Holt and Kelley led Oak Grove with 13 each and Osmundson had 11.
VCHS Places at State Meet
The Valley City High School Hi-Lites dance team placed for the second straight year at the North Dakota Association of Dance and Drill State Dance Competition, which took place Friday and Saturday in Grand Forks.
The Hi-Lites' pom routine took fifth behind West Fargo, Bismarck, Devils Lake and Minot.
LLM Girls Lose Weekend Games
The LaMoure/Litchville-Marion girls basketball team split a pair of games, losing 68-66 to Ellendale Friday in LaMoure and 55-38 at Oakes Saturday.
The game with Ellendale went to triple overtime. The Loboes trailed at the end of each quarter, but tied it up 51-51 to send to overtime. In the three overtimes, the Loboes were outscored 17-15.
Tasha Piehl led the Loboes with 20 points. Tanys Ulmer (16) and Jacey Alber (15) also scored in double figures for LLM. Madi Bommersbach led Ellendale with 22 points.
On Saturday the Loboe girls fell behind 14-8 in the first quarter and couldn't make it up from there, losing 55-38 in Oakes. Ulmer led LLM with eight points and Piehl had seven.
LLM Boys Beat Oakes
The LaMoure/L-M boys basketball team beat Oakes 54-51 Saturday in Oakes.
The Loboes outscored their opponents 18-7 in the first quarter and held the lead the rest of the way, winning by as many as 21 points at the end of the third quarter.
Brady Thielges led the Loboes with 17 points, Jared Meiklejohn had 10 and Anthony Olson had 14.
BCN Splits at Shootout Event
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The Barnes County North basketball teams split at the Coaches vs. Cancer event at the Jamestown Civic Center Saturday.
The Bison boys beat Dakota Prairie 55-30 and the girls lost 54-53 to South Border.